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Has anyone gone back into employment after being self-employed?

(12 Posts)
joshandjamie Tue 27-Sep-11 14:23:53

I have run my own business for the last five years. I've now sold it and am trying to figure out what to do next.

Working for myself:
Pros - It was massively flexible (off most holidays, worked school hours only), I earned a good enough wage (far more than I ever would working part time for someone else) and I could be my own boss without having to take crap from someone else.

Cons - it was lonely, I felt that my brain/skills were shrinking as I wasn't exposed to lots of different people and their ideas or got the benefit of company training, the always on mentally that you have when you run your own business

I've spent a good amount of time looking at various options including going back to work for someone else, but am worried that having been my own boss, I'll find it seriously stifling now.

Has anyone done this? Good experience or bad?

TalkinPeace2 Tue 27-Sep-11 19:44:52

I work one afternoon a week in an office for somebody else
that's quite enough for me!

lubeybooby Tue 27-Sep-11 19:47:00

I've considered this due to the loneliness. I still have my business but I'm looking for something for just one or two days a week - very flexible so it should be possible.

venusandmars Wed 28-Sep-11 10:56:45

I've been self-employed for 9 years, and I always had in the back of my mind that I could return to employed work if I needed to. Last year I had a 6 month contract which felt like an employed job (same place of work every day, much less freedom to choose my own hours, an allocated desk space in an open-plan office). I hated it, and I have realised that I would find it very, very difficult to return to an employed role.

I get my 'other-people' fix from voluntary work, and also from developing contacts with other people in related businesses.

joshandjamie Wed 28-Sep-11 11:33:13

You see venusandmars - I reckon that's how I'd find it. Having the freedom to work when you like is lovely.

TalkinPeace2 Wed 28-Sep-11 13:36:19

Full time work has no appeal
(I've been free range for 13 years)
but half a day a week here
and the odd really busy month there
reminds me just enough of office politics to be happy back in my cave in between

venusandmars Wed 28-Sep-11 18:25:56

What prompted you to sell your business? And more importantly what really motivates you now? What would make you want to get out of bed in morning and get going? If there is an employed role that would do that, then why not consider it seriously, or even give it a try. Taking on a short maternity cover, for example, might give you an idea about whether being back in the employed world would work for you.

Doing that contract for 6 months vertainly made me appreciate the genuine delights of self-employment (or talkinpeace's great phrase of 'free-range') - being able to juggle the washing machine and my work; being at my desk 3 minutes after leaving my bed; not having to type with my fingers in my ears to avoid hearing my colleagues moan about their lot; the very direct relationship between working and earning money; being able to subtly alter career direction in the way that I want to rather than being dictated to by politics or the government or the organisation...... oh I could go on endlessly.

joshandjamie Wed 28-Sep-11 20:09:23

I sold because I got bored of doing what I was doing and I'd like to change career. My challenge is I don't know what I'd like to do. And I think if I want to get a job with a company I'm going to have to start at the bottom in a new direction - and that will mean working long hours for little money. Not hugely incentivising.

I am considering buying a franchise (again not sure which one) or trying to come up with a brainwave for a new biz. I'd really like to work with someone/partner this time though so it doesn't feel quite so solitary

venusandmars Wed 28-Sep-11 21:47:08

OK, so doing a very quick analysis of what you've said here: you've set up your own business, been pretty successful and within 5 years you've got a bit bored and want to move on; you don't want to go into a job where you start at the bottom and work your way up; you probably want to set up something new (either franchise or on your own)...

All that sounds very much like a classic entreprenuer, someone who sees the opportunity, who sees the possibilities and the big picture, but also someone who gets a bit bored with detail and mundane work (even if you can actually do it quite well).

None of that sounds like the ideal employee (for most organisations).

But you should also think very carefully about working with a partner. The ideal person business-wise would probably be someone who is detail conscious, conservative, planned, risk averse. But that might frustrate the hell out of you. The kind of person you'd love to work with would be similarly bright, enthusuastic, motived, energetic.... but you may run the risk of never getting anything finished, and your dreams may be bigger than the reality...

My own experience of working with 'associates' / 'partners' has been that it works well in a loose arrangement, but not in a tightly defined structure. For example, I have one colleague with whom I have a LLP, but we do very little work in that arrangement, and we actually do more work together either through my own Ltd co, or hers. Maybe because in each of the ltd co's the primary relationship is well defined, whereas in the LLP it is more organic and unclear.

joshandjamie Thu 29-Sep-11 06:28:28

Thanks for the the analysis venusandmars - you are right. Gosh I just wish I knew what to do. Argh! So hard to change sectors/careers when you've been doing the same thing for 18 years

Tee2072 Thu 29-Sep-11 07:10:06

The one day a month I spend at one of my client's office is more than enough to tell me I don't ever want to work for someone else again!

sinclair Tue 04-Oct-11 11:43:09

Marking my place. Like OP have had own business or 5 years now and loved the flexibility around the children that it has given me. Never made much money and in my heart of hearts know that my profile is too team player / extrovert to take it for ever - but whilst kids were at primary it has been a brilliant lifestyle choice and we have had some amazing holidays because I have taken off as much time as I want.

But with one in secondary and one Y5 I am forced to think on - there just isn't the need to drop everything to run a cake stall or attend the afternoon recorder concert (so not all bad then) as they get older so potentially I could take a job again - except I do like the hols. We have family abroad and being able to go away for three or four weeks in the summer has been amazing and a huge privilege that I can't see being replicated in the real world.

I am wondering about roles in education, couldn't teach but support staff maybe, but presume these roles are very sought after.

Ho hum

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