The jump from employment to self-employed

Overtime, stress, resignations, disappearances and money

Being full time employed isn’t all bad. You meet great people, you get to achieve things in a team and you all complain about the same things – hard work, low pay and working in a cubicle that has no windows. 

We get to encourage ourselves and others on the journey where some disappear overnight from the corporate family, some die from anxiety attacks and others are deemed not good enough (followed by sudden employee disappearances).

This – all in a day’s work.  

Okay, but seriously now. 

Many people want to make the jump from employment to self employment. 

And I recently did. 

In this article, I want to talk about why, how and what.

It’s not about making full-time employment sound evil, but I do think we need to realise that there are other options.

Why are you doing this?

Martin Luther King famously said “I have a plan!” – or was it a dream? 

People buy into the dreams and visions of others – both people and corporates. If the dream is big enough and resonates with them, they will be willing to sacrifice anything to achieve the goals of the organization, company or institution.

In a corporate setting, we add KPI’s (Key performance indicators) to align the people with the goals of the company. It also allows individuals to focus on one thing, and become really good at it. 

Sadly, this is also the perfect breeding ground for a few issues:

  • Becoming unemployable – many people focus on one thing. I always use the example of a feet animator at Pixar (yes, animating cartoon feet). They’re excellent at what they do, but due to the high salary demand and specialisation, they cannot find other job.
  • Money – Many people do the normal thing. They make debt, and then need to work extra hard to pay off debts: only to need the latest car again to uphold their image. 
  • Mental health – Most corporate culture is about blaming others so that you look good. It’s also convenient to tell you once a year how terrible you are – just before bonus time. 
  •     The fallacy of KPIs – For most companies, KPIs are not there to develop you – they are there to deduct from your bonus and increases. It’s a way for the company to get rid of you and save them money. 

So why did I leave?

Though I have a list as long as my arm, it boils down to two things:

  • I am a self-employed person stuck in the body of an employee
  • I want more control over my life. 

What type of person are you?

Though I don’t believe everyone should become an employee, in the same sense not everyone should be self employed. 

I do, however want to make mention that many people who should be self employed are not self employed, because of fear and regret.

Regret and fear are twin thieves who rob us of today

– R Hastings 

I like using Rober Kiyosaki’s cashflow quadrant to explain where people fit in: Employee, Business owner, self employed or investor. Note that you can fit into more than one!

An employee is someone who works for a boss. They have set hours, a salary and (sometimes) benefits.

Being self employed means when you work, you get money. If you don’t work, you don’t get money. 

Business owners (or big businesses) are people that own a business. They don’t have to work, and get money in from the businesses. 

Investors invest money into businesses, the stock market and other things and get money. These can include stocks (with dividends), passive income from property (if you don’t self manage) and royalties. 

The world outside employment

I am a self employed person in the body of an employee – and I jumped, because I had to embrace who I want to become, and where I want to be in 10 years. 

I do understand that it’s not an easy world. 

Getting a loan is difficult. 

Getting home loans can be almost impossible.

Do I think that it can be worth it that the money you earn is yours to keep? 


Where do you want to be?

Take some time to think about where you want to be. 

Think about what you need to do to get where you want to be. 

I encourage people to chase their dreams. 

If people don’t then they will die with fear and regret. 

Plan for your future

For me, personally, I planned my resignation for a year. The planning included:

  • Self knowledge
  • Mission and vision 
  • Strategic positioning
  • Learning of the needed skills
  • Finding clients to sustain me
  • Drinking coffee with loads of people. 


If you’re not planning to work for yourself – that’s okay. 

It really is. 

I do encourage you to start investing. Investing will help you to retire without stress, anxiety and stretching your retirement age to 164.

If you’re thinking of jumping and being self employed, then plan carefully and move towards your goals.

Happy investing!

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This Post Has 9 Comments

  1. Sweet

    “For most companies, KPIs are not there to develop you – they are there
    to deduct from your bonus and increases. It’s a way for the company to
    get rid of you and save them money.” This is so true!!

    Good on you for having the courage to leave your job to pursue your own interests. I’m planning to take the leap soon, it scares and excites me at the same time. That’s how I know it’s going to challenge me to do my best work 🙂

    1. frugallocal

      Thank you and good luck on your jump. All I can say is:

  2. Rameez Khan

    Good luck Frugal. Wish you nothing but the best. 🙂

    1. frugallocal

      Thanks so much Rameez!

  3. Johannes van der Spuy

    Hey Frugal! I recently came across your blog and I am enjoying it! i can really relate to a “self employed person stuck in the body of an employee”. But I am also not much of a risk taker, so i try to do things slowly and sustainably. My target is to make the jump before the 10th of July 2022!

    1. frugallocal

      Do it! Make sure you plan well though. I spent a long time planning and saving for this. 😉

      1. Johannes van der Spuy

        As you are some steps ahead of me, whats the best planning advice you can give? Or maybe you have a blog post or will have a blog post? 😉 Thanks for time!

        1. frugallocal

          I am writing some posts that will be coming soon, but here are some of my tips:
          1. Plan what you want to do. Start with the Why.
          2. Make sure it’s sizable and people are willing to pay for it
          3. Start positioning yourself for where you want to be – find clients
          4. Plan financially – have a minimum of a year’s expenses available
          5. Service clients while you are still working.

          It’s not always working to do 2-3 jobs at the same time. Ask me – I am suffering this month with my notice period.

          But my clients are really awesome.

          1. Johannes van der Spuy

            Thanks! awesome advice!

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