I chose to self-publish because have more control over my work and more freedom in decision-making, and my work actually gets to reach an audience.
There is a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction in creating and producing something myself. I see success as being able to do what I love. But I also view what I do as a business, and one where I learn to wear many hats and gain more knowledge on what to do and how to do it. I get to do exactly what a traditional publisher does: marketing, press, production, promotion, sales etc., although on a much smaller scale. Being a self-publisher does not make you any less of an author, but you do have more control.
I also don't have to wait for someone to do something for me. I can get things moving right away and on my own timeline. I can add my works to as many online platforms: downloadable formats, etc., and create merchandise when I want to.
I also became a self-publisher because I’ve heard many writers complain that they can’t get noticed by an audience. I feel that as a writer, you may be more likely to be noticed if you establish a track record that you produced something, even if it’s self-published.
But there's something a lot of writers often forget: you have to think of yourself as a business and run yourself as a business, no matter what. You have to learn to balance both creativity and business. You have to show that you can provide a product as well. An audience wants to see a "result", and a product.
I see a lot of writers wait for someone to "pick them up" for publishing or someone to do things for them, or they never finish what they started, saying that "someday" they will be recognized, but with no further action. So even though you can say you are working on something, waiting to hopefully hear back from a publisher, or planning to write your novel "someday", it still takes action on your part to get to where you want to be. You are more likely to be taken seriously if you have produced something tangible.
It’s like walking up to an investor and saying “Can you invest in me, and in my product?” Potential investors will ask why, and if you just say “I just have this cool idea, it's in the works”, people are going to wonder if you are even serious about actually having something finished. And if all you have are ideas and you never finish anything, you will likely be turned down because they don’t see a product or its potential. You’re asking an audience to “invest”, both emotionally and monetarily, in your work, but if you don’t have anything to show other than ideas or talks of plans to get a project done, you may not get the results or success you want.
So if you want an audience to see you as an author, publish something: a blog with your work, a novel through an online publishing company, go for it.