Going down the path of self-employment is risky and rewarding at the same time. It is risky because a single mistake can wreak havoc enough to hurt your current and future finances. It is rewarding because you make money on your terms, you are the boss, and you have more freedom.
Understanding the ins and out of self-employment can help you prepare for all aspects of entrepreneurship in order to avoid the unpleasant surprises down the road. But how do you go about preparing for this journey? Below is everything you need to know to go down the path of self-employment.
Make a decision
The reason you are not your own boss is that you are yet to make a decision. There is no two way about; you have to decide to go down the path of self-employment to get started. It is that decision that will prepare, propel, and keep you focused. Nobody else can make that decision, only you.
Choose a specific niche
What will your area of focus be? What expertise do you have about that niche? What will you offer? These are some of the questions you must ask yourself when choosing a niche. Picking the right niche increases the chances of your hustle booming and rewarding you in many ways. If you want to start an alarm and security company, you might want to focus on commercial or residential, and type of buildings such as single family home, condo, etc. The more specific your niche is the more of an expert you can be.
Be specific about your target market
Who do you want to serve with your products and services? Knowing your target customers is very crucial, as this helps in tailoring your products and services to suit them. Many successful self-employed people can tell you the value of knowing who your customers are. So make sure to research well about your prospects before getting started.
Set your goals
To remain focused, you need to define your goals. Your goals will not only help you monitor your progress but also motivate you to keep pressing harder every day. Additionally, when you are sure of where you want to be, it will be easier for you to get your hustle off the ground, get financing in place beforehand, and create a business plan.
Market your business
Once up and running, you need to figure out how to get paying customers. A marketing plan will come in handy at this time. You can as well talk to your friends and family who are willing to help. Basically, with a marketing plan, getting people to know about your hustle should not be much of a problem.
Build your reputation with the best practices
To remain competitive and increase the rate of repeat business, you must work on building and maintaining a good image. You can do so by:
- Providing exemptional services and products
- Treating every customer as special
- Building a reputation for honesty and integrity
- Promising what you can deliver.
Set good boundaries
Being self-employed means committing more hours to your hustle and little to other activities. While you need more time to build your business, you also need to create time for your family, leisure, and other things that make you complete. In other words, you need to get your work-life balance right.
Never stop learning
Do you want to take your business far? Do you want to see your business grow every year? The secret is to continue learning. When you are committed to learning, it will be easier for you to manage your hustle as time goes on. Additionally, mastering new things help you adjust to changes in the market, make better decisions, and make more money. Just remember your expertise as a self-employed is more priceless. Learning helps you boost your knowledge all the time.
Benefits of being self-employed
- Freedom to decide: You are the boss. No one is above you, and that gives you the freedom to choose what to do. For example, you can decide when to work, where to work from, what to wear, and so on. You just take care of things as per your terms.
- You control your schedule: You work when you find it ok. If you decide to work overnight and sleep during the day, no one will question you. All you have to worry about is satisfying your clients. If you are employed, you will have to stick to a schedule even when you don’t feel like following it.
- You reap the profits: Irrespective of the amount you make, you keep it all to yourself. No sharing unless you decide to share.
Cons of being self-employed
- Freedom can be dangerous: While freedom is a good thing, sometimes it can be negative as well. Consider when you decide to watch your best TV shows instead of working. In such a case, your freedom is not rewarding you but just making you a lazy person.
- Your pay is irregular: Today, you get a client. Tomorrow you don’t, and it is possible to stay a week without getting another customer. That can result in irregular income, and you have to deal with that even during hard economic times.
- You manage everything: This is true when getting started. You will have to manage everything on your own. Later you can hire a few professionals to help you manage your business.
- You finance your hustle: When getting started, you must be ready to finance your business. If you are not financially stable, you will likely have a hard time getting started and running your business.
- More responsibilities: You are fully responsible for your business. While some people love it when they are fully accountable, if not prepared to handle all aspects of the hustle, it is possible to find things going south very fast.
Advice about being self-employed
Here are a few tips you will find very helpful when getting started:
- Live more efficiently: Shifting to self-employment means you must be in a position to manage your time and other resources efficiently to be successful. For example, if you don’t utilize your time well, don’t wait for good things to happen. So, make sure you know when to work, when to sleep, and when to watch your favorite TV shows. Also, know when to be with your family and when to accomplish anything else that makes you complete.
- Live more frugally: If you are sure you want to be self-employed, you must be prepared to look at situations with the total cost in mind and pick one with the best value. This does not means being a miser. It means spending more on what is more valuable. Some of the things you can do to minimize your expenses include:
- Eating at home
- Cutting on your utility bills
- Finding cheaper stuff to do
- Learn the best money management skills: To run your business well, you need to learn how to keep your own financial house in order. If you don’t, you always find it challenging to progress smoothly. In most cases, you will remain in the same position, and it is even possible for your hustle to fail if nothing is done.
- Fix your finances: Make sure to keep your personal and business finances separate. This eliminates cases why you use your business money for personal uses. Opening different checking account and getting separate business credit cards can help fix your finances.
- Save, save, & save: Once you decide to go down the path of self-employment, you must learn how to save. Saving makes sure you have cash on your hand when you need it. This means in case of an emergency you have money to at your disposal you can access.
- Communicate and network: How well you communicate and network with people close to you as well as other professionals determine the success of your hustle. So, if you have a problem with these two critical aspects, you may want to work on them. Otherwise, you will have a rough time growing your business.
- Dream big: Never stop dreaming big even when things seem not to work out. Having the big picture in your mind will propel you at the right pace and keep you focused.
- Be persistent: It is not going to be easy. Challenges will come your way often, and if not cautious, it is possible to give up. Persevering and doing the right things will help you get where you plan to be.
Does self-employment suit your life circumstances?
If you have a well-paying job, choosing to go down the self-employment path is not a good idea. With a steady paycheck, you can achieve a lot much easier, such as planning for retirement and vacations. That is not possible when self-employed considering pay is irregular. So before reaching a decision, make sure to consider your current and future goals.
Is your personality suited to self-employment?
Ok, being self-employed has many benefits. You are your own boss; you have more freedom, and you take home every dime you make. You are also fully responsible for your business, and its success is in your hands. Now, if your personality is such that dealing with the uncertainties of self-employment is an uphill task, then being self-employed is not for you.