One of the most common fantasies among working individuals is to be your own boss: no more angry manager blaming you for things you have no control over, being able to set your own hours, having the freedom to work your own way. While self-employment sounds like a wonderful idea, in practice it can be very difficult to execute properly.

Self-employment means giving up a guaranteed salary, benefits, and job security. However, there are very real benefits to self-employment as mentioned above, and if you have your own big business idea, self-employment is the only way you can capitalize on it.

The best thing about self-employment is how flexible it is — you don’t have to run a small business or have a new and innovative idea to become self-employed. As long as you have a service or product to offer in exchange for money, anyone can be self-employed successfully. Here are five tips for doing self-employment the right way.

self-employment

Decide What Services You Want To Offer

Obviously, the most important part of self-employment is having a reason to employ yourself in the first place. Fortunately, as long as you can provide a service or product of value for a significant consumer base, you don’t need to have a traditional business idea or a specific background to become self-employed.

For example, while a person who went to NP school might not fit the traditional model of an entrepreneur, many qualified nurses establish successful private practices and businesses. If you’re going to be selling a service, it’s important that you choose something you’re good at and that you enjoy or at least are able to tolerate doing for long periods of time.

Since you’re giving up traditional employment in order to start your venture, the least you can do is enjoy your job a little more than before. After all, fulfillment is often the goal of many employees, and why shouldn’t you pursue a career that is both emotionally and financially rewarding?

Determine What Kind of Self-Employment Is Right for You

Self-employment comes in many forms, each with its own set of demands and challenges. The most archetypical form of self-employment is by being a business owner.

If your self-employment is based around producing a product, establishing a small business might be the best way for you to set yourself up for expandability later on in the future. Small businesses have the advantage of being able to be made into large businesses if you’re successful, allowing you significant opportunities to earn more money in the future.

However, being a business owner requires you to have good managerial skills, and also requires a significant investment upfront in order to purchase office space or manufacturing space for your business, buy resources and hire employees.

Another form of self-employment is being a freelancer. Freelancers are independent workers who offer a service of some sort in exchange for money. Self-employed writers, artists, and musicians are often freelancers, as well as skilled tradespeople such as plumbers or electricians.

Freelance work can be preferable because it offers many of the benefits of self-employment, such as being able to set your own hours without the stress of a boss, without the upfront costs and risks of investment that starting a business entails. However, there’s little room for advancement as a freelancer without expanding into a business, and you’ll have to find work for yourself.

Create a Schedule and Stick to It

One of the biggest challenges for self-employment is actually a consequence of one of the best benefits. Although you’re able to set your own hours without someone hounding you, that also means that you’ll have to be disciplined and able to force yourself to finish work, or else you won’t get paid.

While having deadlines imposed on you can be incredibly stressful, not having concrete deadlines can seriously affect your ability to earn money if you’re prone to procrastination. As a self-employed business owner or freelancer, it’s important to set your own schedule and stick to it. Your future self will thank you.

Manage Your Money Well (or Hire Someone To Do It for You)

Another consideration when you’re self-employed is that it’s up to you to grow your business or client base. It’s important that you invest money where you have to in order to be able to expand your operations.

Many self-employment individuals also struggle with organizing and balancing payments from different clients and managing employees’ salaries. If you’re having trouble with keeping track of your money, consider hiring an accountant or an assistant to help take the load off you.

Put Your Own Health Above Everything Else

Finally, the most important consideration you have, especially as someone who’s self-employed, is your own health. As your own boss, you have to learn to let yourself relax and not overwork yourself. If you find yourself drained and burning out, it’s okay to give yourself a day off now and then. You won’t be able to earn money or do anything if you wreck your health.

While self-employment can be risky, it’s also a wonderful opportunity to make money doing what you love and being free to decide your own future. With these five tips, ideally you’ll be able to start your very own self-owned business or freelancing operation successfully. In turn, you can finally enjoy the rewards of all of your hard work… all without needing to answer to anyone else.