By: Laura Gayle
No more strict hours or stuffy business attire: You are your own boss and can adhere to any schedule and dress code you want. Creating your own company and working alone certainly has some enticing perks, but there are also some risks. Pay can fluctuate, and taxes become more complex. Often even the lack of company-backed benefits can seem too daunting for many women to strike out on their own. With careful planning and strict budgeting, though, many women are able to take on the solopreneur life and happily live out their dreams.
I Think I’m Alone Now…
It can be fun working alone for the first week, maybe even the first month, but eventually the loneliness may start to set in. Not having a co-worker to break up the monotony of the day can be difficult. It helps to have friends at work to discuss ideas, share successes, or even just commiserate about life.
Working alone can be lonely at times, but there are ways to help keep you connected. Keep your existing friendships strong and rely on them to help keep your day moving. Branch out and meet new people, maybe even other women who work alone and understand what you’re going through. If it’s possible in your home, having a pet can help keep the loneliness at bay; a furry friend is still someone to pass the time with.
When you first start out, it might seem that all of your money is going out, with very little return. But if you believe you have a good service or product and believe in what you are doing, this will eventually change.
When money does come in, though, it may not be steady, and your financial picture might look like feast or famine. Expect large sums to come all at once for a big order, and then a meager trickling of income at other times. It can be hard to maintain your normal lifestyle with an unpredictable paycheck.
This is when your saving and budgeting savvy needs to go into overdrive. Always stick to a budget and make sure you have enough in savings to get you through the slower times. Early on in your company’s life, try to avoid large personal purchases, if possible, to maintain your savings safety net.
Missing Those Big Corporate Benefits
One of the perks of working for a big corporation is that the company helps to fund employee benefits. Whether it’s healthcare coverage, a short-term disability program, or company-funded retirement plan, benefits offered by big corporations can really add up. When you’re working as a solopreneur, suddenly you’re responsible for footing the bill — and costs can stack up quickly.
Shop around for the best health insurance package that suits your needs. Healthcare companies are incredibly competitive and want to work with you in finding the right coverage. Start your own IRA or 401K to help set aside retirement funds on your own. You may not get the benefit of a company match, but at least you’ll have the beginnings of a nest egg for retirement.
Keeper of Secrets
Your entire business plan is at your own fingertips, which is both exciting and terrifying. Be sure to keep your company's secrets, documentation, and precious client information both safe and accessible. Utilizing cloud storage is the perfect way to have documents available at a moment's notice, but also keep them safe from prying eyes. Cloud storage can be accessed from almost anywhere in the world with just a simple internet connection.
Relocating Your Office
Working for yourself, you have the luxury of setting up your new office anywhere in the world. You are no longer tied to a corporate office that must stay within your 30-minute commute time. Select your new city carefully, as it could offer some major benefits to your company and your bottom line. Some up-and-coming cities, like Kansas City, for example, boast short commute times coupled with low monthly rent. This combination represents a desirable climate for many first-time business owners.
High Startup Costs
You've laid the groundwork and have a solid plan for executing your own startup. You know how much initial costs will be, down to the penny. Good for you! Unfortunately, starting and owning your company can come with some hidden expenses that can drive the cost of starting your own company even higher.
Simple things like having a desk big enough to spread out your work or finding tech help when your computer crashes can cost you a hefty and surprising chunk. Be sure to maintain a cushion to pay for such unexpected expenses, and remember to keep all your receipts for possible tax deductions at the end of the year.
Yes, starting a business is expensive, with hefty overhead costs. Luckily, a good portion of what you spend on your business may be tax-deductible. The federal tax code allows numerous deductions that people starting their own business or working from home are entitled to take. Furniture, office supplies, computers, or communication services, like the monthly costs of phone and internet, can ultimately be deducted. Calculating tax deductions for your end-of-year return can be complicated, though, so it’s best to use an online service to keep you organized. Tax calculators can help give you an idea of what is and isn’t deductible, and can help you predict what your year-end payment (or refund) might be.
Laura Gayle is a full-time blogger who has ghostwritten more than 350 articles for major software companies, tech startups, and online retailers. Founder of the Business Woman Guide, she created her site to be a trusted resource for women trying to start or grow businesses on their own terms. She has written about everything from crowdfunding and inventory management to product launches, cybersecurity trends, web analytics, and innovations in digital marketing.