Work for yourself or for someone else: Which is better?


Fact Box

  • According to research from Guidant Financial, the number one reason people choose to open their own business is to be their own boss. 
  • FreshBooks reports that, in 2018, the sector with the highest number of self-employed professionals was Construction/Trades, with 19.6%.
  • The US Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the average full-time employee has at least seven paid holidays, eight paid vacation days, and eight paid sick leave days per year. 
  • As of 2019, about 44 million people in the United States were self-employed.

Bonnie (Yourself)

There are many benefits to working for yourself, and they are all related to how much more control it gives you over your life. It boils down to the fact that you can work your job around your life instead of having to work your life around your job.

Working for yourself means that you don't have to answer to anyone else because you are your own boss. You can set your own schedule, and you can choose where and with whom you would like to work.

Working for yourself also entails that you have unlimited earning potential. Your income is bound only by the degree to which you are willing to work hard.

Additionally, self-employment allows for greater personal fulfillment and satisfaction than working for someone else does. It means you can pursue your personal passion—and if you are doing what you love every day, that enthusiasm is passed on to customers and clients.

Being your own boss also means that you can control how every detail of the business operates, including which projects to take up and how they will be implemented—a freedom that simply isn't afforded when working for others.

Further, any stress of being solely responsible for a business's success can foster desirable qualities such as courage, perseverance, determination, and mental and emotional strength.

With today's technology, it is easier and less costly to start your own business than ever, so if you are an independent-minded self-starter, you will most likely be much happier working for yourself than for someone else.

Ryder (Someone Else)

Working for someone else has more perks than being an entrepreneur. When a company is already well-established, it's easier to pave your way towards success, stability, and opportunity. When working for someone else’s company, work can be consistent and predictable, and the hours are set—unlike with self-employment, which usually entails more sporadic and uncertain workflow and time. 

Though you get to decide your own hours if self-employed, you will invest many of them into the business instead of yourself. Additionally, these hours are often unpredictable, which experts point out potentially leads to anxiety since you'd be working in an unstable environment. When working for a company with a set number of hours, you have more free time to pursue your passions and hobbies, which is crucial for one's well-being. According to Psychology Today, hobbies can help lower stress and increase creativity. 

Furthermore, the stakes are lowered when working for someone else. If all the hours and money one puts into their company fail, they've lost everything and need to start a new career path. When working for someone else, the worst that can happen is being let go, in which case there's likely another job in your field that you can swing onto next. In fact, job-hopping can lead to more career and salary growth, according to Forbes.

While being your own boss may seem ideal, working for someone else comes with its own unique list of advantages, such as a predictable and fixed income, work schedule, and free time.

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