Nowadays the term “entrepreneur” is part of our normal vocabulary, but no one striking out on their own becomes an overnight success. If you’re thinking about pursuing self-employment and running your own company, here are five ways to properly prepare yourself for setting out on your own.
DO YOUR HOMEWORK
Self-employment is not for the faint of heart. If you are committed to pursuing the pros of working for yourself, you also have to be hyper-aware of the cons. As you contemplate leaving the financial stability of your corporate job, begin to evaluate the added stresses that come with being a company that is a party of one.
NETWORK (LIKE THE COOL WAY AND NOT SHAKING HANDS AND GIVING OUT BUSINESS CARDS)
By far the most valuable thing I did in preparing for self-employment was tapping into my network. I began seeding to my friends, family and acquaintances that I was planning to leave my job to consult and one by one my network grew. Everyone wanted to put me in touch with someone who’d had the courage to do what I was planning to do. I began speaking to loads of other freelancers and consultants and I came prepared to every meeting with a list of questions. Every encounter held a powerful and helpful takeaway and the more people I spoke with, the more my network expanded and the more business leads I started to pull in.
GET ORGANIZED OPERATIONALLY
There’s a lot that goes into operating your own business and some of the things may even surprise you. Before you leave your job for the land of self-employment, I recommend starting to get the pieces of the operational puzzle in place. One of the first steps I took was creating a strategic roadmap to see where the business was actually going. Then I set up a business banking account so I had a checking account for the company and also a credit card for all expenses. I also built a forecast so I was setting goals for myself to meet from a revenue standpoint.
Before you commence self-employment, you have to first accept that you won’t know from where your next paycheck is coming. Which translates to having to prepare financially for those inevitable times that you won’t have steady pay coming in.
Do the math and start saving accordingly before you up and leave your job. You’ll be far better off down the line for having done so.
THINK LONG TERM
When you begin working for yourself you’ll feel like you need to say yes to whatever initial projects come your way because you fear the unknown. But when you accept projects or clients that you don’t feel passionate about, you’re defeating one of the best perks of being your own boss: the ability to say no. While you certainly need to pay your bills, you shouldn’t take on work that you don’t feel capable of delivering on or for people or brands that don’t make you feel invested in the work. If you begin to take on projects you’re not jazzed about, you are limiting the hours you have a month to pursue and accept jobs that will not only give you income but also fulfillment.