Starting Self Employment:
Plan > Prepare > Launch
When I started
employment a few
years back, I didn't really plan for it. I kinda got pulled into it
and went with the flow. I made several mistakes; but also learnt from
them. Looking back, I wish I had taken a more structured process
using a business planning approach.
Starting a self
no rocket science. You just need to be disciplined about following a
structured approach. I would suggest this three step approach of –
> Prepare > Launch
What do you
think is the
component of starting a new business?
You must have
customers are willing to pay for. Right?
of your professional skills, both soft and hard. Your hard skills are
the core job skills such as:
- Data base administration,
- Bookkeeping etc.
Your soft skills
might be your -
- Presentation style,
- Negotiation skills,
- Time management abilities etc.
- Of those skills, which ones am I
really good at?
is to conduct a survey of your friends, colleagues, managers,
customers and staff; both past and present. You can get that
information via a casual discussion or through a formal survey.
I have used
SurveyMonkey's basic service before and it's pretty good. Also, it's
You will be
surprised at what you find. Things you thought obvious (about you)
may turn out to be not so true. For example, you might think that
your core strength is data base administration; but you might find
out that others perceive you as a better Project Manager, who is
really good at managing database related projects. Keep in mind that
"Perception is reality".
The bottom-line is
you need to know what your strengths are and cash on them. You also
need to know what associated skills you are lacking so that you can
work on them.
possible that you might not like to pursue a self-employment career
in what you currently do or where your core job skills are. In that
case I will say "follow your passion".
However, I am
going to lie to you. It's going to be relatively harder to pursue a
new self-employment career, because self-employment is all about your
personal brand. Customers like to hire folks who have a track record
and reputation in a particular job field. But all said, at the end of
the day, you should do what you enjoy to do. Then it won't feel like
work, and success definitely will follow you. Think hard about what
you are passionate about and how you can translate your current
skills and experience to reflect that.
Check out the
“Self Employment Ideas” and “Self Employment Tips” links for anything
that might be your
passion and how you can make them work for you.
- Is there demand for these skills?
are there customers who are willing to pay you to perform these
skills for them? While evaluating this you also need to look at the
This last one
is really important. I have an excel spreadsheet that I created for
myself that allows you to calculate the (approximate) minimum rate
you can afford to charge to break-even with your current
compensation. I will post it on this site, once I figure out how to
do that. :) Until then send me a request at (admin at
self-employment-guide.com) and I will email that to you.
- Where are these prospective customers located?
- Are there enough customers local to your area?
- If not then are you willing to travel or
get to the cost part later)
- How is the competition? Are there many people
your skills available in the market?
- What do you have to offer that they can't? (Remember,
offering a "lower rate" is a bad answer. It will come back and bite
- What is the market rate for your skills?
the right time?
professional and personal aspects. Check out the "Benefits of
Self Employment" section and decide for yourself if this is the
right time for you. Discuss with your immediate family and make sure
they are on board.
to Step-2: Prepare for Self Employment