Going self-employed – would you employ you?

When you start your own business there is nobody to interview you for the position. It is great that you have the gumption and determination needed to take the first step into self-employed territory. But is it right for you? This is not an enviable position to hold for most because of the long hours and responsibility that comes with it. There are certain skills that you will need to succeed and though some of these can be found by outsourcing the work some of them will have to be instilled in you. So are you right for this job?

It all comes down to you – are you the right person – are you:

Brave?

The decisions are all yours and holding back is not going to make you money. Not everything you take on pays off but it is important to try different ventures and give them your all – you never know what is going to work until you have tried it. If you fail put it behind you are look for the next opportunity – be brave but go into everything with your eyes wide open and always have a clean exit strategy in case it doesn’t meet your expectations.

Responsible?

Again, the decisions are all yours to make so the responsibility for success and failure is all yours to bare. You have to be comfortable with making those decisions in a timely manner without the need of consulting with friends/colleagues every two minutes. A little advice is a great support but too much and you are being led by others instead of creating a path to suit you, your skill set, and your ambitions.

Dedicated?

You will live and breathe your business. It will interfere with your social and family life – face up to this from the start and accept it. You can work in days off where you prioritise other things but in those first two years, when you are getting it off the ground it has to be your focus. Are you prepared to give this beast all of your time, blood, sweat and tears? It will take it all and keep demanding more from you.

Business minded?

You have to be able to wear lots of different hats when you start-up a new business: marketing, finances/banking, health & safety, business law. There are tons of requirements including accountancy, a bank account, bookkeeping software, branding, marketing materials, business insurance, letting/purchasing office equipment/stationary…You have a lot of choices to make. To run your own business you have to have a business orientated mind – knowing your skill/product isn’t enough to succeed you have to be able to manage as well.

Organised?

You need to be able to keep on top of your bookkeeping, track customer/client purchases/sales history, and manage your stock. That is just a small slice of your responsibilities and in the early days you may not have another employees to lean on and you certainly will not have a personal assistant just yet! You will need a system to keep track of meetings, marketing approaches, business partnerships, networking events, licence renewals, rent agreements, health and safety, and if you employ people you have all the added human resources to manage. Organisation is a key ingredient to any business and though some survive with very little organisational skills this is usually because they are quick to employ someone, or a service that has more than enough to compensate for their shortfall. You cannot run a business blindly so organisation is a priority.

If you have all five skills on this list then you should have what it takes to make a cracking boss. If you have three-four then you have the right make-up to go self-employed but you should work on those weaknesses or look at finding help to prevent any issues arising. Less than three and you are at a clear disadvantage. Now, that does not mean that you have to give up on your dream but training in the areas that need it or a re-evaluation of what matters to you most may be in order if you wish to avoid failure. Good luck!

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