Self-employment isn't for everyone. BYOB – or “being your own boss” – can be tricky. Mainly because once you become self-employed, you're in charge of everything from billing and marketing to managing employees and paying taxes. Many people would prefer to leave those pesky tasks to others and work for an already established business.
The face of employment is changing due to increasing use of technology and evolving consumer demands. Add an increasingly globalized economy to the mix, and it's no wonder that a rising number of former employees are finding themselves in the roles of accidental entrepreneurs.
Planned or accidental, becoming your own boss is a huge opportunity to think about and decide how you will best serve both your clients and yourself. So if you're heading down that path, here's a list that you should go through as you move towards self-employment:
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Brick and Mortar?
I'll be honest – when I thought about becoming my own boss, I struggled with the type of business that I wanted to run. Initially, I loved the idea of having a cute store filled with fashionable items. Then I considered starting a quaint coffee shop where I would have meaningful chats with my customers as they came in each day. The problem with both? I hate the idea of having to stay in one place. I'd already spent 10 years in the same office, and after that, I vowed “never again.”
Clearly, a brick-and-mortar business would not be a good fit for me. The lesson: be honest with yourself.
What Do You Do?
People either start with a narrow idea that becomes broader over time, or they have a very broad idea that becomes streamlined. Once you hit that sweet spot, there are a number of questions that you need to ask yourself:
Will you enjoy what you do for the next three to four years?
Who are Your Clients?
If your clients are moms with small kids, then you have to think about where and how you'll help them. Will you find your clients found in town, online, or both? Learn the distinct needs of your customers and tailor your business to meet those needs.
What Type of Service Will You Offer, and for What Price?
Do you want to work alone, with a couple of other people, or with a large group? How much time will it take for you to perform the service, and what do you plan to charge? What's the value of your time?
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It's easy to underestimate a work commitment, but try to be realistic.
How is Your Work/Life Balance?
Does your business model keep you away from home too much, or are you at home too long? Are you single? How will you prioritize your social life and childcare? Set a budget for both and make sure that you can make ends meet.
Becoming your own boss provides you with the opportunity to create a business model that also works for your life. Be honest about what you want for yourself and be mindful about crafting the best life possible. You may find that being your own boss is worth the work. Good luck!