Does The Month Of January Hurt The Self Employed?
The festivities are over and the New Year is upon us. For majority of people, this means a lighter wallet with bills still to be paid not to mention the January school fees staring them in the face. Those who count themselves as employees have the option of holding on until payday. However, for the self-employed, this may not be an option.
According to Caroline Wanjiku, a self-employed Interior Designer working in Nairobi, January does hurt the self-employed. The main reason she gave for this is that in December, business slows down and on top that, people don’t pay for services rendered.
This is a situation shared by other self-employed entrepreneurs most of whom rarely break from work for more than a day or two during the festive month. January is therefore a difficult month for them as they need to find a way to survive without payments for work done in December and sometimes even in January with some only receiving their pay in February.
A small group of self-employed entrepreneurs have a different experience of January. These are the ones who deal in anything to do with the back-to-school craze that hits the country during this month. Whether they deal in school uniforms, school books or are part of the transport industry involved in ferrying thousands of pupils to their places of learning; they make a killing.
Other self-employed business owners take advantage of the slow business period in January to improve themselves and their business. This can involve going over their costs to find ways to save money for example, finding a cheaper supplier for copy paper. Others take short courses to help them with their business while others use the extra time they have to network.
However, for some of the self-employed, the lure of the festive season may have been too great leading them to splurge without a thought to the bills and salaries that will still need to be paid come January.
Despite this, majority of the hustlers out there look at January as a chance for a new beginning. It is an opportunity for them to start a new chapter in their business. Whether this involves hiring more staff to meet demand, opening a new branch for their business or diversifying into a new, challenging field; the options are endless. And with the New Year just beginning, anything seems possible. For Caroline, this January will see her start to expand her business into construction.
The month of January is therefore a mixed bag for the self-employed. While some have to pinch their shillings as they chase for their December payments, others enjoy a brisk business while most look to the first month of the year as an opportunity for growth and expansion.