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Self-Employment – the key to happiness?

Self-Employment – the key to happiness?
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The key to being happy and contented in life is to have a good work/life balance, which I think is virtually impossible to do if you are in employment rather than self employment or running your own business. This is a fairly contentious point and I’m sure there are thousands if not millions of people out there who are quite happy in their jobs and thoroughly enjoy their lives. Or so they think.

The problem with being in an employed position is that you have defined hours virtually every day of the week, or at least every day that you work. Self employed people on the whole can, if they want to, choose the hours they work and fit work around the rest of their lives.

Just imagine that. Want to have a haircut? Simply go and do it. Need to wait in to collect a delivery? Just do it. Children off school because their school is closed courtesy of a few flakes of snow? Simple; stay at home with the children and enjoy the snow.

This type of thing is simply not possible if you are an employed person.

The difference between employed and self employed work is that although there are always people who are going to be able to tell you what to do in any walk of life, whether you are employed or self employed, you still determine to a certain extent when self employed, exactly what you are going to do and not do. You can decide if you go and work for someone or take on an order or bid for a tender. If you are in employment you have to go and do these things and there is no choice about it. You may think that some of the areas of your work are unnecessary, but in an employed position your boss can tell you to go and do it. In a self employed position you can tell the potential client that you don’t wish to work for them. If only life was this simple?

Making the change from an employed position into a self employed position is extremely difficult. The mindset needed to be self employed is hugely different to the mindset needed simply to get up, drive into work, pretend to be doing some work and then come home again. Suddenly, your whole family’s future depends on your ability to generate an income for yourself.

It is not everyone’s cup of tea, I appreciate this. However, in order to be truly happy in life you need to take control of your family’s future and not let it depend on other people.

To give you an example of this, you may well be in an employed position and think that the future looks rosy. You have been working for the same employer for 25 years, you have a pension, the company seems to be doing well and you are happy working in the existing environment. Your family’s future appears completely secure, your job is secure and your life is set out like a map in front of you.

Suddenly the company decide that they can save money by moving your work to Belgium, and if you want to keep your job you will have to move as well. As you have been in your job for 25 years you are in your mid 40’s, have no obvious qualifications to move into another post with, and your life suddenly doesn’t seem as secure as it was before. Your family’s income is not secure and never will be. This is the same in every single employed position you could take, whether you are working in a public authority role or in a private business. You never know what’s round the corner and working for yourself or working for someone else is just as risky.

In the scenario above, the man in question spent about 2 or 3 years struggling to find a new job because his whole life had been tied up with one company, and although he was very well paid and in a senior position, this was not much good in a difficult employment market. Would things have been different if he had been self employed? Quite possibly, if he had taken this on from an earlier time and not needed to leave until he was in his mid 40’s and at a time of crisis, to think about taking back control (to pinch a Conservative Party slogan).

Jonathan Fagan is MD of Ten-Percent.co.uk Limited and TP Recruitment Limited, a set of websites involved in a range of recruitment work. Jonathan has been running small businesses for over 20 years and has a number of interests and investments in companies as diverse as transcription, legal recruitment and a bit of marketing. He is an author of a number of guides and books, together with a children’s novel. In his spare time he enjoys playing golf, cricket, coaching girls’ football, operating a parent taxi, lots of running and paddleboarding on Bala Lake and the River Dee. He is a strong believer in a good work-life balance and regular blogs on making money vs enjoying life. Jonathan’s website is https://www.jonathanfagan.co.uk

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