So you want to be Self-Employed?
BY: Catherine Maina FROM [ Ebits Online ]
June 7, 2012
The idea of being your own boss is very appealing, especially to an idealistic individual. You get to dictate the terms of your employment, the hours you work, the type of clientele you serve and basically call the shots on anything and everything pertaining to your business. It all sounds quite exciting and quite easy when you speak about the generality of it all. But it takes a lot more than just having capital and premises to successfully run your own business. There are a lot of benefits to being self-employed, of course, but there it takes a lot of motivation, persistence, hard work and planning to lift your start-up off the ground and get it going and still sustain progressive growth in the long-term. Here are a few things one needs figure out before handing in that resignation letter.
Have a feasible Business Plan
It's pretty exciting coming up with a great idea and feeling like it's going to be your big break; we all want that. But don't quit your day job just yet. The idea may be brilliant but will it bring in enough revenue to sustain you in the long term? Will the profits you get from that be enough to tide you over the hard times when business isn't quite so good? Is there a gap in the industry that your product will fill? Is there room for growth in the industry and for your company? All these are key questions you need to consider before you take that big leap.
Have your Ducks in Order
Once you have established that your business plan is feasible, you need to start getting organized. Figure out how much capital you need and exactly how you are going to raise it. Also, set aside a buffer to ensure that you are financially secure in case the business doesn't pick up as quickly as you expect it to. If it's not an online business, then you need to locate ideal premises and also calculate your overhead costs. If you plan to employ a team, you also need to consider their wages or salaries.
Do your Homework
A whole lot of research is necessary before delving into the world of self-employment. Don't just go on hearsay; you might believe the wrong information and end up losing money on what you were assured was a ‘sure thing'. Have a wide array of information sources and also speak to people in the industry so that you can have unbiased and useful information.
Don't Settle for Less
It's quite tempting especially in those first few months when business is barely a trickle to settle for lower payments from prospective clients but this would be a mistake as in future, they may hold you to ransom on the premise that if you were able to work for X amount the first time around, then you should still charge them X amount. Stick to your guns and ensure you are paid what you are worth. I'm not saying don't offer discounts every now and then, this is quite normal in business. Just make sure they understand that it is a discount and not the norm.
Expand your Network
The only way to get business coming through your door (literally and figuratively) is to get the word out. Make acquaintances and friends in the industry and attend functions likely to be patronized by those in your field. They can give you tips and also drive business your way.
Discipline, Discipline, Discipline!
A lot of people think of self-employment as a lofty, fairytale land where they call the shots and things are so much easier as there is no one to boss you around. But this is not close to the reality of it at all. Being an entrepreneur is harder than being employed in that you are not assured of a pay cheque at the end of each month therefore you have to work that much harder to ensure there is bread on your table. However, once you get it right, it's a very satisfying experience and along the line once you have reliable systems and processes in place, you can afford to work those flexible hours you always dreamed of. And truth be told, we would all love to be our own bosses.