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As you elbow your way to the front of the line at your favorite coffee shop, surrounded by a mass of laptops and folks forgoing the dreaded work commute, you may find yourself wondering, "Should I be self-employed?" Avoiding the hustle and bustle of the weekday morning (and evening) can be tempting. However, it's not a sea of latte foam you want to wade into unaware. While working for yourself has its perks, there are inarguable trade-offs when you leave the corporate world. Here are some practical pros and cons of self-employment to help you figure out if it's a path tailor-made for you.

Benefits to Self-Employment

There are a good number of benefits to self-employment. Let's have a look at three that can help you decide whether becoming your own boss is the best career path.

If the monotony of a fixed schedule wears you down, self-employment puts you in charge of both your time and, in many instances, your location. In many industries, all you need for self-employment is an internet connection and a cell phone. You're at work when you plug in and you're off the clock when you close your laptop.

When asking, "Should I become self-employed?" there's also the topic of earning potential. If you work for other companies, they're in control of your take-home pay. Self-employment removes those income ceilings and puts you in charge of your worth and overall earning potential.

Self-employment could also be an ideal fit if you want more control over your work environment. This could mean you're already home when your kids get back from school or that you can simply enjoy the breeze on your balcony while working. If becoming self-employed can help alleviate a family concern or put you in an environment where you're more productive overall, it might be a solid career choice.

Trade-Offs in Self-Employment

While there are undoubtedly advantages and opportunities in self-employment, there are some trade-offs to be made as well.

First, personal accountability for your time and income becomes paramount. When self-employed, you're the only one who has a say in when you need to work and how much you should get paid for that work. If discipline with your time isn't your strong suit, self-employment might not be the best option for your long-term career path.

Financial stability also plays a major role. Self-employment rarely begins with regular paychecks, and your month-to-month income will most likely fluctuate. You'll need to carefully consider your financial needs and budgeting plan. If you're not comfortable with ebbs and flows in your finances and are unable to adjust your lifestyle to accommodate the slower times, being an employee may offer the level of regularity and security you prefer.

Finally, there's the matter of benefits. When working for a larger company, employees enjoy certain perks like health insurance, an established payroll with regular paychecks, and paid time off. Self-employed folks have to bear the burden of all of those, and there's a learning curve as you become your own expert in everything from marketing to accounting. If you're more interested in only doing what you do well and leaving the other "business" of running a business for others, it may prove a better path to be an employee.

Choose Your Adventure

As you continue to ponder the "should I be self-employed?" question, don't forget that this isn't a query that everyone answers the same way. Instead, it's a matter of what the best fit is for your lifestyle, business acumen, and overall vision for how you earn a living and spend your days.

Whatever your answer, seek a career path that will lead to continued discoveries, new adventures, and new possibilities. If you change your mind, the other path is always a possibility for the future.

This information and recommendations contained herein is compiled from sources deemed reliable, but is not represented to be accurate or complete. In providing this information, neither KeyBank nor its affiliates are acting as your agent or is offering any tax, accounting, or legal advice.

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