Over the past three years, I have been slowly building up a side business in addition to finishing grad school and working full time. After a lot of hard work and many hours put in, my side business has really blossomed, and I’ve decided that by January 1, 2014, I’m going to work solely for myself.
It seems like it would be an easy decision, choosing flexibility and freedom over a 9-5, but it’s actually one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever had to make.
With my husband still a student, I’m currently the breadwinner, and I always feel a lot of pressure to provide for my family. Switching over to running a small business is risky, and the income is variable. I would say there’s probably going to be even more pressure and even a bit of anxiety as I work hard to increase my productivity and my income. Yet, it’s something I’m determined to do.
What to Think About Before Switching to Self-Employment
In making my decision to become my own boss, there were several things I had to think about first, such as health care.
Health Insurance: Having health insurance is very important to me, so I recently switched to the healthcare plan offered by my husband’s school. It’s slightly more expensive, but it is still a good policy. Because he will be a student for three more years, this is taken care of for now.
Research your own options as to how to secure adequate health insurance. With the Affordable Health Care Act, there may even be more economical options available.
Savings: It’s really important to have a savings account if you are going to run your own business. Right now, my emergency savings account is at $2,000 with other savings spread out over different goals. Over the next six months, I will be adding to this savings account to prepare for self-employment.
Make sure to have a secure amount of savings to tide you over until your business is sustainable enough to support you financially. Those first few months can definitely be worrisome, and having a safety net can help alleviate some of the stress.
Time Commitment: When I started to think about working for myself full time, I was also thinking ahead to the future. My husband and I want to start a family, and I know that staying home and working on my business from home will allow me to spend quality time with my family when the time comes.
As I was making this decision, Sheryl Sandberg’s book Lean In came out. I had to take a lot of time and ask myself if I wanted to make this decision for me or if I subconsciously made this decision because I want to have children someday soon. For me, I think it’s a little of both, and there’s nothing wrong with that. If my business will allow me to be more available as a mother and do something I love, then I think it’s a win-win.
Ultimately, I considered many different scenarios, pros, and cons when deciding to work for myself. Eventually, the answer became crystal clear. Even though there is risk and even though I might fail, I think the potential for freedom, flexibility, and having more quality time around my future kids really won out in the end.
Do you currently work for yourself? If not, is it something you would consider? Tell us your story at GOGIRLFINANCE.COM
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