How Self-Employed Individuals Can Be More Sustainable

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How Self-Employed Individuals Can Be More Sustainable

Oct 28, 2021

As of 2020, nearly 30% of American workers were self-employed. There are countless benefits to being your own boss, but in a world where sustainability is becoming more of a hot topic, it’s important to make sure your business practices are protecting the planet.

Whether you work remotely or you’re just dedicated to creating a more sustainable future, there are things you can do and plan for that will really make a difference.

Self-employment can be good for your health. It can reduce stress, offer you a better work-life balance, and help you accomplish your goals. But, in a world where things like climate change and waste production are becoming more serious by the day, making sure your self-employment is beneficial to the planet should be a top priority.

Let’s look at how you can be more sustainable while achieving self-employed success.

Build a Sustainable Business
When you’re self-employed, you have to think of yourself as your own business. That requires building a plan and a strategy for growth. If you’re dedicated to sustainability, your plan should include ways to be more “green” with your business efforts.

Thankfully, building a sustainable business is easier than you might think as long as you’re willing to stick to your values.

As you start implementing your business plan, consider small things you can do that could make a big difference in the environmental impact of your work, including:

  • Attempting to accumulate zero waste
  • Carbon offsetting if you have to travel
  • Going digital instead of using paper
  • Recycling

Even if you have other people working for you, creating a culture of sustainability from the start is a great way to get everyone on board. It won’t take long before your eco-friendly efforts become second nature to you, and anyone who works for you. As your business starts to grow, your sustainability efforts could even work as a great recruitment tool.

Even if you work for yourself and don’t ever plan on hiring anyone else, having a dedicated sustainability strategy in place can help to hold you accountable and encourage you to make greener decisions as you move forward and grow.

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Make Remote Working Greener
Remote work was on the rise before the COVID-19 pandemic. But, because so many businesses required it for people’s safety, it’s now more popular than ever. So much so, that many people are choosing to remain remote, even as the pandemic is waning.

If you’re self-employed as a freelancer or you started your own business from home, you’re already one step ahead.

Remote working is inherently more sustainable than driving into a traditional office setting each day. Some of the benefits of remote work when it comes to the environment include:

  • Fewer greenhouse gas emissions
  • Reduced consumption of fossil fuels
  • Less use of commercial resources
  • Less infrastructure upkeep

But, there are still areas where it can improve, and that starts with making changes to your habits and workspace.

You can make your home office more eco-friendly by using energy-efficient digital devices, utilizing natural light, and reducing your waste. Instead of having your lunch delivered each day, make your own or meal prep at the start of the week for quick-fix lunches you can have in minutes.

You can also use less energy during your breaks throughout the day. Instead of checking your phone or browsing on the Internet, take your dog for a walk. You’ll get the mental health benefits of spending time outside and exercising, and you’ll tire your dog out so they’ll be well-behaved and calm for your next Zoom meeting.

As you enjoy the benefits of being self-employed, don’t forget to do your part for the planet. It deserves to benefit, too. Keep these sustainability tips in mind, and you’ll have peace of mind knowing you’re doing something positive for the future throughout the workday.

Meet The Author:


Luke Smith

Luke Smith is a writer and researcher turned blogger.


The opinions expressed in our published works are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the National Association for the Self-Employed or its members.

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