In a world full of uncertainty and change, there’s never been a better time to be your own boss.
Just imagine; no more mean managers or colleagues, no more stringent schedule, and no more answering to anyone else.
Sounds like bliss right?
Self-employment has a whole host of benefits — but it’s also a lot of work too.
You’ve just got to decide if it’s worth it.
For me, I was fed up of the lack of flexibility.
I worked a regular 9–5.30 office job, with an hour for lunch in-between — not that I ever made it away from my desk as there was often no-one to cover the phones.
But I’m also a self-confessed workaholic and people-pleaser.
When my dad was dying, I rushed to be there for him in the evenings but I struggled to take the day times off. Between his being sick, his death, and the funeral, I took a total of four working days away from the office.
Sometimes I look back and wish I had been where I am now — being able to manage my own schedule and work around my personal commitments, whatever they may be.
If that’s not the definition of work-life balance, I don’t know what is.
So how did I get to where I am today?
Well, it wasn’t without a little bit of courage and a little bit of risk. Because you’ll never get anywhere in life without either of these things.
1. Decide what you want to do
First things first, you need to decide what you want to offer, and more importantly, what people might pay for. Take some time to think about your skills and experience, and ultimately what you’re best at. For me, I was already a personal assistant with a few years of solid experience behind me, so it was a no brainer to offer those services virtually, as a virtual assistant. I was confident I could offer a top quality service right from the get go.
2. Research, research, research
Before you jump into anything, do your research. You might think you have a great idea, but after a little research, it might not be something that’s really in demand. Think about the current climate and what people need. Read blog articles, e-books, and join some relevant Facebook groups so you can connect with like-minded individuals. Get to know your target market, what you should be charging, and how you should market your services.
3. Figure out your finances
Launching your own business is always going to be a risk, but you can help reduce the risk by making sure your finances are in check. Aim to have at least 6–12 months of funds behind you so that you have enough time to settle in and start to grow, without worrying about whether you can afford your rent or bills.
4. Understand the basics of what you need to set-up
Even the smallest of businesses require certain tools and documents before they launch. For example, have you got your contracts and insurance in place? Do you need a better laptop or a printer? How are you going to do your accounting — do you need certain software or will you be doing it manually? Where will you keep your receipts? How will you market your business — do you need a website or will you be advertising on social media or via word of mouth? Business cards might also be helpful for face-to-face networking events. And finally, think about any areas you could develop on and invest in relevant skills training before you open your doors for business.
5. Be brave and take the leap
Made it this far? Phewft. Now’s the hard part. Have faith in yourself and believe you have what it takes to succeed. Take a deep breath and make the leap. All the apprehension comes prior to taking the final step — once you’re on the other side, you’ve made it. You just have to maintain your confidence and enthusiasm, keep moving forward, and don’t look back. It might just be the best thing you’ve ever done.