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8 Signs You’re Not Cut Out To Be Self-Employed

Educate yourself and your employees.

Whether you’ve ever wanted become self-employed as either a freelancer, entrepreneur, or small business owner, you’re not alone. A whooping 70% of Americans have had the same desire. The reality, however, is that just 10% of the active workforce in America is self-employed. Most of them are not cut out to be self-employed.

What’s the deal? Why is there such a gap?

Unfortunately, there isn’t just a one-size-fits-all answer. Maybe you’re concerned about health insurance or retirement. Maybe you you don’t want to deal with the stress or long hours. Or, perhaps you just don’t want to take the risk.

Regardless of the reason, it’s never a bad idea to make sure that you have what it takes to be self-employed. You don’t want to invest too much time or money into a business idea. You might not cut out to be self-employed.

Before taking the leap into self-employment, here are 8 signs that you’re just not cut out to be your own boss.

1. You don’t like the thought of irregular income.

When you’re an employee you have a regular and consistent income – until you’ve earned a raise. That’s not the case when you’re self-employed. There will be times when you won’t receive a paycheck since you have to pay your expenses, like utilities, taxes, and employees, first. And, as if that wasn’t stressful enough, it’s your responsibility to create and send invoices, along with chasing down clients who don’t pay.

If you prefer or need to have a stable and guaranteed paycheck, and not about things like taxes and chasing down payments, then self-employment isn’t the answer. Until you work-out-of-the-kinks, you can expect an irregular income.

2. You need to have a daily routine.

Are the type of person that needs to have a daily routine? Then stick with the 9-to-5 gigs. While there certain habits that you can control, like when you wake-up and what you do before you head into work, you never know what the next workday is going to bring. Maybe you have to cover for a sick employee or your computer crashes. Those little hiccups can drastically change your daily agenda.

Self-employed individual don’t need a daily routine because they’re flexible and thrive on these types of stressful situations.

3. Not Cut Out Because You’re afraid to leave your comfort zone.

Self-employed individuals are known for being risk-takers and stepping outside of their comfort zone. As mentioned above, that’s because your daily routine is unknown and full of new experiences. If that bothers you and you’re unwilling to step outside of your comfort zone, then you’re definitely not meant to be your own boss.

As Brian Tracy once said, “Move out of your comfort zone. You can only grow if you are willing to feel awkward and uncomfortable when you try something new.”

4. You get easily distracted.

One of the best perks about being self-employed is that you get to work wherever you want. For example, if you’re a freelance writer you can set-up shop in your favorite cafe or in the comfort of your own living room.

However, that freedom comes with a price. There are dishes and laundry that need to be taken care of, washed and put away. Friends will be texting or stepping by. Your dog wants to play. Facebook notifications to view. A new season of Daredevil to watch on Netflix.

If those distractions prevent you from being productive, then you may want to stick with a traditional gig that eliminates these types of distractions because being self-employed requires discipline and laser focus.

5. You have stage fright.

At some point you’re going to have to do a little self-promotion for your business. Whether it’s pitching your idea to investors, having lunch with a potential client, speaking at an industry event, or hosting a video tutorial, you’re going to have to speak in front of others.

If that frightens you, then you could take a public speaking class or join an organization like Toastmasters. But, if you want to completely avoid the spotlight, that can be a serious problem when it comes time to promote and market your business.

6. You thrive on appreciation.

I can tell you with all honesty that as a self-employed individual you rarely get a pat-on-the-back. You don’t get recognized for your hard work and dedication. Never receive an award. You don’t have any colleagues or managers cheering you on.

The self-employed don’t do it for the praise or recognition. They’re driven by something more important: passion.

If you’re the type of person that needs to be appreciated and recognized, then self-employment isn’t meant for you.

7. You can’t explain the steps of shoe tying.

Like tying your shoes for the first time, running a business is complicated. Successful business owners have a knack for taking a big idea and implementing it by making it easy-to-understand and relatable. They know how to delegate tasks and explain to others what exactly they’re looking for.

In other words, if you’re the type of person you has difficulty breaking down actionable steps, then self-employment probably isn’t your cup of tea.

8. Your spouse isn’t on-board.

Your spouse has to be 100% committed to your you becoming self-employed. It affects them just as much as it does you. It’s their savings you’re investing. Their home that may be used as collateral. It’s their lifestyle that is changing. And, whether you realize it or not, they own 50% of your business as well.

In other words, if your spouse isn’t on-board, then it’s pretty much going to be impossible to start your own business because you need them to be involved too. Your other option? Get a divorce.

If that’s not a sacrifice you want to make, then don’t toy around with the idea of being self-employed.


Those who are self-employed can live with an irregular income, stress, and stepping out of the comfort zone. They also don’t need praise and they have excellent communication skills. Most importantly, they have the support of their spouse.

If that doesn’t sound like you, but you still want to chase your passion, you can always start a side gig. For instance, you could take your love of building birdhouses up-a-notch by selling them on Etsy. You could start blogging or freelance writing if you want to share your knowledge and experience.

Sure. In this case, you’re still technically self-employed. But, it’s more of a hobby that doesn’t have the risk involved like opening up a restaurant.

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