How many times have you thought about self-employment? The ability to work on your own terms and be your own boss could be enticing, but there are plenty of reality checks along the way and it’s important that you realize it’s not as simple or straightforward as it sounds. Self-employment comes with plenty of challenges, and we’re going to explain some of the biggest ones to help you prepare for a life of self-employment.
Self-employment is a fantastic choice for those that want to work in the comfort of their own home, but is it really that easy? (Source)
Are you capable of managing your time effectively?
Self-employment is fantastic because it allows you to work at home or at your own pace. However, that doesn’t mean it’s an excuse to work just 2 hours a day and it doesn’t mean you should be working 50-hour work weeks either. As much as you want to be successful, not everyone is cut out for working long. Sure, entrepreneurs like Elon Musk can up to 100 hours per week, but that doesn’t mean it will work for you. Instead of burning yourself out, make sure you set regular working hours much like you would if you worked for an employer. Stick to your times and try to stay away from your computer and your responsibilities outside of office hours unless you absolutely have to take care of something like an emergency. Having a schedule is a great way to keep yourself on-track, but if you can’t stick to it, then it’s pointless to have and you might not be ready for a life of self-employment.
Do you have what it takes to manage your responsibilities?
The last thing you want is for your business to be under a tax investigation because you neglected to record all of your income. As a self-employed individual, you have more responsibilities than the average employee and you need to take this seriously. You need to manage your own accounts and finances (unless you have an advisor or accountant), you need to realize that the livelihood of all of your employees rests within your hands, and you need to remember that your success and growth are in your own hands. If you’re not able to manage these responsibilities, then your business is simply going to fail and you’ll just be wasting your time and effort.
Do you possess the capacity to learn new skills at every possibility?
From learning to protect your business with security software or researching new market trends and how to take advantage of them, you need to be like a sponge that soaks up information at every opportunity. This is because you want to learn as much as possible and apply that knowledge to your business, and this means you need to be constantly reading, constantly listening and constantly learning. Utilize things such as online learning to help you study new subjects and skills without having to attend a college or university, and listen to audiobooks as much as possible. Multitasking is often seen as a waste of time, but if you’re doing something mundane such as running and exercising, you’d be surprised at just how useful it can be to learn new skills through an audiobook.
It’s incredibly easy to get distracted if you work self-employed and it’s the main reason for a lack of productivity and progress. (Source)
Can you take criticism and turn it into something positive?
You’re going to get a lot of criticism as a self-employed individual. Customers will hate you for making small changes that you thought would be beneficial, you’re going to get know-it-all employees that suggest changes about things they know nothing about, and you’re going to be ridiculed on the internet for making poor decisions. It’s crucial that you learn how to minimize the negative effects that come with bad criticism and instead turn it into something positive. Your audience and your employees can be fantastic sources of information, but only if you’re willing to see what they say in a positive and understanding way.
Do you have what it takes to expose yourself and network with the industry?
Entrepreneurs need to be social. They need to attend events for networking purposes and they need to get on social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn so that they can increase their chances of capitalizing on an opportunity. This means meeting with investors, it means speaking to customers face-to-face at events and it also means making friends with industry figureheads and influencers to help your business grow and expand. Social media is often the most straightforward form of networking, but you should remember that everything you say is on record. Don’t speak out of line, don’t get into arguments, and watch what you say. While it might be tempting to get frustrated and angry at someone who is criticising your business unfairly, you have to be as professional as possible.
Do you have support from friends and family members?
Every entrepreneur needs a source of inspiration. In most cases, this is going to come from friends and family members that support you in your endeavours. It’s incredibly important to have people to speak to when things are going bad, and to also have people that can give you advice. This could be in the form of a business mentor or just a close friend that is also working in the industry or has run a business in the past. Getting the right support is arguably one of the most crucial steps in living a life of self-employment, so don’t neglect it!
Self-employment isn’t for everyone, but almost anyone can fit the mold of a successful entrepreneur if they’re willing to learn, if they know how to communicate effectively and if they have the right motivation to keep them going. It’s a tough life full of responsibilities, but it can be the best choice you’ve made in your life if you’re willing to put in the time and effort.