YOUR CA­REER What it means to be self-em­ployed

Though it might sound easy, be­ing your own boss comes with a lot of re­spon­si­bil­ity

Move! - - CONTENTS - By Atha­bile Mrasi

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.


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.”


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.


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.


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.


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.

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