Do you dream of starting your own business and becoming self-employed? Do you want to make a difference and help people? Would you like the flexibility of setting your own hours and not having anyone to report to?
How do you start your own business?
You either need to start with an idea for a business, or clarity of why a regular job is not the right place for you. Find a notebook and start writing your thoughts down. Why is becoming self-employed important to you? What are your strengths? What is unique about you or your life experiences? Ask others for their insights about you as well.
When I work with clients who want to be self-employed, I listen to their hopes and dreams, as well as their fears, to help them to set a path for themselves that they are comfortable with.
Let’s look at it with both a left-brain, analytical and practical perspective and a right-brain, creative and intuitive perspective. In my opinion you need both to be successful.
Left-brain, logical and analytical way to begin self-employment
Write down the pros and cons of becoming self-employed. Is it something you want to do now or in the future? Do you want to save up money first or borrow from a relative or the bank? How much do you need to get started? Do you have the support of your family to do this?
Do you want to start with a part-time business that you do in addition to your regular job? This is a lower risk way to transition to becoming self-employed, and allows you to get your feet wet.
Options for part-time self-employment:
- representative of established companies where you sell kitchen items, clothes, makeup, cleaning products, or food through home parties or directly to customers;
- marketing consultant, yoga teacher, bookkeeper, dog walker, Reiki practitioner, website designer, writer, tutor, teacher of classes through local Parks & Rec, chair massage, earring and necklace creator, exterior house washer, painter, gardener, Christmas lights installer, window washer, creator of unique furniture, baker, caterer, courier, home cleaner, realtor, artist, toy maker, employee recruitment consultant, bed & breakfast owner, consultant, graphic designer, freelance journalist, technical writer, financial advisor, interior designer, home staging professional, photographer, counsellor, import/export, secret shopper, professional blogger.
There are many more options than I have listed above. Focus on what you enjoy doing and on your strengths while choosing the business you will do.
Would you rather switch to full-time employment right away? If so, you’ll need to have enough money to purchase what you need for the business and a way to pay for your living expenses for the first couple of years.
Options for full-time self-employment:
- convert your part-time business to a full-time one by acquiring more clients and expertise over time and investing in the right kind of marketing
- buy or open a restaurant, retail store, manufacturing business, service or other business
- purchase a franchise. There is a higher cost involved, but a higher likelihood of success because the business systems, name recognition, and advertising are already in place. I don’t recommend franchises for people who like to do things their own way. There are rules to follow in a franchise so that each location is consistent and meets the customer’s expectations. There are also territory restrictions, so you will either need to buy an existing franchise in the area you want, or open a new franchise in an approved location.
Right-brain, creative and intuitive way to begin self-employment
Draw a picture or create a collage showing what your life would be like if you were self-employed. Try not to think while creating it – do that after you are finished to see if you have any insights.
Brainstorm a list of words that describe what you believe being self-employed would be like for you.
Get comfortable in a quiet space. Breathe deeply and relax. Put your hand on your heart. Ask your heart if it has a message for you about changing careers (or another question). Put your hand on your gut. Ask your gut the same question. Be alert to how your body feels and any messages that you get in the form of images or words. The answers from your intuition will not come in the form of “I should…”. Pay attention to the first impression and unexpected insights. Don’t let your brain dismiss them until you’ve had a few days to digest the information.
Prior to meditating, decide what you want to learn and pose it as a question to the Universe. For example:
- Would I be happier if I quit my job to do something else?
- What is my purpose?
- Is it likely that I will be financially successful within three years if I start my own business?
- I want to follow the path that my soul is called to – what is my next step?
- What type of education would be best for me to pursue this year?
While meditating, pay attention to any messages that come to you in the way of images, words or feelings. Ask the question again after you meditate to see if you get more insight.
Benefits of Being Self-Employed
- set your own hours of work – flexible hours
- no boss
- freedom to make changes if you want to
- higher income potential
- choose where you work
- little or no commuting to work
- tax deductions for car expenses, mortgage, travel, internet, etc.
Fears and Worries
- unpredictable income – can you make enough to pay your bills?
- variable income – each month or year may be different
- long hours
- less separation between work and home life
- medical and dental coverage is not covered unless through your spouse or your own plan
- do you have enough money to buy what you need to run the business for the first year?
- no EI coverage for lack of work, maternity leave or serious illness
- anything that goes wrong is often your fault – can’t be blamed on or fixed by another department.
Help from a business coach:
I can help you decide if self-employment is right for you and which business you would enjoy and succeed in financially. I can also help you remove the fear about making the transition to self-employment. I have helped clients with the initial stages of self-employment, including researching, investigating, business plans, file organization, marketing, website creation, and obtaining clients. I help with clarity, focus, organizing, prioritizing, finding resources, and self-confidence. Set up a sample session to learn how I can support you to be successful as an entrepreneur.