Guest Author - Dianne Walker
When you work for someone else, you are limited to the benefits, rules and regulations imposed by your employer. What we tend to find is that self-employed workers have a tendency to take advantage of and mistreat one of their most prized and productive employees themselves. Working long hours for little pay and even less time off sets the stage for a melt down waiting to happen. Taking care and allowing yourself even the most basic employee benefits and rights will go a long way in helping you to avoid becoming a catastrophe in the making.
Millions of people are fortune enough to have had their dreams turn into reality. According to Department of Labor statistics, over 10 percent of the workforce is currently self-employed. The benefits are well worth it independence from constant employer supervision, setting your own hours and knowing that your success or failure rests solely on your shoulders.
With all of the benefits, also come drawbacks. You may be in business for yourself, but you have clients that you will need to answer to. Consequently in order to get paid from your business, you are required to complete the ultimate in multi-tasking experiences. Office management, accounting, finance, marketing and training are just a few of the many hats that you will need to wear. With all of these drawbacks, its no small wonder that burnout and frustration occur so frequently.
While your business may not be a huge money maker, there are some steps that you should take to make sure that you are treating yourself fairly to avert a major meltdown.
1 Make sure that you get paid enough to cover your own living expenses. This may require you to rethink the fees for your services. John Travolta starred in a 1998 movie called A Civil Action. In it, he played a lawyer whose firm took on the beast of all cases about a town fighting a company against toxic dumping. As a result, he and his partners lost their homes, their cars and were in deep debt to the bank. They lost their business and their clients. He eventually filed for bankruptcy. This movie may have been made over a decade ago, but the situation is still prevalent today. Dont let this happen to you.
2 Provide a medical benefit package for yourself. While the upfront costs may seem expensive, the costs are nothing compared to a short or pro-longed illness or injury. You should also obtain disability and life insurance if possible. You may be able to qualify for a group rate if you belong to a professional association.
3 Give yourself annual, sick and holiday benefits. The freedom of paid time off is a necessary benefit for every hardworking employee to avoid burnout. Why not you? Build paid time off into the professional fees that you charge.
4 Set money aside for a rainy day. Owning a business does not always guarantee income when needed. Place rainy day funds in savings to tide you and the business over in the event of a slump.
5 Set up a retirement plan. Believe it or not, one day you will need to retire. Will you be prepared? Check with your bank to see what types of plans they can offer to start saving.
Working for yourself is exciting. It promises many benefits and freedoms from the daily grind of working for someone else. Overworked and burn out, however, are two very real situations that you may find yourself in. There is no hard fast rule that states just because you are self-employed, you need to treat yourself worse then the most badly treated employee. You deserve to be treated and should treat yourself with the same amount of care and respect. A little caution now will reap benefits later.