Pros and Cons of self-employment

If you're familiar with my site at all, you know I've been working for me for a few weeks now. Again. This time is very different from before: I have far more "irons in the fire" as they say, and am apparently pulled in far more divergent directions than ever before. But I also have far more skills and confidence, a great deal more knowledge and greater resources, and basically know myself and understand my personal needs much more than before. Which makes for an interesting ride. I've been pondering the pros and cons and here are a few of the things I've come up with:

Pros of working for yourself:

  • You can sit on a blanket in your back yard with your cat and do some of your best work without having to get dressed for an office.
  • Those meetings in coffee-shops I mentioned the other day.
  • You get to choose which clients you will and will not work with.
  • You don't have to answer to the prying eyes of others if you choose to take a friendly phonecall in the middle of the afternoon and want to let it go on for more than 3 minutes.
  • If you want or need something to make your workflow run more smoothly, you don't have to answer to some other department who will nitpick over your departmental budget and question why this expense was associated with that budgetary line item. Not that my accountant won't disagree with me. But in general, you turn those receipts over to her and say "here you are." And she puts things in whatever columns she wants 'em in. And tells you what to do, but doesn't tgell you you're wrong. Unless you are. Then she's really nice about it.
  • Lotta happiness in my "new office."
  • You can stream audio as long as you want to. If it tweaks with the bandwidth, you turn it off or deal with it. Therefore you don't have to be bored with the music on the radio, or the redundancy of your cd collection. Internet radio kinda rocks.
  • My office has windows.

Cons of working for yourself:

  • You're kind of always working. Not completely, but the workday most certainly does not end at 5.
  • That blanket I mentioned in the list above seems to draw a lot of mosquitoes. And the citronella candle is frairly small. (Note to self: plant more natural mosquito repellents. Soon!)
  • People call and say "Did I wake you up?" no matter what time of day they happen to call.
  • Um, shouldn't it have appeared first that there is no guaranteed paycheck coming in at the same time every month? (Or week...I got used to the former, though.)
  • If you need something - a computer program, an office supply, a piece of office equipment, you do not ask someone to put in a requisition for you, or to submit a purchase order. You go out and buy the thing for yourself. Or order it online. Whatever.
  • You have to keep up with financial matters you'd much rather let someone else keep up with.
  • Your mother's voice, on the other end of the phone, has that concerned tone in it that you haven't heard in years when she asks you how you're doing. I'll know I'm in trouble when she starts buying me canned tuna and peanut butter. Let's say it's not going down that road this time. And Mom will know it too!
  • In my "old office" I didn't hear the neighborhood noises when I needed great concentration. The laughter in the yard at that nearby daycare center is sometimes fabulous. But there's no way to predict, or control, the screeching of an angry child having a tantrum.

Naturally this is not a complete list. But what fun. To get stuff on the page helps me solidify my thoughts and streamline the areas I need to tweak for smoother sailing. Good, good stuff.