How to Become Self Employed (And When to Do It)
This is a guest post by Aimee Sway. Self employment isn’t a cakewalk and anyone who tells you otherwise is probably only out to take your money.
That said, I feel there are a ton of rewards that more than make up for all the not so easy stuff. But it’s hard to make that initial decision of “should you or shouldn’t you” sometimes. Hopefully Aimee’s thoughts on self employment can help you make the right one.
Self employment is a dream for many of us who have worked the regular 9 to 5. For some, the ability to go out on our own to seek our fortune comes naturally.
For others, it is a bit more of a push to take that first step, and more so to keep moving day by day. But whatever side you are coming from, you can be sure that the benefits will almost always outweigh the risk.
That is because when you become self employed, you are becoming your own boss in a niche you are passionate about, with unlimited potential.
That isn’t to say that it will be easy, far from it. There will be a lot of hard hours, frustrations and mistakes. Sometimes you might find yourself set back a step or two, and sometimes more like ten. But if you know how to learn from those errors and keep pressing until you move ahead, you will be uniquely placed to make it in your company, however big or small.
But how do you know how to get started, or even if you are the type of person who can make it on your own? You might be wondering how big the risks really are, or if the time is right. You might even be worried that your idea isn’t a viable one, and that you will be sticking your neck out on nothing more than a scheme. These are all valid fears, and so we will address each one.
Am I Right For Self Employment?
There is no specific formula that makes up a good small business owner. There seems to be a myth that some special qualities exist, as though self employment is Excalibur stuck in the stone, and only one who is pure of heart (or extra business savvy) can yank it out. But it doesn’t work that way. If you have some kind of talent or expertise, whether it be sales, an invented product or creative faculties, you have your niche. Even a firm desire is enough to get you on your way.
You may also think a business degree is necessary. There is no doubt that it can really help to have a firm knowledge of economics and small business, even marketing and management. But for the most part, even with those degrees you would be learning as you go. There is nothing stopping you from keeping things small, maybe even working as a contractor, and then hiring work out when you need to.
So, to answer the question of whether or not you are right for self employment, you have to ask yourself a few questions:
- Am I able to get organized and keep myself on schedule?
- Can I get things done without answering to someone else?
- Is this something I am ready to dedicate myself to?
- Do I really want this?
It may seem too simple, but really all you need to become self employed is an idea, and a firm desire and willingness to put in all the work necessary to make it happen.
Is It The Right Time?
There is never a right or wrong time to jump into this. I was down on my luck when I started. I had been laid off from a job I couldn’t stand, and I didn’t know what to do. Bills were coming in, and I was running out of savings fast. It didn’t help that the only thing I had ever wanted to do was write, which isn’t well known for drawing in the big bucks right away. But I knew I had to do something, and so I set out to find a way to make money doing it. Years later and I am still working as a writer, and I make enough to take care of my family. I made it work for me at a time when I needed it.
I’m not saying to quit your day job and jump in feet first on a whim. But if you are asking yourself if it is the right time, it is probably at least the moment to start the ground work and move toward that goal. If you start out slowly, maybe by generating the data on your product, opening an online store or working part time, you will minimize the risk. You might be overworked, but you can give yourself a cushion to land on when you decide to take the full leap.
Is My Idea Worth It?
Only you can know that. But finding out the current trends and demand can help you figure it out. If it is a well-used product, you have to make sure the market isn’t so bloated that you won’t be able to find yourself a spot. If it is a specialty product, you have to see if there is a real consumer base. Either way, if you can find something special that you can offer that is different, better or both than the competition, you have something worth jumping into.
Even if you have established a service that will make you one of the pack, you will probably be OK if the trade is a necessity. For example, there are sure to be dozens of plumbers in your city. But if you are considering opening up your own company it won’t matter how saturated the market is; everyone needs a plumber sometimes.
The Pros of Self Employment
The pros of becoming self employed are pretty obvious: you are your own boss, you get to set your own hours, you don’t have to bow to the politics so prevalent in the workplace, and you can often make better money once you are established than the usual set pay. These stack up against the cons: no steady paycheck, higher risk, lack of interaction with coworkers, and you pay your own costs at full price.
But I know that I myself have never regretted becoming self employed, and neither have any of my contacts that did the same thing. If you feel you are in a position to take that step, then I would recommend you take it. Isn’t it everyone’s dream to have their own business?
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