Vision 2020: Empowered and self-employed in Canada

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Freelancers, independent contractors and gig economy workers will make up the bulk of the nation’s labour market in two years

If you’re one of those employees dreaming of becoming your own boss, you’re not alone. Intuit Canada predicts 45% of Canada’s workforce will be self-employed by 2020. This is the culmination of a joint survey with Emergent Research to identify trends in the nation’s labour market. Other interesting findings include how:

  • 47% of existing self-employed Canadians are doing it for a better work-life flexibility.
  • 44% are financially better off since becoming self-employed.
  • 41% are doing it part-time to supplement their income.

So if you feel your entrepreneurial clock ticking fiercely, here are our top tips to get things rolling and materializing into reality.

 

1. Self-employment doesn’t have to be all or nothing

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While some entrepreneurs are as certain as the sun when it comes to the exact business they want to get into, that doesn’t have to be the case for all. Not every person has a reason for wanting to be self-employed. So before you throw in your resignation notice, take the time to build your business on the side using the income from your full-time job as a safety net.

It’s also been said that passion and enthusiasm are all you need for your business to succeed. But being in love with an idea and running a profitable or successful business are not mutually exclusive. At the heart of the entrepreneurial spirit is an innovator who can leverage passion to provide a solution for a market need.

 

2. Know your local laws

Every province in Canada has local jurisdiction in the legal structure governing the operation of a business. There can also be federal or municipal implications depending on the type of business and whether it’s a sole proprietorship or if commissions are involved, just to name a few.

Planning to do business under a different name than your own? Then different rules will apply on top of existing regulations. There are also additional permit and license requirements at different levels of the legislation.

 

3. Manage your expectations

The work-life flexibility that comes with self-employment is revealed to be of great importance, but it’s one that comes with sacrifices. Among the benefits that will most likely be missing as you become self-employed are:

  • Paid insurance.
  • Company match on your pension plan or Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP).
  • Paid vacation time and vacation pay or holiday pay.

Time not working is often time not earning. This is probably why small business owners generally work over 50 hours per week. Being self-employed also means you are a one-person show, having to do everything from marketing to fiscal planning and sales.

It can be a lonely journey where burnout and discouragement are common. So be sure to have a support or resource group you can turn to, through like-minded local or national organizations like Small Business Association Canada, Canadian Association of Women Executives & Entrepreneurs (CAWEE) or Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB).

 

Help is already available

Over a quarter (29%) of self-employed Canadians are also still keeping track of their finances on paper, so perhaps it’s not surprising that financial challenges rank at the top for this workforce. Tools like the QuickBooks mobile app can help the nation’s freelancers stay on top of their business finances.

TSheets also found that while businesses track time against specific tasks, customers or clients, projects, mileage and even equipment, 58% are still using manual tracking processes, leaving a lot of room for human error. Whether your business charges by the hour or on a flat rate, not having accurate data to your cost means not having a pulse on your bottom line, and that’s just bad business.

Starting your own business will not be easy. But so many have come before you and succeeded. Ultimately, only you can make your self-employment dream a reality, and nothing is set in stone.


 

Imagine billing up to 11% more just by tracking second worked.*
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*Based on a survey of 924 businesses that use TSheets for invoicing and report billing more.
On average, they report adding 11% more billable time to their invoices.
An internal survey was conducted by TSheets in January 2018.