Independence at work was one of the major attractions for me to self-employment, and many people are looking for that. But what does it actually mean? Here are just seven good things about independence in self-employment.
Controlling business direction
Independence means having control over the direction of the business – something you very rarely get working in HR for an employer. In terms of self-employed HR consultancy for SMEs, examples of this would be possibly deciding to focus on certain sectors, or a particular local area, pursuing particular marketing activities that you find beneficial, or more actively marketing certain products or services which you either feel particular benefit a certain target market, or are lucrative for you, or that you especially enjoy. Hopefully all three!
No one tells you what to do
Of course clients make requests for work, and there are any number of things that need doing in a business to keep it growing, and if you don’t do those your bottom line will clearly suffer. But in any given day/week, you can set your own priorities and organise your work in a way that suits you. The ability to make decisions is well-known as a motivating factor at work, and you get that in spades.
No irritating boss
Of course all bosses aren’t irritating, there are many very supportive ones out there who are excellent at what they do, empower their staff to make decisions, and are generally a joy to work with and for. But actually, even the best bosses sometimes make decisions you disagree with, and even if you work for the perfect boss, I’m willing to bet there are other individuals charged with managing the organisation you work for who cause your eyes to roll… Difficult bosses can be an enormous source of stress and is a major reason employees leave organisations.
Although clearly not all clients are perfect either, the dynamic is different, and the fact that they want you there (rather than being landed with HR whether they like it or not) means that actually they are generally more pleasurable to work with, seek your advice and listen to it, and are motivated to do the right thing by their staff.
Arranging your own diary
I don’t know about you but I have an awful lot going on in my life, especially with two school-age children who need shepherding to various places throughout the week, and a constant stream of Sports Days, parents assemblies, Christmas plays and the like. Being able to arrange my diary around personal commitments is an absolute life-saver for me. If personal stuff means I have extra work to do, I can do a bit in the evenings or weekends if necessary.
Yes this isn’t an issue for everyone, but holiday time childcare is difficult for many. Over the summer months I usually reduce my hours a bit, and take a couple of full weeks off as well. I know client work tends to drop off during the summer, and I can put in extra time ahead of the game to enable me to be flexible at holiday time.
Speed up or slow down?
Although of course you get out what you put in, for me independence meant being able to decide how much time to put in – how hard to work, how many hours to spend, and when to slow down a bit depending on personal preferences or family life. For example when I had my second son, I slowed things right down, cut back on marketing during pregnancy, kept current clients afloat and then gradually built things up again afterwards. How great to have the freedom to do that!
No annual leave wrangling
As well as flexibility for childcare purposes, you can organise your own holidays when you want, not based around what colleagues are doing, or rota systems, drawing lots or similar. Just one less headache!
If you’re looking for more independence at work and think your own HR consultancy might be the way to achieve that, do get in touch.