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Employee or Self-Employed: How To Decide If Entrepreneurship Is Right For You #semrushchat

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Employee or Self-Employed: How To Decide If Entrepreneurship Is Right For You #semrushchat

Liza Perstneva
Employee or Self-Employed: How To Decide If Entrepreneurship Is Right For You #semrushchat

Some people like the many benefits that self-employment brings, such as being your own boss, independence, and flexibility. At the same time, many people are not ready to start their own business because of various potential risks, like less security, fewer financial benefits and the need to compete with larger, more established businesses.

So how do you decide if entrepreneurship is right for you?

To answer this question, we invited Judith Lewis to our weekly SEMrush Chat. Judith just made the huge move to consulting after working in-house. She is an SEO, an international social media expert, a conference speaker and a Huffington Post and SEO Chicks blogger. She shared her own experience and discussed with our other chat participants some difference between being employed and running your own business.

Let’s move on to our first question!

Q1: Are you an employee or self-employed? What is the biggest benefit of your current position?

At the beginning of our chat, we asked our chat participants whether they are employees or self-employed workers and what the major benefit of their current position is.

We have already mentioned that our special guest is now self-employed. Judith said that self-employment was actually the way she started her career.

Many of our chat participants mentioned flexibility and freedom as the biggest advantages of self-employment, as it allows you to set your own working hours. In fact, you’re your own boss, and you can control how your work is done. It’s completely up to you when and how you work to get the job done.

I think Reva Minkoff made a great point by mentioning the importance of devoting your time to something you sincerely care about.

On the other hand, being employed also has its benefits. For example, small businesses usually have limited work opportunities and little name recognition, and they have to compete with more established businesses. Some of our chat participants prefer being employed, because it’s less stressful.

Also, among our chat participants were some who are both employed and self-employed.

Working as both a regular employee and a freelancer requires a lot of time and it can be really exhausting, but some people believe that it provides a range of opportunities. For example, Paul Bradish said that employment provides him with security, while freelancing allows him to follow his passion by also working on his own projects.

In a nutshell, entrepreneurs have more freedom and a flexible schedule, while being employed usually means less stress and more stability.

Let’s sum up!

Question 1 Chat Replies

I think everyone would agree that being a part of a company and being self-employed both have their pros and cons. “I've been both! There are perks to both; I'm very lucky to be able to make creative decisions, which makes me happy!” said Sarah Wilkes ‏@TrafficJamSarah.

Q2: What reason might inspire a person to shift a new position?

Some workers believe that self-employment will help them fulfill their need for self-actualization, while others are tired of the office routine and co-workers dramas. There are various reasons why some individuals want to become a freelancer or an entrepreneur. And people want to transition from being self-employed to a regular employee for a number of reasons as well.

Judith Lewis pointed out that the reason why many people switch jobs is because of family, quality of life, or even to avoid a long commute.

Judith also believes that there are various things that can inspire us to change jobs. Some people want to change their positions not necessarily because of commute issues or other similar problems.

Some people quit their jobs because they want to seize the opportunities that self-employment provides, such as being wholly responsible for all aspects of their work.

At the same time, not all employees are ready for self-employment, because it requires a lot of self-discipline. No doubt, having the flexibility to make your own schedule is good, but for some people, it can be really difficult to resist the temptation to do something more fun than working.

Besides career challenges, more interesting work responsibilities, and a salary that allows them to live comfortably, people are looking for other things. For some employees, achieving a proper work-life balance is essential.

Some employees quit their jobs simply because they are not satisfied with their work environment, their responsibilities or other things. But I agree with Reva Minkoff that most people leave their company not because of the company itself, but because of its managers.

It’s always difficult to find a job when you’re just starting to build a career. Most people begin with a career that may not meet all their needs. As they mature and evolve as professionals, they begin to realize that the work they do no longer interests them, and they want to take on bigger career challenges and achieve new career goals.

Anyway, regardless of the reason why a person decides to change jobs, our chat participants believe that people should follow their dreams.

Question 2 Chat Replies

People often make the decision to switch to a new job position for various reasons, such as lack of challenges, poor management, and a desire to pursue their dreams to name a few.

Q3: Is it possible to start your own small business while still keeping your day job?

Some of our guests shared that they have managed to combine their regular work with entrepreneurship or freelance. We decided to discuss the topic in more detail and figure out if it’s indeed possible to start your own small business while keeping your day job.

Our special guest believes that it’s possible, but it requires balance and discipline. Moreover, if you want to start your own business while keeping your day job, you’ll have to work evenings, weekends, and even on holidays.

Nevertheless, building your own business while keeping your current job has its benefits too: it gives you security while allowing you to still pursue your passions and dreams.

Our other chat participants agreed that it’s possible to be an entrepreneur and keep your full-time job. But it’s crucial to maintain your drive when working your day job and launching your small business. Don’t veer off your course, and make sure your business doesn’t hurt your day job.

Set daily goals and take small, measurable steps towards launching your business. Realize that there will be failures and compromises on your way toward your dream. But don’t give up, and take baby steps each day. The more progress you make, the more confident you’ll be, and the easier it will be to stay inspired and keep moving forward. Always plan your days, get rid of distractions, and give both your day job and your business your attention.

“You just have to find a balance and stay committed to both while you're taking on multiple jobs,” explained Express Writers ‏@ExpWriters.

Miles Technologies pointed out that your ability to build your own business while keeping your day job depends on how much dedication this job requires in addition to what your business goals are.

You must balance your day job with your business and stay positive about your current job. Look for the good things and acknowledge the things you appreciate about your day job. Positive thoughts will help you succeed in different aspects of your life, including your career.

James Yorke offered a great piece of advice: build your business around your job or lifestyle:

He also recommended not wasting your time on things like chatting on Facebook and not sleeping more than you need to!

Question 3 Chat Replies

As you can see, most of our chat participants believe that keeping your day job and launching your own small business simultaneously is possible. You just need to plan your days right, set goals, stay positive about your current job, and give both your day job and your business enough attention. Also, you should always remember why you started your own business – whatever the reason – because doing so will help you stay motivated.

Q4: If an entrepreneur has failed once, should they return to working in-house or should they try again?

We all make mistakes. Some people can easily bounce back after they’ve failed, while it’s difficult for the others to start all over again after a failure.

We asked our guests whether entrepreneurs should return to working in-house or try to start a business again after failing. Judith Lewis explained that it all depends on your circumstances. For example, sometimes family issues force people to return to a job at a company. Nevertheless, she said that being an entrepreneur isn’t about being perfect, but about following your dreams.

Sarah Wilkes ‏@TrafficJamSarah pointed out that it also depends on your financial status and your mental attitude: “It totally depends on financial status and your mental attitude! Did it fail because of choices you made or decisions that were out of your hands?”

Zala Bricelj sees entrepreneurship as a combination of a mindset and a lifestyle. There’s no unified business model that all entrepreneurs can use. If you fail, figure out the reason why it happened, learn from your mistakes, decide what to do next and go for it.

Things happen: our business ventures fail, we get fired and we get rejected by our clients. People make mistakes, but it’s not the end of the world. Failing is part of life. You shouldn’t let it frustrate you completely. Failing and making mistakes help you learn and grow.

Jamie Riddell made a good point, saying that you should decide whether to return to working in-house or try again after your failure, based on what you learn from this experience. You should never give up, but you also must avoid making the same mistakes and falling into the same traps.

To sum up, I would like to quote AJ Ghergich, who gave us a great piece of advice. If you fail as an entrepreneur, you should definitely try to start your own business again, but only if you truly understand the reason why you failed the first time.

Quick Q4 recap:

Question 4 Chat Replies

If you fail, try again. Being an entrepreneur is not always about succeeding and being perfect, it’s about pursuing your passions and dreams. But you should also learn from your mistakes and never repeat them again.

Q5: What is the scariest thing about becoming self-employed that holds most people back?

Finally, we asked our chat guests about the main thing that stops most people from becoming self-employed.

Here’re four common issues that hold most people back.

  • Insecurity and uncertainty

First of all, people are afraid of the lack of security that comes with being self-employed. When you work for a company, you earn a regular income. Also, your employer covers a portion of your social security and may even offer you some other financial benefits that you won’t have when you’re self-employed. To have confidence in your future, Judith Lewis recommended having some savings and a plan: “Have a budget, have savings, have a plan, and take the plunge. You'll not regret it if you plan and save.”

  • Fear of failure

Many of our guests mentioned a fear of failure as one of the main thing that stops most people from becoming self-employed and launching their own business. In fact, people are afraid of many things like not being good enough, running out of money, feeling overwhelmed or exhausted, or failing.

But if having your own business is something you’ve been dreaming about for years, these fears shouldn’t stop you. Jayson Demers describes five main fears you’ll need to conquer before starting a business in his article posted on Entrepreneur.

  • Level of responsibility

Being your own boss seems exciting, but it also means that you will be responsible for all of your own business processes. You will be financially responsible for any mistakes you make. You will also be in charge of your own tax affairs, social security insurance, and pension. You will have no one to help and motivate you. Therefore, self-employment requires strong organizational skills.

  • Isolation

Finally, self-employment often means a lack of social interaction. The office life allows you to meet new people, communicate with your coworkers, go out to lunch together and meet after work. Some people believe that you miss out on these opportunities when you’re self-employed.

Let’s see what we have so far.

Question 5 Chat Replies

That was our final question! We hope that the tips from this post will help all those who are thinking about becoming self-employed make the right decision.

We would like to thank our special guest Judith Lewis and our other chat participants for sharing their experience and invaluable tips!

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Liza Perstneva is a Social Media Manager at SEMrush and a #SEMrushchat host. Follow Liza on Twitter.
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Thanks for this superb round-up Liza. I have to say that this was one of my favourite #semrushchat Twitter chats as there were so many different opinions and the questions expanded into various different discussions which I really enjoyed taking part in. As these chats get such a wide range of people attending them I learned a great deal from everyone as there isn't a correct answer to many of the questions featured in this particular chat. After the chat my head hurt from all of the thinking I had to do ;)