When considering the option of becoming self-employed, we are often focused upon the financial elements needed for successful trading. Forecasting your earning potential is an important exercise before taking the plunge into self-employment and having a contingency plan in case of failure is always recommended. However, the emotional and psychological implications of self-employment are often overlooked by potential entrepreneurs, and herein lie many of the challenges faced by new business owners.
Why do you want to do this?
The first and most important step to preparing for potential self-employment is to be completely honest with yourself. Identifying your real motivations for wanting to leave the 9-5 grind will help clarify if starting a business is right for you. If your motivations centre solely around an annoying boss or co-worker, then you need to consider if finding another job might be the best solution for you. The idea of being your own boss can be alluring, but not everybody is cut out for entrepreneurship. Self-employment often poses far more difficulties than working for an employer, and it is advisable for one to ascertain whether they are willing to make sacrifices in terms of financial security, as well as job stability, to develop a business. Taking the time to consider this question deeply will either save you a lot of trouble or help steel you for the challenges ahead.
Are you self-motivated?
If you are the kind of person who relies on the motivation of others, entrepreneurship may be a treacherous venture for you. As a small business owner, you will need to be able to manage your own time and execute tasks in a disciplined fashion. For creatives especially, the idea of not being bound to a desk, and having the opportunity to focus on an artistic vocation is often the incentive for self-employment. However, many of us lack the business skills to match our creative talents, and oftentimes our entrepreneurial efforts are stymied by a lack of insight into the demands required for running a successful operation. There will likely be many obstacles in your journey to establish your venture and those who are self-motivated stand that best chance of creating a thriving and successful business.
Could you experiment with your idea?
Working part-time is often a good way to measure whether you will cope with the demands of self-employment. Side projects can often be rewarding and allow us the freedom to learn through mistakes without the pressure of complete career failure. It is also a way to earn an extra income, which could go towards savings for when you no longer have a regular salary. Many businesses can take a considerable amount of time to become profitable and so generating income via a side project or freelance work in advance can help provide a longer runway for you to get your project off the ground. If your side venture is related to the business you want to start, them you’ll also be preparing yourself with valuable skills and experience that will also contribute to your future business success.
How will you organise your work day?
Another challenge for the uninitiated entrepreneur can be the lack of structure and routine in the workday. Setting up a time and place for work is imperative, and although it can be tempting to answer your emails while still in your pyjamas, the act of preparing yourself for the day in the same manner as you would if attending a regular job, has an important psychological impact.
Another pitfall can be the temptation to structure your day in a manner that your work hours do not coincide with the rest of the business world. Although working within your own time framework can be advantageous in terms of avoiding distractions it can also reverse productivity when your hours do not correspond with those of clients or suppliers.
Who will you interact with?
Social isolation is also an important factor to consider with regards to self-employment. While the idea of being away from others can be highly attractive initially, the impact of a lack of interaction with other people often takes new entrepreneurs and freelancers by surprise. Many find the move from a highly sociable environment to an isolated one quite confronting and this loneliness can have an adverse impact on their work and subsequently their business. If this is a potential issue for you, consider signing up at a co-working space or even hiring a shared office. Making a point to take a lunch break, either as a networking opportunity or simply for social engagement with friends or family, can also be helpful in avoiding ‘cabin fever’.
Starting a business or becoming self-employed can be incredibly exciting and it’s easy to race ahead with ideas before considering the realities of what this life entails. It’s important to consider if the idea is right for you and a great first step is to consider these five questions.
Sophie is the co-founder of www.bohobrooches.com.au. Boho Brooches is an Australian store dedicated to highly fashionable brooches. The team at Boho believe that a beautiful brooch is the ultimate fashion accessory and they have hand curated Australia’s finest selection of brooch jewellery in their stylish online store.