Benefits of being an entrepreneur

A new challenge, control over your own working hours, and no longer having to deal with a boss. According to a study by Statistics Netherlands, these are the three main reasons for becoming self-employed. Still not sure whether starting your own business is for you? Here are 9 benefits of being an entrepreneur - maybe they can convince you. 

In one of our previous articles, we explained why running your own business is not for everyone (in Dutch). But while the challenges involved might keep some people up at night, they can be a dream scenario for someone blessed with entrepreneurial spirit (CBS, in Dutch).  

1. Your own boss  

When you run your own business, you have no-one above you. You are your own boss. If you are a bit of a know-it-all and prefer doing things your way, running your own business might be ideal. If you are tired of working for a company that refuses to do something with your input, entrepreneurship can be a major relief. You will never have to wait for your manager’s approval to start putting your latest genius idea into practice again. If your profession is bound by lots of rules and regulations, starting your own business in a field that offers more freedom can also be a welcome change.  

2. Manage your own time  

No one to stop you from going to the gym, going out for a run or catching an episode of your favourite show between two appointments: entrepreneurs are free to manage their time as they see fit. If done right, this can pave the way for a better work-life balance, provided you actually manage to strike a balance. For the best results, you will have to plan your days effectively and work when you are at your most focused and productive. While you are working, try to be as efficient as possible and avoid potentially distracting apps, emails and social media to get as much done as possible and have enough time to do the things you love.  

3. More job satisfaction  

Self-employed professionals experience more job satisfaction (CBS, in Dutch). Research (WRR, in Dutch) into job satisfaction has revealed autonomy to be a key ingredient: people with more freedom are happier with their jobs. Apart from the freedom to manage your own time, autonomy also means the freedom to choose how and where you want to work. Entrepreneurs have plenty of autonomy, and although you still have to abide by the law and honour your agreements, you get to determine your own working conditions.  

4. Work wherever you want  

Entrepreneurs can generally choose to work wherever they want: at a client's house, at home or even at your favourite coffee shop. Many self-employed professionals also choose to rent an office in a business building (in Dutch) or regularly book flexible workspace. Depending on your field, to-do list or mood, you get to choose the most suitable workplace for you (in Dutch).  Maybe you need a permanent place for your work and you cannot just open your laptop anywhere. But even then, you can decide which premises best suit your ideas and preferences.

5. Save time  

On average, Dutch people face a commute of approximately 22 kilometres (CBS, in Dutch). By car - without traffic jams - that easily takes 40 minutes a day. If you are your own boss, you can choose to work from home or drive to your customers outside rush hour to avoid traffic jams. The time you save can then be re-invested in your business or put towards a better work-life balance.  

For entrepreneurs, the tax authorities also count travel time as working time, which is useful to know if you want to determine whether you meet the hours criterion to qualify for the entrepreneurs’ allowance.  

6. Earn more  

Simply put: cutting out middlemen like employers or employment agencies will increase your earnings. You can also aim to work as efficiently as possible and make the most of every hour you spend working. For some professions, such as the IT industry (RTL Nieuws, in Dutch), the freelance rates are much higher than the salaries paid to employees.  

Important: the higher rates may look appealing, but it is important to remember that they are not your net profits. You will have to put a good chunk of your earnings aside to pay your taxes, for example. Also, entrepreneurs have to build up a pension themselves. If you are employed, your employer will often pay part of your pension contribution, while entrepreneurs have to pay for their entire pension themselves. You will also face entrepreneurial risks like incapacity for work or slower periods without much work. To protect yourself against these risks, you can take out insurance or save up money for a buffer.  

7. Personal development  

Starting your own business will also kick-start your personal development and help you discover new talents. Perhaps you were a marketing whiz all along. Or you discover a deep love for getting your financial records right down to the last detail. Entrepreneurs have to be able to stand up for themselves and negotiate. You will also train your discipline, because distractions will become even more difficult to resist when you are in control of your own time.  

8. Variety  

As an entrepreneur, you are in control of what you do. You can outsource tasks (in Dutch), of course, but you still get to decide. Everything you particularly enjoy doing or excel at you can do yourself, while you can outsource to others tasks that you are not good at or that take too much time. You could consider getting an accountant for your financial records, for instance, or a virtual assistant to answer emails and handle your customer service.  

Your work can be as varied as you want it to be. Self-employed landscapers, for example, will not spend every day getting their hands dirty: they also have to update their website and social media while striking deals for supplies. What is more, jobs can vary: one day you will find yourself digging a new pond, while you will build a pergola or draw up a detailed garden plan the next day.  

9. Get creative  

To run your own business, you have to be creative. Regardless of whether you are innately creative or not, being an entrepreneur will stimulate your creativity and problem-solving abilities. How do you cope when you find yourself inundated by more work than you can handle on your own? Or if your product or service is not as in-demand as you thought it would be? These are the challenges that entrepreneurs face. If you cannot find enough customers as is, you will have to try a new approach, and when the market changes, you will have to adapt your strategy.