So You’ve Just Become Self-employed: Here Are Some Tips To Help You Adjust
Whether by accident or design, more and more people find themselves classified as self-employed – in the US alone, around five million of us are categorized as working for ourselves.
The mixture of emotions can range from exhilaration at not having to work for ‘the man’ anymore, excitement at what the future may bring, trepidation about getting your new business off the ground and absolute fear at the thought of ‘have I made a huge mistake?’ or not.
Going self-employed should be considered a positive experience, and while it’s human nature to think about what might go wrong, instead consider the upside of the bold step you have taken or that you have, perhaps, been forced to take by circumstances.
As mentioned, you’re in good company with millions of people classed as self-employed around the world, and many will have utilized some or all of the handy tips outlined below.
#1 – Money management
If you are going to be successful long-term in your chosen field, you will need to be savvy with your money.
You’ll want to make a budget as soon as possible. Don’t worry, you don’t need to be a wizard of the spreadsheets here, but you do need a plan of what your outgoings are going to be and how much you plan (or hope) to make in revenue.
This budget should cover the short and long term, primarily so you can sleep easier at night as you embark on this exciting journey.
Remember, your tax position will change as you go self-employed, too, so make sure you have done your homework on how to file your return accurately and on time.
And finally, ensure you have a rainy day fund in place because you never know when you might need it.
#2 – Make yourself heard
So you’ve got a cool business idea, and you have invested your savings into getting it off the ground.
Now you need to get yourself out there because, without customers, you obviously aren’t going to be successful.
For 99% of businesses, a website is a necessity rather than a nice extra, and if you are going into a particularly competitive market – e.g., plumbing or accounting – then you might want to invest in some Search Engine Optimization (SEO) to help get your site listed higher in Google and the other search engines.
And get out into the local community. You can find details of networking events and business lunches in your area online, and if appropriate – if you are a cake maker, for example – why not take some of your produce along for people to enjoy?
#3 – Stay ahead of the rest
There is a saying in life that if you ‘stand still for too long, you get left behind.’
It’s all well and good going self-employed, but if you rest on your laurels and take success for granted, it won’t be long before somebody comes along and steals your thunder.
You must stay ahead of your competition through continuous improvement, innovation, and research. No matter what industry you are in, if somebody comes along that can offer your product or service at a similar quality for a lower price …. well, you can probably guess the rest.
Keep researching your field: new techniques, new recipes, new suppliers. If you move into Forex and stocks and shares, there are resource sites that offer all you need for online trading.
In short, ensure you are the master of your craft and arm yourself with all of the tools for success that are available.
#4 – Stick with it
They say that 90% of all new businesses fail.
Whether your self-employment means you have launched your own business or are still going it alone as a sole trader, the reality is that there will be good times and bad in your first few years.
When the bills are mounting up, and profits aren’t as you hoped, the temptation will be to jack it all in and file the situation under ‘lesson learned.’
Did you know that Apple was operating at a loss for a decade-long period in the 1980s and 90s?
Did you know that Airbnb was considered a dead duck by Silicon Valley, hence why it took so long to secure investment?
Did you know that the situation with FedEx got so bad that at one point they only had $5,000 in their bank account?
Your self-employment project may not go on to be a multi-million dollar concern, but the point stands – see out the hard times, and the goodwill surely follow.