You aspire to have the freedom to innovate and wish to take those first steps to self-employment. To be self-employed comes with many perks. On top of independence and a flexible working schedule, you get to choose the projects you work on as well as the people you work with. 

Imagine being able to build a community without restrictions on your creativity. Does this resonate with you? If you’re looking forward to becoming self-employed, don’t forget that nothing good comes without challenges. Self-employment is the path natural leaders dream to explore. To that end, let’s first clarify what to consider before choosing the path of  self-employment.

What is Self-Employment?

Rather than working for an employer, self-employed individuals operate their own businesses or work as a freelancer.

The legal structure of self-employment depends on your place of residency. For instance, in Germany, there are two types of self-employment: A freelancer (Freiberufler) or trader (Gewerbetreibende). Whether you are classified as a freelancer or trader, is determined by the tax office after you submit the tax registration form.

Also note, that someone who is self-employed doesn’t receive a steady paycheck. So you will need to take care of your taxes and needs on the income you generate.

Now let’s take a look at the things you should take into account before making the jump to self-employment.

Full Responsibility

If you’re self-employed, you’re the one who has to make all decisions, and this is no light task. You’ll be fully responsible for planning and executing your business activities. Building a network, time management of your projects, and invoicing. That is why self-employment isn’t for everyone. You should carefully consider whether you’re willing to, not only take on the responsibility of working for yourself, but also the consequences in case something goes wrong. 

When you’re employed, there’s usually someone higher in the hierarchy, who deals with the aftermath of a workplace crisis. Being self-employed, you have to patch up the situation yourself.

With many commitments, you should also be prepared to create a work-life balance. The flexibility that self-employment affords is liberating, yet having no definite place or time of work might cause overworking. Learning how to better manage time and ways to boost efficiency will help you achieve a healthy lifestyle. Makeuseof lists “The 7 Best Tools to Help You Improve Your Work-Life Balance” that will help you do this.

Fluctuating Income

Self-employment entails financial risk, as you have no employer who’s legally required to pay a fixed salary each month. The income you get as self-employed is proportional to the amount of work you do. Thus, you should be willing to experience instability.

A freelancer might not have the same number of clients every month. Especially as you start off, you might find it frustrating to obtain new clients. By the same token, business owners will experience fluctuating sales. This depends  on how successful their business is, and the current market competition.

Carrying out market research is necessary to determine demand and competition, and to identify your niche. It’s also a good idea to have emergency savings, open a separate business account, and categorise your budget to ease financial stress.


To make the most of self-employment and be successful, you should build professional connections and a network of contacts. Without those connections, it will prove difficult to drive your career forward, as they open a door to many opportunities. 

Connecting with others can help you stay up to date with the latest trends in your industry, expand your skill set and establish yourself as a professional. Some of these connections might become partners or clients in the future as well. 

You might have the opportunity to collaborate with someone in the same field as you or be recommended to a client. The key to having a strong network is maintaining your connections, and being eager to give the same value back.

Going to networking events, joining social media groups and coworking spaces are some places in which you can get started.

Setting New Goals

Being self-employed means you’re responsible for the development of your venture. You should constantly be working towards your long-term goal, but you should also set short-term goals to stay motivated and ensure that you move forward. 

That being said, you should be fully invested in what you’re doing and be in for the long run. Continually setting goals gives you focus. It helps you to measure success and build on your management skills. 


After stressing the importance of continually setting goals, you should consider that failure is part of the process. Rather than viewing it as an end to something, you should embrace failure as being one step ahead. 

If you’re self-employed, you’re bound to make mistakes and fail. Although it may seem like a setback, failure gives you the resources to take a new direction and learn from your mistakes. 

Are you ready to become self-employed and accept the risks it entails? Then you should be ready to confront failure as well.


Like everything else, self-employment has advantages and disadvantages. It’s not for everyone, but it might be the ideal career for you. If you want to be your own boss, do what you love and excel at it. Make a plan of how you want to achieve this, then take into consideration the challenges you might encounter on the way.

About the author

EWOR is a school conceived by Europe’s top professors, entrepreneurs, and industry leaders. We educate and mentor young innovators to launch successful businesses.

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