The 5 Biggest Traps of Self-Employment and How to Avoid Them

“Living the dream” is a flexible concept

Jack Krier
4 min readMay 29


Photo by Tamara Bellis on Unsplash

To many, starting a business and controlling your destiny is a lifelong dream.

We want flexibility, fulfillment, and a life of purpose.

Being your own boss — whether at a brick-and-mortar business or a remote online venture — sounds highly tempting.

Once you take the leap, however, you’ll quickly get to know the downsides and rabbit holes that the package of self-employment includes.

Never-ending ambitions, a lack of social acceptance, no separation between work and play, and an innate desire to feel “successful” can break any entrepreneur.

The magic word is balance. Without creating a balanced lifestyle, you’ll fall into the extreme hustle culture, paving a surefire path to burnout and eventual failure.

On this basis, here are the five biggest traps of self-employment.

The “always be productive” trap

In today’s world, “laziness” has a negative connotation, and most people perceive “busyness” in a positive light. Likewise, being productive and working hard creates surges of dopamine.

Consequently, we believe we always need to “do something” and work toward our goals.

In the words of Anne-Laure Le Cunff from Ness Labs,

“We are scared of idleness because stopping would mean having to really consider what we want out of life and what we currently have. Sometimes, the gap feels so wide, we’d rather stay on the hamster wheel.”

As such, forcing yourself to always be productive is a major trap, especially if you’re self-employed. Because once you don’t have to answer to anybody, nobody will stop you from performing mindless tasks that don’t contribute much in the long run — just to feel productive.

Here’s how to avoid the productivity trap: whenever you’re pulling off 12–15 hour shifts, ask yourself why you became self-employed in the first place.

Is your productivity obsession a short-term aspect of your long-term vision? Or, are you working hard in the name of dopamine and busyness?



Jack Krier

Writer. Photographer. Nomad. I write about entrepreneurship, remote work, and personal growth | All of my links: