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Self-employment is, as you can imagine, simply working for yourself. It is also possible to be an employee of your own company, but either way, the clear distinction is that you work for yourself, and have to find yourself the work to do.

There are many occupations which lend themselves well to becoming self-employed. For example, builders, carpenters, electricians, plumbers, hairdressers, beauty therapists, nail technicians, personal trainers, gardeners, freelancers and consultants of all varieties, and many others.

Self employment and education 

It is certainly possible to become self-employed directly from full-time education. However, it is more usual, and arguably more sensible, to have completed an apprenticeship, or at least a year or two as an employee, just to make sure you learn the ropes of being in business.

There is a bit more to being self-employed than simply doing the task you are trained in. Watching how others do it is a great free lesson, in either how to do it, or how not to do it as the case may be. I once learned some very valuable lessons in how not to run a company, and how not to treat staff, when I was an employee.


I made sure I didn’t repeat those behaviours when I owned my own company and had staff working for me.

People choose to become self-employed for various reasons. Some of them, are as follows:

  • Better work-life balance

  • More satisfaction working for yourself

  • More money

  • More tax-efficient

  • Like being the boss, and working your own hours

  • Flexibility      

  • Can do a better job than the current employer does


There are of course some drawbacks with self-employment, such as:

  • No guarantee of work

  • You have to market yourself to generate work

  • You have to deal with everything if you work alone

  • Income is uneven, so you must live with the ups and downs

  • If you are used to working in a team, then it can feel lonely at times


Becoming self-employed is often an aspirational next step to being an employee. If this route seems like an exciting option for you, then do your research, make sure it is financially viable, but don’t leave it too late, or you will become trapped, and a slave to a wage!

FACT: 4.9 million people in the UK have taken the step of becoming self-employed, and working for themselves.

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