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What Does Being Your Own Boss or Self-Employment Mean?
Self-employment means working for yourself or a company you own or control. You may own your own business and even employ other people. Or, you may be self-employed as an individual without even establishing a formal business. It also means you have full responsibility for finding customers, getting the work done, collecting payment and doing all the record-keeping. It’s not for everyone but more than 15% of active retirees and workers over 50 indicate they want to be self-employed or start their own business.
What it DOESN’T mean is that someone else will write you a paycheck or provide benefits — in fact, paid vacations and holidays become a thing of the past. No work usually means no pay. It’s not for everyone but here is some information to help you evaluate if you are ready to be your own boss.
Working for Yourself - Simple Self-Employment
Let’s first review simply working for yourself — no office, no employees, and no big investments. Decide what service or activity you will perform. Here are several possibilities:
Convert Your Career or Hobby
How have you earned a living during your career? If you were a teacher, become a tutor. Parents pay tutors between $15 and $75 per hour to help their high school, middle school and sometimes, elementary school student. If you were a truck driver, become a courier. Law firms, retail stores and doctors often hire local couriers to transport urgent and valuable shipments. If you were an accountant, become a personal home finance assistant. Pay bills and keep personal financial records for people — young and very busy professionals or your retired neighbors who just can’t keep up with paying bills and filing receipts. What are your hobbies? Have you always enjoyed gardening? Provide light home landscaping services in your neighborhood. Do you have a flair with fabrics? Offer your services as an interior designer. Often, all you have to do is circulate a brochure and you can be up and running. Your home is your office and usually you do not even need to create a legal business. Congratulations, you’re self- employed!
If you were most any sort of professional, you can offer your expertise to organizations in need. And you’ll often earn more per hour than you used to. Start by approaching former employers, other businesses in your industry or non-profits and government agencies that might need your specialized skills. You will usually get paid for the “hours” you work — so keep track of your time! Or you may get paid a “retainer” — or lump sum - each month so that a company can have regular access to your expertise.