Am I Self-Employed Material? What it Takes to Run Your Own Business
Employee vs. business owner, it’s a scary dream for most, but attainable. If you are seriously looking to become self-employed there are a few factors you should consider before taking the leap. Ask yourself these questions:
- Do I have the long-term drive to make my business a success
- Will my values be met by the business I want to build
- Do I know the legal and tax laws required for being self-employed
- If I don’t know how to do something, can I find a career coach or other help
- Do I have a plan
- Do I need a partner
- Can I continue to pay my bills while I get my business up and running
- What do I know about marketing my business
- Are the products or services I plan to offer wanted by the public and are people willing to pay me for them
SELF-EMPLOYED IN A BETTER INDUSTRY
Kris was a college-level teacher and now in her 50’s has made a decision to incorporate her interest in writing into a livelier, fun-in-the-sun environment. Searching and not finding employment locally, she is now revamping her resume to highlight transferable skills and looking for freelance work in the islands. Her Vermont apartment is tiny, and easy to maintain while she’s away in her new career. Her new self-employed goal is to teach journaling workshops at various resorts and spas. Because of her love for islands, she is narrowing her search to destination resorts on islands only. She can expand her possibilities and think outside the box by asking what else could she do with her writing skills. She could expand her own business by offering to teach guests how to write a short play and then performing it during their vacation stay. Or, she could freelance her writing excellence into marketing vacation spots for host companies. She could even write and sell how-to books for other budding writers. Her list of possibilities is endless in a changing market and yours can be too. Just highlight your best skills and take them into an industry you find exciting.
SELF-EMPLOYED WITH A BUSINESS PARTNER
Another woman, Charlotte, from Pennsylvania, is finding the doors to her human resource expertise closing around her. How might she re-traffic her skills and abilities into a new market? She has a stellar background in planning, preparation and all behind-the-scenes work. Not particularly interested in being the front-woman for a company, she can now take her work history and switch gears slightly by becoming a wedding planner, or a consultant for the convention industry. When asked if she likes meeting and greeting people, her answer was a quick, “No!” So maybe a wedding planner wouldn’t be the best choice for her. Knowing that she is more comfortable behind the scenes, she can now transfer her skills into an environment that needs what she has to offer, and although it may be a different industry, she will still be able to use her gifts well. If you are considering becoming self-employed, do like Charlotte did and know whether you are best suited on the front line or behind the scenes. This is a perfect example of the need for a business partner who is better suited with public contact.
SELF EMPLOYED, BUT A MISMATCH OF VALUES
Kevin Manley started out his professional career as an entrepreneur. He formed his own band and toured the United States. He had natural skills in musical talent, stage presence and organization, perfect skills for someone who wants to build a brand. To succeed, he says, “You must first have natural musical abilities, a love of center stage and awareness that receiving applause and admiration can be like a drug you will always chase.” When I asked him why he is no longer self-employed in the music industry he explained, “I knew that I needed a home base and really got tired of the traveling. One day I was putting everything I owned into the trunk of a car, getting ready for our next gig, and realized I had forgotten where I was. I didn’t even know which coast I was on.” Today Kevin is employed as a Public Works Director for a town in Arizona and continues to sing karaoke in Laughlin, Nevada occasionally. He says it’s hard to let go of the rush that audience applause provides, but if your most important value is a regular home life, then an on-the-road business is not for you. If you want to develop your own business, use Kevin’s awareness as a role model and make sure your values match your business.
SELF-EMPLOYED, FIND A PROBLEM, PROVIDE A SOLUTION
Kate Cronan-Sawert has made a career out of her interest in the health field. She is now self-employed in the same industry. She says she was disheartened by the American health care system and quickly began planning her own business. She truly believes that the only way she can make a quality difference is by becoming self-employed. Today she has formed her own company, Self Health, Inc. ( http://www.sawert.com/selfhealth ) that provides health education and wellness information to the general public. Her book, Self Health, is in the final stages of production and offers insight into what is causing your energy drains and strategies for healing them. What satisfies her most is the excitement on the face of her clients when they learn that anything is possible regarding their health. Kate knows that with her own business she can be more problem/solution oriented in her care. She advises anyone considering the option of running his or her own business to be skilled in willingness, tenacity and to have the ability to ask for help. For Kate, her Life’s Work was built around what a problem in her industry. Because health education has become more integrative in the last twenty years, this entrepreneur has found a cutting edge position for her talents, skills and values in her own business. If you want to start your own business, use Katie as a role model; find a problem and provide a solution. If after careful evaluation of what it takes to operate your own successful business you find that this is the path for you, learn as much as you can from others who have gone before you and here’s to your career success!