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In these uncertain economic times, striking out on your own may not seem like the most sensible option. But what if you have a product that has to come to market, or an idea that is so innovative it has to be seen through to fruition? What if you're simply like my friend who started his own Indian takeaway because he was fed up of people not experiencing authentic Indian food? You won't be alone.
According to the Office for National Statistics the number of self-employed people in the UK is growing year on year. In the first quarter of 2016 4.7m people were registered as self-employed and in this last year alone the number has risen by 133,000. In fact The Telegraph even went so far as to credit those who work for themselves as the mainstay for 'keeping the economy afloat'.
Everyone who has struck out from 'regular employment' and left the security of a monthly paycheck behind has their personal reasons for doing so. Mine was simply so I could have a dog. Deepak's was because he knew there was a gap in the market for genuine Indian food - he was so bored of people tucking into generic, same-old Indian cuisine and believing that was all there was, he felt compelled to introduce consumers to a real Indian taste sensation, thus Chilli Tuk Tuk was born. But his reasons aren't yours, or mine. So if you are looking for inspiration to push you over the edge, try these 5 arguments on for size:
1. Flexibility to fit work around family and life commitments. Have a doctor's appointment? Don't sweat it, just go. You have no one to answer to and no one's permission to seek.
2. Start up funding. You don't have to finance your dream on your own. There are so many options to get funding these days. Seek and you shall find.
3. Self-employed people typically earn 45% more money than those who are traditionally employed. You get tax breaks, you have more incentive to work harder, and more often than not, because you are a 'specialist' you're perceived as more valuable and therefore worth paying more for.
4. You can wear whatever you like. No need to dress up (or down). Spend the day in your pyjamas. No judgement.
5. This is the best bit: you reap all the reward. I'm not just talking financial reward, but intellectual credit and recognition. (Which can be worth its weight in gold when it comes to marketing your services and getting more clients.)
One thing I do have to caveat though, is whilst it might seem like the gold plated solution to achieving the holy grail of a decent work/life balance, it isn't always plain sailing. The hard work is, well, hard. And the long, lonely hours can be well, long and lonely. And if it goes down hill you have no one else to fall back on, and only one person to answer to. So yes, the lows can be incredibly low, but boy do the highs soar. Just wait and see.