Why not?

So R has already expressed she is against self-employment. I need to ask her specifically “why,” since all I really know is she’s against it.

So you tell me – why shouldn’t someone be their own boss or self-employed?

About Kevin Sonney

Kevin Sonney - who, contrary to popular opinion was NOT raised by wolves - grew up in central North Carolina. He fell into the technology field by accident in 1991, when he gave up the wild and crazy lifestyle of an on-air AM radio DJ to become a mundane technical support monkey. The technology industry has never really recovered from this. Kevin has worked for such names as IBM, Red Hat, webslingerZ, and Lulu Technologies (we won't mention the ones that didn't survive the experience). He currently works as a Linux Administrator for Apptio. In his spare time he rescues stray animals and plays video games with his two sons. His wife, we're sad to say, helps him get past the really hard bits. Kevin is still not very mundane, he just got better at hiding it.
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8 Responses to Why not?

  1. kitashla says:

    Well, it depends on what sort of business you are planning on starting and how much time you are willing to devote into it.

    A business takes AT LEAST a year to become profitable as a general rule. And one of the drawbacks of owning and operating your own business (aside from never being guarenteed a paycheck) is the fact that you have to devote tons of time to it. It can and will take a lot of time away from your family and your children for several years. It takes a significantly larger amount of energy to be your own boss than it does to punch in and out every day.

    It all depends on what you are willing to sacrifice.

    Which is not to say that you SHOULDN’T be your own boss. Careful planning/saving and perspective and things should be fine. Difficult, but fine.

    It’s a lot more stress and a lot more worry. Most people don’t believe that to be so when they have to worry about being fired or work drama. But it really is.

    However, with the right amount of energy and work put into it and luck, it can be truly worthwhile.

    (And when I say luck, I mean luck. That idea that if you work hard enough and try hard enough your dreams will come true? Utter crap. If it were true, we’d be millionaires.:)

  2. bpitzer says:

    My wife is self-employed, and I’d contemplated it at times. However, we discovered that there are a few issues there that she, in particular, was concerned about.

    1. Health insurance — it would cost us probably 20 times what we’re paying through my company to cover three of us, given my GERD, and my wife’s thyroid problems, among others. I also have asthma. A friend of ours – who is an independent insurance agent – said that BCBSNC would probably ‘rate us up’ 7x, which is the max. She’s got one client who is in fairly good health who got that rate, and he’s only 10 years older than us.

    2. Regularity of income — as a self-employed person, unless you’re able to keep a ‘rainy day fund’ that’s large enough, you’ll suffer heavily if you’re unable to find work for a while, or if the economy tanks a bit, or especially if you’re injured or sick and can’t work at all for a while. If you take out insurance on that, you’ll be paying quite a bit. My wife has found out about the ‘unable to find work’, and ‘sick and can’t work’ parts in her business. We’re not at a point where we can do without her income, so that kind of hurts us as a family when she’s sick and can’t work for a week.

    Naturally, the second point would be mitigated by having employees who could work, but there’d be the nightmare of dealing with payroll, taxes, etc. for them as well.

    Oh, yeah, that’s #3.

    3. Taxes — God forbid you underestimate the amount you’ll owe, or you could be looking at having to sell that little sports car you love to pay them. The IRS, much like the TSA, has no sense of humor. Period.

    I’m not trying to deter you, if it’s what you want to do, but those points were good enough for my wife and I to say that me working for myself is a bad idea. Maybe someday, but certainly not now.

    Good luck!

  3. jay says:

    someone once said the great thing about about running your own business is that you get to pick your own hours… any 12 of every day ;-)

  4. spot says:

    The risk reward ratio for self-employment is at an extreme:

    The risk is the highest possible (you are most likely to fail in starting your own business as opposed to any other career choice, regardless of what that business is), and the reward is also the highest possible (those who do manage to start wildly successful businesses make a lot more money, statistically).

    Which I suppose is both a pro and a con.

  5. ferociousbcycad says:

    Ask me again when I haven’t been drinking wine all day–I have actually useful thoughts on this.

  6. alchemist says:

    Since of all the friends I have, you seem to have the most experience with this sort of thing…

  7. dr_scholl says:

    My R was self-employed until recently and the comments made are all very good ones. It worked well for us when I had a regular income and health insurance to cover the both of us, but it would have scared the shit outta me if that were not the case. It’s VERY hard to do any life planning when you may make $8-10k one month, but then nothing for the next two months. That unsteady income stream was one of the things that made R give up the self-employment thing.

  8. kitashla says:

    OOoo, I so have to second the taxes thing.

    We owe the IRS and the State Dept of Revenue an assload of money because of payroll taxes. It’s fun right now getting a lawyer to help us wade through it all.

    Life lesson learned, always pay your payroll taxes. Even if it means bankruptcy for the business and all of your employees will be out of a job. Pay your payroll taxes.:)

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