One of the main differences between employment and self-employment is that while an employer takes care of your insurance, taxes, and legal compliance, self-employed people have to organize and take care of all those aspects by themselves.
Another difference is related to the responsibility for providing valuable service and to the sense of stability. If you’re employed there is some amount of work to be done and salary prepared for you every month, you have to work at regular times every day, the employer provides your regular monthly income, while when you’re a freelancer all those things depend on whether you handle them yourself. Problems with getting customers and projects lead to problems with income - both of which result in instability. The other differences are :
It’s difficult to achieve that while being employed - even the best and most tolerant employer who allows you to work at a convenient time and location will still require you to be present and available at some specific times and meetings. Only self-employment allows complete flexibility - you can plan your own schedule and working time. The prospect of working at any location and comfortable time of the day, like on a beach with a drink in the hand in summer, surely sounds fantastic, but it’s important to understand that being self-employed might sometimes also mean working longer than 9 to 17, working on weekends and holidays, as well as still thinking about work after completing all of the day’s tasks. You might experience both: working in cozy cafes or in nature while everyone else is stuck in four walls of their offices but also working on Saturdays and Sundays while all your friends are relaxing and having fun. It’s also worth it to highlight the fact that time not working as a self-employed is time that is not paid and no one will pay you for a two-week holiday.
Control over ideas and projects
When you’re employed, everything might not go your way. Some ideas might seem great but could be impossible to push through to your boss or supervisors. Additionally, some managers might want to structure and plan your work in detail. This is not the case with self-employment and here your entire business relies on your ideas and projects. Not being told what to do every single day might become problematic though, especially at the beginning when you don’t yet feel that watching Netflix series instead of working on a project is not the best use of your working time.
Customers and colleagues
People you cooperate with when self-employed might be constantly changing while employment grants you contact with mostly the same people /team the majority of the time. It might happen that while working on your own you’ll be coming across different people every week or month. Making friends and bonding with people is therefore much harder than while being employed.
Taking care of a wide variety of tasks
As an employee, you might have some very specific tasks that repeat every day assigned to you. When self-employed, you will have to manage your regular work, financial flow, paperwork, and legal matters as well as marketing to find customers and sell your work. You might need to maintain contact with your customers and provide a customer-friendly environment. All of those tasks vary and require different skills that you normally don't need while being employed in a company.
Hungry for more?
Read about the self-evaluation test that will help you judge whether enough to start the journey of self-employment.