YOUR CAREER What it means to be self-employed
Though it might sound easy, being your own boss comes with a lot of responsibility
WE live in an age where most people aren't formally employed due to the economy that is behaving badly. There are job losses and cuts and people are opting for starting their own businesses and being self-employed. Ella Ndevu, a Communications Specialist at IQ Academy and Danie Vlok, Academic Dean also at IQ Academy, explain what self-employment means.
BEING YOUR OWN BOSS
Ella gives a clear description of what being selfemployed really means.
“A self-employed individual is one who is an entrepreneur, one who works for themselves as the owner of a business or on a freelance basis. They are an employer rather than an employee. It means that you are your own boss; you run and or own your own business. Instead of reporting to and being accountable to an employer, you are accountable to yourself and responsible for paying your own salary,” says Ella.
She adds that self-employment means you have an impact and contribute to the economy.
“If you so choose, you become an employer and a source of income to your employees,” says Ella.
Mr Vlok adds, “In the informal sector, hawkers and street vendors are also considered to be selfemployed.”
WHAT YOU NEED TO BE AWARE OF
When self-employed, you are responsible for paying all your pension contributions You are responsible for other people’s salaries You will feel like your business needs nurturing and not tending to it will result in its failure
VAT and taxes are important.
WHAT TO DO TO BECOME SELF-EMPLOYED
Before you even think of being self-employed, there are things you need to know. “What distinguishes an entrepreneur from other self-employed individuals is the fact that they create jobs and are therefore a critical driving force in the economy. Though education is not necessarily a requirement to run a successful business, relevant education and practical experience are important considerations,” advises Mr Vlok.
WHY YOU NEED A BUSINESS
A business idea Capital and investors Ambition, drive, confidence and courage Passion and a winning attitude Balance between work and play Flexibility and innovation Marketing Target market Mentoring and support A filing system.
Owning your own business is not a walk in the park; there's a lot to consider as well as a lot of challenges you will go though.
“Starting your own company can be very lonely, especially during the early stages or when trying to keep the business afloat,” says Ella.
“Regulations imposed by government may pose restrictions on a business. Current businesses operating within a given industry as well as new entrants may pose a threat to a start-up business’ profitability. It is therefore important to identify consumers who are willing to buy your product or service,” adds Mr Vlok.
BENEFITS OF BEING AN ENTREPRENEUR
Having freedom when you are working for yourself is one of the main benefits of being self-employed because you can make your own decisions regarding your working day and the actions you take without worrying about a disapproving boss.
Once your business has grown, you have the opportunity to delegate your duties to others, reducing your working hours while still receiving an income.
Mr Vlok says one thing most selfemployed people need to understand is that there is no such thing as a quick buck; it all needs patience and knowing that you have people depending on you because it is no longer just about you and you are not employed by someone else.
“Administration, financial management, support and patience are needed because there is no such thing as a get rich quick scheme.”
If you are thinking of starting your own business, there are courses you can study, such as Business Management, Financial Management and Supervisory Management.