Self-employment is certainly not for everyone, but for those of us who have chosen it, it’s the ultimate freedom. Doing what you want, when you want and for who you want is great, but it also comes with the responsibility of being the only person to blame when things go wrong. That being said, there are certainly some tips and tricks that can help the newly self-employed (and sometimes even veterans) adjust to their new lifestyle. If you’re serious about making your small business a success story, take a look at these tips for self-employed success.
Set Limits On Your Time Just because you have a home office or your work number is a cell phone, that doesn’t mean that you have to be available 24/7, or that you’re obligated to work long into the night. Just like a normal job, give yourself and your clients a schedule, and stick with it. If you’re going to call it a day at 6pm, then shut down your email and turn off your phone at six and don’t turn them on again until the morning. Also, consider getting a separate cell phone for work so that clients aren’t constantly bombarding your personal number.
Manage Your Money Wisely When all the money is coming to you instead of just a paycheck from a normal job, it can sometimes be tempting to overspend. The problem arises when you’re not putting away enough to survive if you have a few less-than-stellar sales months, or even worse – if you’re not accounting for the fact that you have to handle your own taxes and other business related expenses. Make sure you’re managing your finances realistically, and don’t be afraid to talk to an accountant if you need help. The price of getting help will be much less than the price of making a mistake on your own.
Know What You Want Hard work and skills are all well and good, but without an overarching direction for your business, you’ll never be able to realize your full potential. Make sure that you know where you want to end up, and examine every step you take to make sure it lines up with your end goal. If it doesn’t, that may be a sign that you need to reevaluate that step and head in a different direction.
Be Yourself When you’re a small business, it can sometimes be tempting to act a bit bigger than you really are, or to attempt to come across as corporate when you’re really just a one-person show. While this may be a tactic that works for some, just being yourself is much easier, and probably isn’t going to cost you any business. The whole point of being self-employed is that you’re selling yourself and your skills, so it’s safe to say that your personality is part of the package.
Never Stop Learning I've said this before and I’ll say it again – if you’re not constantly learning and improving, you’re not going to remain valuable or relevant as technologies change and update. The field of SEO is a great example. Google is constantly updating how their search engine ranks sites, and things that worked even a few years ago would be useless today, or may even have a negative effect. If you tried to sell the same services that you were selling five years ago to someone today, they’d laugh and hang up the phone. You have to continually be learning and adjusting to give yourself the best advantage in whatever field of work you’re in.
Do you have some words of wisdom from your own experiences? Share them with us in the comments below!