Full-time or part-time? Whichever, so long as you’re self-employed!
6 min

Full-time or part-time? Whichever, so long as you’re self-employed!

Should you jump right into the adventure of self-employment, or start out part-time? This article will help you decide.

2021 can only be better than last year, right? The perfect moment to set up your company. So, seize the opportunity and start your own business. We’re sure you’re ready. Entrepreneurship is on the rise: despite the coronavirus pandemic, 46,842 new companies were entered into the Swiss commercial register in 2020. That’s 5.3% more than in 2019, which was already a record year. According to IFJ, the marketing and communications, hairdressing, cosmetics and retail sectors saw the most new companies in 2020 (percentage increase compared with the previous year). These figures show that Switzerland is and will remain a country of founders and pioneers.

Which business model is best for you?

Contrary to widespread belief, not all self-employed people work around the clock. Of course, you’re passionately committed to your own company – but you decide on your working model and hours. After all, your self-employment, like any other job, should fit your lifestyle. Our flowchart will help you figure out whether to become a full-time founder or go self-employed part-time. So (hopefully) nothing else will stand in the way of your new company. 2021 is your year! What’s stopping you?

Get your result in just a few steps

Please note: you have to do some maths with this flowchart. Note the number of points you get for each step (highlighted in blue) on a sheet of paper or your phone’s calculator. Otherwise, the flowchart works like any other: start with the first question at the top and choose the answer that best suits you. The flowchart will guide you from question to question. At the end, add up your points to get your result. Let’s go!

Decision Tree Self-Employment

Read about the opportunities and challenges offered by full-time self-employment and part-time self-employment.

Ready for full-time self-employment

Are you ready to focus entirely on setting up your own business? The benefits of full-time self-employment are obvious.

Opportunities with full-time self-employment

  1. Get started more quickly: You can devote all your time, concentration and motivation to your business. This can be an advantage if you need to prioritise meetings with clients – and if multitasking isn’t one of your strengths.
  2. Enjoy life as a digital nomad or a night owl: With full-time self-employment, you are your own boss and can usually decide when and where you work.
  3. You’re ready for major projects: Full-time self-employment gives you the ability to manage urgent orders, whereas part-time self-employment may mean missing out on them due to a lack of capacity.
  4. You’re living your professional dreams: With self-employment, you’re doing a fulfilling and authentic job that you can shape yourself. Around the (working) clock.

There are no advantages without corresponding disadvantages – it’s just how things are.

Challenges of full-time self-employment

  1. Think about ongoing costs when budgeting: If self-employment is your main source of income, you will bear all social security costs (OASI/IV/LEC/accident) on your own.
  2. Success requires more than a good business plan: It can take some time for your business to get in the black. In the best-case scenario, you’ll have enough start-up capital to get you through the start-up phase – or a good network and contacts with potential clients, enabling you to earn money quickly.
  3. Work-life balance is a challenge: As a start-up founder, you will most likely work more than a regular employee. Will family, friends and hobbies fall by the wayside?
  4. Setting up and running a company means a lot of admin: Are you up to this administrative challenge? It’s best to consult a start-up advisor at an early stage in order to acquire expertise in areas such as legal structures, accounting and VAT liability (from an annual revenue of CHF 100,000). Many founders underestimate the administrative burden.

Silvia Nadenbousch, LARS Brillen

ʻAs a self-employed person, I feel freer than I did back in my corporate job. If the sun is shining during the week, I’ll take some time off and get on my racing bike. I can catch up on my work on a rainy Saturday. My business partner and I agree that we want to succeed in the long term and not burn out. But we’re also happy to pull the occasional all-nighter if necessary.ʼ

Silvia Nadenbousch, self-employed full-time at LARS Brillen since the summer of 2020.

Ready for part-time self-employment

You’re on the way to becoming self-employed alongside your job – how exciting!
Setting up a part-time business has many advantages.

Opportunities with part-time self-employment

  1. Your living costs are covered: Thanks to the income from your regular job, the risk of failure due to financial causes is much lower than for the full-time self-employed. Banks will also consider you more creditworthy and you’ll be less dependent on individual clients.
  2. Give your idea a test run: With part-time self-employment, you are under less time pressure. You can set up a network and a customer base, and test and market your products or services in peace.
  3. Rookie errors are more excusable: Every founder makes mistakes. When you’re not working on your start-up full-time, these usually won’t be fatal. This enables you to gain experience, which you can then use if you move into full-time self-employment later on.
  4. Bring variety to your day-to-day work: Two jobs often offer more variety than one – especially if they involve different activities.

Part-time self-employment brings together the best of both worlds. But this model also has its pitfalls.

Challenges of part-time self-employment

  1. Your employer has to play ball: You should check your employment contract and talk to your boss before founding your start-up. Often, you’ll have to register your part-time work or have it approved. Your new business is also not allowed to compete with your employer.
  2. Perseverance and patience: Meeting the obligations of both jobs can be a challenge. You shouldn’t underestimate this double burden.
  3. Your idea might fizzle out: You’ll have limited time to dedicate to your business and clients. As your regular job pays you more money, it usually has to come first.
  4. Giving 200%: Your self-employment can’t diminish your performance in your main job. You don’t want to jeopardize your main source of income.

Amira Mörig, Amira Bio Cosmetics

ʻI’m in part-time self-employment because my financial security is important to me. From Saturday to Monday, I work for Amira Bio Cosmetics. The rest of the working week is dedicated to my main job. I want to give my business time to grow, but I hope that it will lead to full-time self-employment within the next two years.ʼ

Amira Mörig, who has been self-employed with Amira Bio Cosmetics since May 2020 and founder via startups.ch.

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Swisscom StartUp Beratung

Are you ready to embark on your self-employment adventure? We’re here to help you. You can find more information about our start-up products here.

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