What you need to know about being self employed before you quit your job

Slef employed

Don’t quit your job to get into your own business, until you read this

Why do you want to be self employed? Is it so you can sack your boss? Wouldn’t it be nice to see the look on your bosses smug face when you tell them where to stick their job?

Believe me, I’ve had toxic bosses. I feel your pain. But before you go into the meal room, in front of everyone, and pour your bowl of morning cereal over the boss’s head, you’d better check this out.

Working for yourself or running your own business is not all beer and skittles. In fact, it can be extremely hard work. For starters, you need to wear a few more hats than you did as an employee. You need to do the work but you also need to take care of the invoicing, payment collection, paying bills, marketing, sales, legals, customer complaints and your new boss. The customer.

Being self employed is tough

I won’t lie. Business is tough. BUT it’s not impossible. In fact, there’s probably someone not nearly as smart or capable as you, running a business somewhere. As long as you have the passion, ability and reward (someone is willing to pay you for what you do) you can get help.

When you work for yourself, you wear many hats

Remember Dorothy in Finance? You’re her now.

That quirky young kid in Marketing? That’s you too.

That old bloke, with that ugly bottle green tie, who deals with suppliers? Also your role.

I’m not trying to scare the life out of you. Working for yourself can be fun and exciting but if you simply love doing your own work in isolation, rather than running your business, you’re going to struggle.

You’re going to need to learn how to juggle. At the very least, you need time management skills.

Business is part of a system

“Workin’ for the man every night and day?” Wouldn’t you love to stick it to “the man”? I’m sure when Credence first sang these words, they meant to add “or wo-man” when referring to the boss but I digress. I have some bad news. You can’t just become a hermit, go live in a cave, produce the work you love, earn a fortune and live happily every after.

Your work or business will only work if it’s part of the system. You need to attract and sell to clients, which means convincing them to part with their hard earned money for what you sell. Then there are suppliers, who can sometimes be helpful. Sometimes not so much.

You still need to work with people to run your business.

Do you want some good news? It’s your business, so you can choose who you are willing to work with. If you’re lucky, you may be in an industry where you can choose your suppliers.

Ask for help with your new business

Hey, I think it’s great you want to be self employed. In fact, it can be an awesome adventure if you go into it with your eyes wide open and you know what to expect.

Do you know much about running a business? It’s okay if you don’t because there’s plenty of people to help you and many places to find help. Maybe you know about a particular aspect like marketing or accounting. It’s still okay (recommended even) to ask for help, especially in area you know that aren’t your strengths.

Learn all you can before you start

If you enjoy reading, I recommend Robert Kiyosaki’s book, “Before you quit your job“. It’s a reality check about how you can make the transition from employee to business owner smooth.

Find your mentor or coach (or both)

Find someone who’s been there, done that, if you can. At the very least, someone who has started or operated their own small business.

At best, you might be able to find someone who has been in your industry. They may have even been in your shoes at one point, considering the benefits of going it alone in business. Ask them, even if it didn’t work out. Learn from their mistakes if they will let you.

Decide if you will be self employed or a business owner

Most people who go and work for themselves choose the path of being self employed. It’s a logical step from working for someone else to doing the work for yourself. Usually self employed people charge by the hour. There’s nothing wrong with this. In fact, many people make a good living this way.

A business owner, however, is different. Business owners build a business, which is bigger than themselves. Business owners often hire employees, turn services into products and charge in a way that scales. If you want to be a business owner, you may require a different skill set again. If you decide to go this route, make sure you love doing the work of a business owner. That means you will be doing less of the technical, hands on work, than you are now and more work on other aspects of the business.

Now, before you quit your job

Most people have this fantasy, that they will strom into their boss’s office, quit and have money rolling in the next day. Whoa there cowboy. That’s not how it works.

Can you start work before you quit your job? Think about it. Maybe you have friends you can do some work for on the weekends. Perhaps you can try a freelance or classifieds website to seek new business. I know it’s easier to make the transition from being an employee to self employed if you already have work lined up.

Start building your reputation, make small mistakes early and learn from them. By the time you’re ready to launch your business for real, your competitors won’t know what hit ’em (with any luck).

Get ready to work harder

Media love promoting the idea of an overnight success. They make it look easy but trust me, it’s not. Whether you decide to become self employed or become a business owner, it’s hard work. You still need to get the same work done as you did before. Plus, you need to find time for all of the other aspects of business, where you might have had other people to do this for you in the past.

If you’re still keen to start a business, I wish you the best of luck. At least I can rest a little easier knowing, if you have read this article, you’re going in to business after a reality check. If you decide being self employed is still the right path, good for you. Certianly, it has it’s reawrds.

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