11 Steps Towards Successfully Working for Yourself
Working for others just doesn't work for me. Say what? Bail out? Work for yourself? Are you crazy? You are lucky to have a job and here you are dreaming of bailing out and going on your own dime!
This is what your loved ones inform you, but inside, you have the itch and you sense a million opportunities that will not happen as long as you're working for someone else. Sounds familiar? What else have we not heard? Yes, successful Cubicle dweller, maybe it's time to get out of the cell, unpack those wings and get flying.
Make the Leap
I was just talking to a friend who finally made the leap. For the first time, she said working for herself opened a Star Port on a new universe. She thought all the time that employment was the way to go. now she works twice as hard and is five times as happy.
While working in that cubicle, she thought she was super successful as she was earning more than many around her and had real security. She was getting praises from management, sent to travel and to attend workshops. She thought she was BIG. But she was only big when she looked down the ladder. She hadn't looked up before to see the distance she would have to travel to get any freedom to act or a chance to implement her own ideas.
Wake up call to get out of your job
At her job, it wasn't long before colleagues got jealous. Yes, she thought she was getting to the top.
She had helped placed the company on the national map as she writes well, too. But she made the mistake of outshining a weak boss and she shifted her to a menial job that only involved checking on broken chairs and tables. She was told, it was management's prerogative!
The jealous boss went even further to push her out by asking other staff to accuse her of wrong doing which when investigated by the company, was declared a no case. My friend wanted to sue for constructive dismissal but saw that she would just be more and more unhappy when others owned her life.
For her, this was the wake up call to get out of that job and she was grateful that her boss just pushed her. She took a leave, took some steps to try out some ideas, and never looked back. She has never been happier in her life as she keeps seeing more opportunities to pursue. Yes, look outside of your window and here are 11 steps towards successfully working for yourself:
1. Think before you leap
Find out if working for yourself suits you. Interested to see how far you can go? How far is your reach? Before you jump out of that cubicle, think carefully. Is working for yourself really what you want to do? Is it just anger or tiredness that's driving you or do you really have a dream of your self as your own master? Maybe the friend I talked about is a different person from you.
2. Take some preliminary steps
Have you taken a step today towards working on your own? Have you moved the agenda ahead? Most of us desire to work on our own. Maybe, some of us have already started. The key thing is to move your dream ahead. A step a day will go a long way.
3. Create your own work opportunities
What work will you pursue? If you have it in you, opportunities abound. But, sometimes, they are not just there for the picking. In some areas, you have to create your own opportunities. Yes, reboot yourself and give free reign to the creative in you.
You may have already your own ideas but you want to get some confirmation that this is really what you want. look at the possibilities before you settle on one.
4. Have a transition strategy
First, take a good look at your situation. Are you in a position to take the plunge to self-employment? Do you have the resources to do it? More importantly, do you have the passion for it? Maybe, you enjoy being with people and working with them. Maybe you are the type of person who needs direction from somebody else to do a job. Maybe, you need the income from a regular employment and, right now, you just can't take the risk. There are many things you need to consider before you go for those attractive opportunities. Be realistic.
But don't despair. If you are convinced this is the path for you, why not have a transition strategy? Take a leave from your job and find out if working for yourself gives you the advantage. Find out if this is the work life you want. Find out if you will be able to sustain it.
Nowadays, you don't even have to take a leave. You can start an online business without leaving your job. Try CafePress, Etsy, ebay, or Zazzle or create your ow website. Create a transition path that will lessen the negative impact of your career change. Don't burn your boats on the beach.
5. Design your future work scenario
Where is the future leading you? After my friend got out of her corporate work, she first designed her future work scenario. For a start, she read ideas and links in thinking out her future and in assessing the opportunities she could pursue. But more basic than these is that she made her focus clear: what she enjoys doing, where the future is going and where she could fit in.
6. Do a career assessment
Still not sure of what you want to do? Go for career assessment. Sometimes, even when you are sure, that may not yet be the work you really want to do. You just think that's what you want, but it's not really yet the one for you. If you can get professional help, that will be useful. If not, there are books that will help you
7. Explore possibilities in your work now
Okay, you are in a job and you need the money right now. Don't jump yet unless, like my friend, you are sent out of work. Explore the possibilities in your current job. Which in your current job do you really enjoy doing? Where are you really good at?
Maybe, you have already found the opportunities and have dreamt about it but don't have the practical skills and knowledge. These are not limits to your possibilities. Today's work places are more open to explore alternatives for their employees. Design your strategy and present a plan to your manager.
Before you do this, make sure you are a valued employee. If you have a decade of grumpy slacking behind you, boost your performance first. When you add value, you can easily leverage this for options to allow you to test out living your dream or build a skill set to achieve them.
Sometimes, we are choke-chained from pursuing our dreams by our ignorance. We just don't know what is out there. I knew that a sea change was coming when the internet first arrived and at that time, I started taking courses on everything web related that I could fit in my schedule. I was working in a College then and I could take these courses for free. But scanner that I am, I abandoned it when something else took my fancy. Last year (12 years later), I took hold of my scanner self and once again focused this on the web. Maybe, for you it may not be the web.
8. Approach people already working in the area you are considering.
They are your source of information not easily available in books. Often, they are just waiting for someone to share with.
Before you jump out of that rat race, think. Is working for yourself the path for you? Some of us are cut out to be self-employed while others can easily flourish in the corporate world not only being employed but successfully stepping up the corporate ladder. And, enjoying as well the competition and glamour of being part of a big corporation.
9. Recognize that failure is part of working for yourself
Yes, failure is part of the process of developing something. It is negative but negative spaces only serve to highlight the positive. Failures hold the seeds of success. It is a learning moment that makes us move on with more wisdom and confidence. In fact, many educators now are saying we should be rewarding failures. Our education systems does not allow mistakes so kids just follow and not try out things on their own.
When you start to work for yourself, know that everything is uncertain. These are the challenges you need to work out and as you do this you move towards greater success. When you give up as many do, then you do not take the seeds of success in your failures and let these grow.
10. Assess your current skills
Do you have what it takes to work for yourself? When you are able to pinpoint the area you want to pursue, assess your current skills and see how you can leverage these towards self employment.
Are you confident that your talents and skills can be offered as an attractive option for businesses? Do you have the talent and skills to create new products to respond to the demands of the marketplace? Your service or product must get the attention of the market. You must offer quality. You must have the skills to convince strangers not just Mom and Dad.
To start, you may need new skills. Learn them. Some of your skills may need upgrading. Invest the time and energy. You will not regret it. You might be able to learn the skills with the help of your current employer. Better still, you might be able to convince your current employer to become your client.
I know of a friend who signed a two year consulting contract with his employer before he got out. These two years gave him time to build his business on an assured fee.
11. Assess your Resources
How deep is your pocket?
Do you have the resources to transition you to this new service or product?
Is there a Mom's basement to hole in when the money runs dry?
Are you disciplined enough to make this happen?
When you hang out on facebook or your smart phone, you lose out. Unless, of course, you are networking or marketing. You are your own fool now. Okay, don't focus on the negative. Start on a positive note but ground yourself well.
Working for yourself or for someone else? Which makes you happier?
If you are like me, part of you will always say that regular employment is better. Wherever you go, it is the same politics. You can never have that much satisfaction wherever you are. But you can shuffle by and just do your regular work and when retirement comes, maybe then have some fun.
On the other hand, a bigger part of me says, this is your chance. You can do this. You are better off working for yourself. Just sacrifice a little first, work hard and think of having your own freedom with no boss to constantly please. You do it all but for yourself. The politics are in your head, not in the next cubicle. Then, as you progress, you can free up time for yourself by outsourcing the work to others. You can then live a life.
You, what do you think? Is it better to be employed by someone or be self employed?
What are your thoughts on this?