Self-employment: Is it the right choice for you?

Self-employment: Is it the Right Choice for You?

Not sure if self-employment is the right choice for you?

Many of us consider self-employment during our working lives. But how do you know if self-employment is the right choice for you? People consider self-employment for a variety of reasons. For some it may be the promise of freedom, the potential to earn more money or a way to do more of what they love. Others might consider self-employment in the face of redundancy or due a lack of employment opportunities.

If you are considering self-employment as an alternative to salaried employment, there are a number of questions to ask yourself:

  • Am I suited to self-employment?
  • Do I have a viable business idea?
  • Do I have the necessary skills?
  • Do I have the finances to get the business going?
  • Do I understand what’s involved?
  • Do I have a business plan?

Although you don’t need to have all of the following skills and attributes to be successful in self-employment, your chances of success are likely to be greater if you:

  • Have a vision
  • Are passionate about your business idea
  • Enjoy challenges
  • Are comfortable taking risks
  • Are self-motivated
  • Are confident and decisive
  • Have good organisation and coordination skills
  • Possess good communication skills
  • Have good networking skills
  • Are good at influencing others
  • Enjoy multi-tasking
  • Are resourceful
  • Are customer focused and committed to delivering a quality product or service
  • Willing to take charge of your own professional and self-development

Advantages of self-employment

  • Being your own boss and having control
  • Working with people you choose to work with
  • Flexibility with the ability to set your own working hours
  • Pursuing your passion and using your skills
  • Potential to earn more than a waged employee
  • Personally and professionally rewarding

Disadvantages of self-employment

  • Income instability
  • Responsible for the success or failure of the business
  • Responsible for own taxes, national insurance contributions, pension plan, health insurance etc.
  • Can be isolating if you work alone
  • No holiday or sick pay
  • Can take time and energy to build your brand and reputation
  • Can involve working more hours than a regular job


In considering whether or not self-employment is for you, it’s important to be clear on the advantages and disadvantages. You also need to understand the qualities and skills you’ll need in order to be successful. 

Working with an experienced business or career coach can be helpful to determine if self-employment is the right choice for you. They will prompt you to think about the viability of your business idea, whether you are suited to self-employment and consider the practicalities involved. Once you’ve weighed up the pros and cons and made the decision that’s right for you, you can plan a way forward to achieve your goals.

Picture of Lisa LaRue, MCareerDev,  RCDP, MAC

Lisa LaRue, MCareerDev, RCDP, MAC

Career Coach, EMCC-Accredited Master Practitioner Coach and CDI-Registered Career Development Professional with more than 20 years’ experience helping achieve successful and fulfilling careers.



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