If you have never ventured into the world of business ownership before, you may be wondering how different it will be from being employed by someone else.

We put together some details on how owning your own business can be a different experience from being someone else’s employee.


No matter how adaptable your employer is, it’s hard to beat the flexibility of running your own business. Particularly if you work remotely, many small business owners can set their own hours and place of work, and can even start a side hustle without giving up another job. However, if you don’t have a lot of self-discipline or need plenty of structure to be at your best, the flexible nature of self-employment may backfire and you won’t achieve what you need to.

In order to create some structure for your business that lets you plan your time effectively, you should develop and update your business plan to prioritise your efforts, and make sure you are working on your business, not just in it to keep moving forward.

Earning potential

Self-employed people can often command a higher hourly rate than employees doing equivalent work. On the flip side, employees can rely on consistent hours, paid personal and holiday leave, as well as super — all taken care of by their employer.

If you need to generate your own work, you may face not bringing in enough in a quiet period to break even, however there are also far fewer limits to how much you can earn if things go well.

The first steps to ensuring you do earn enough to make small business ownership financially worthwhile are understanding your finances and getting familiar with financial planning documents, as well as figuring out how much you should be charging if you are working on an hourly rate.


As a business owner, you are responsible for all the decisions (which can be great) but also the outcomes, which may not always work out as you planned.

If you don’t want to or can’t do all the tasks that you are responsible for in your business, like planning your marketing approach or bookkeeping, consider if you can outsource some of the responsibility to a specialist provider. Managing your time effectively may mean delegating responsibility so you can concentrate on tasks that generate revenue.

Read our tips on how to pick the best accountant, lawyer, website professional or other suppliers to help in your business.

Personal fulfilment

Many entrepreneurs can start their business with a bright-eyed optimism about how fulfilling it will be, only to be faced with the reality of never truly switching off or even suffering from burnout. However, when things go right, including when your achievements are recognised through initiatives like business awards, there’s nothing quite like knowing you are responsible for creating your own success.

Read some of our small business stories for inspiration from local small business owners who have overcome obstacles to achieve great outcomes in their businesses.

Career development

As a small business owner, you are responsible for your own development and it’s rare for anyone else to fund you to go on courses. However, focusing on lifelong learning is one of the most important things to make time for, to ensure you can adapt to a changing business environment.

Take advantage of the many free and low cost learning opportunities available, including the Small Business Development Corporation’s affordable business skills workshops to keep you and your business ahead of your competitors.

Are you ready to take the next step?

If you’re ready to begin your business or side-hustle journey, turn to us at the SBDC for free support and resources to help you get started. These include our:

Starting and growing
12 January 2022