Thinking of Self-Employment? 4 Things to Consider
Being Self-Employed: Worth it?
While many people are perfectly happy performing their duties in a 9-to-5 environment, others wish to quit that exhausting, mechanical routine and be self-employed.
I personally don’t blame those happy with their job. Paychecks are guaranteed from the beginning, and they get plenty of benefits and bonuses, to name a few examples.
Life for self-employed individuals can be quite rewarding, too. We all dream of working in our pajamas and maybe even outside next to the pool. Our perceived benefits typically involve more flexibility and not having to answer to a boss with a bad attitude.
Sadly, the stereotype dream described above doesn’t always happen, and many find themselves crashing and burning after making only a couple of bucks from home.
There are dozens of reasons why self-employment is tough, but I won’t go over the technical details here. This short article is meant to examine the type of responsibilities you may have on a more personal level.
1: Think About Family
It’s much easier to take a leap of faith when you have few responsibilities. Do you have a wife and kids? Mortgage to pay? Perhaps your elderly parents need you financially now more than ever?
Think of those around you before starting the unpredictable, often-disappointing journey known as self-employment.
You can still live the dream even with a hectic lifestyle, of course, but this will require additional support and meticulous planning.
(Thanks, Captain Obvious!)
All kidding aside: If you are serious about quitting your regular job and feel like your life depends on it, don’t be afraid to make some sacrifices and deviate from the norm.
Ask for financial help if necessary (that’s one of the many reasons friends are for). Cut back on that HBO and Showtime subscription that you hardly ever watch. Analyze your monthly spending like a mathematician. You name it.
Speaking of money…
2: Have Backup Funding Available
More often than not, people looking to be their own boss are not able to turn in a profit right away (sometimes taking months or years). You will very likely need to rely on your savings for a while as a result.
One of the very few things that can bring money (almost) instantly is freelance writing, considering clients are always in need of new website content.
If you want nothing to do with writing, though, I highly suggest saving up a large amount of money before quitting your regular job. Maybe you won’t need it, but playing it safe never hurts.
3: Marketing is Tough as Nails
Speaking of burning money, the days of “if you build it, they will come” are long gone. Planning to build that perfect online business? That’s fantastic – just be ready to approach the marketing portion like a professional on steroids.
I am not merely referring to the occasional shameless promotion on your personal Facebook/Twitter page, either, because this is hardly marketing at all.
You must consider paid advertising (very rewarding, but tricky) guest blogging (time-consuming) press releases (potentially expensive) among other efforts depending on the business in question.
And let’s not forget list-building and getting a consistent flow of quality traffic 7 days a week, month after month.
4: Expect the Unexpected
No matter how smooth your self-employment plan is, things will almost never go the way you plan (from my experience, at least).
Perhaps you planned to start a website or launch another form of online business, and maybe your promotion strategy seems plausible and approachable. But later you realize that the competition is too tough thanks to something you overlooked, and now you’re burning too much money on advertising costs and other strategies.
Other examples include a wide range of technical headaches related to the back-end of your business, including client information management, online storage, and site-specific glitches.
Are You Scared Yet?
Yes, becoming self-employed is dreamy at first glance, but making it happen (and more importantly, sustaining that lifestyle) is where the real test begins.
One of the best ways to achieving your goal, in my personal opinion, is to launch your business while still working a regular job.
This allows you to dedicate a small portion of each paycheck to the launch and growth of your business.
Need articles written on a weekly basis? No problem, hire a ghostwriter. Maybe you need a higher advertising budget? Pick up an extra shift, if possible. Too much trouble getting a website feature to work? You guessed it – money can fix that, too.
This is probably one of the safest ways to start your own business, no matter how big or small. Sure, it might require you to work like a dog, but money will always be on your side.
The rest will be up to time management and good old-fashioned persistence.
So, Where Do You Stand?
Is being self-employed worth your current financial security? Have you gone down this path before? What would you do differently if you had to start all over?