Self Employment

Posted on: March 3rd, 2009 by admin No Comments

I read a great article in the NY Times last week about self employement, written by Kelley Holland.  The article perfectly details the pros and cons to being self employed. I have been self employed for 14 years and can agree with most in the article.

The difficulty of being self employed is that you have to do EVERYTHING yourself. That means wearing every hat: sales, acounts payable, accounts receibable, production coordinator, filing clerk, secretary, traffic coordinator, marketing, catalog designer, print coordinator, shipping expert, packing expert, etc. You will become an expert in areas you never thought about before. When you work in an office, there is a collection of people to rely on and help you get your job done. Having coworkers enables you to do the job you are best at doing.  Well, with self employment, when something slips through the cracks there is no one else to blame or to turn to for help in catching up. There is no one to share in the glory of a big order or toss around ideas.

I  held many jobs after college:  receptionist for an umbrella wholesaler, retail sales for a fur coat store on 5th Ave, secretary in a large cosmetic company, executive assistant in a small import company, sales for computer graphics design firm, merchandise manager for a garment company, personnel consultant and a few others that are too insignificant to mention. Every single job has provided me with the tools needed to operate my own business.

Having been a secretary and an executive assistant, I was able to set up a very efficient filing system. This is one of the key factors for a successful operation. Invoices, orders, claims, notes, artwork, ideas, etc. all need to be in the right place for when they are needed later. If your filing system is disorganized, then too much time is wasted looking for things. More importantly, you may lose money since you can’t prove claims to or from customers and vendors.

It is very easy to lose yourself in personal “stuff” when there are no coworkers around. The internet or laundry or a beautiful day can really tug you away from your work. However, I know that my children come home from school by a certain time, so I must keep focused.

What I do find challenging is getting lost in some of day to day operations and I lose time on product development and sales. Bills need to be paid, invoices need to chased and inventory needs to be managed. These three tasks are vital for operations. But if the developing part of the “job” is ignored on a daily basis, the negative results show up later when there are fewer sales or time runs out for getting new designs in time for trade shows.

Being self employed and working from home is really great if you are motivated, organized and disciplined.

I’m sure I’ll write more about this from time to time.

Leave a Reply