Lots of people dream of going self-employed, and having the freedom and autonomy to work on their own terms.
The huge growth of the sector has been well publicised, with Office of National Statistics research showing that over 15% of the UK labour force have taken the plunge to work for themselves.
For many, it’s the ideal solution to the lingering problem of the inflexibility of the 9-5 routine.
There has been a 70% rise in the number of working mothers since 2011 alone, a figure which, if nothing else, clearly demonstrates the issues faced by women juggling childcare and the need to earn an income.
The average age of a person choosing to leave the employer/ employee world behind is 47, and there have been strong upturns in self-employment since 2001 for the over 65s and the 18-24 age group.
There are lots of positives about becoming self-employed - calling your own shots, operating on your own terms, managing your own time… but it would be remiss to ignore the cons.
The truth is that, for the many upsides, it’s not the route for everyone.
Especially in the beginning, it can mean long hours and uncertainty. You need to be resourceful, versatile and disciplined. There will be times of stress and worry, and only a passion for what you’re doing will carry you through.
But if it works for you… well, then you may never look back.
If you’re teetering on the brink of a decision, here are 8 signs you may be ready to take the plunge - and if you are, make sure to grab our FREE GUIDE at the end!
1. You’ve got your product or service sussed.
The most important sign? You know what you’re going to do.
It doesn’t need to be a final, polished proposition - you can, and should, launch when your proposition is viable as opposed to waiting for perfection, or you’ll risk never getting started.
But you do need to have a product or service that you know is feasible. You must be sure that it solves a definite pain point, and you need to know whose pain point it solves.
2. You’re ready, and willing, to become a jack of all trades
While you’re an expert in your own field, that doesn’t mean to say you can deal with all the other aspects vital to running a small business - sales, marketing, accounting, legals, technology…
Welcome to the world of self-employment! But, unless you can afford to outsource, you’ll need to get your head round the basics at least.
If you’re worried about handling your own tax or financial affairs, talk to one of our friendly tax experts about our affordable, monthly payment plans designed for you.
3. You want more control.
If you’re at a point in your career where you feel your ideas aren’t getting the appreciation they should, or you don’t want to be told what to do, or you’re not being rewarded for the effort you put in, going solo gives you the chance to call the shots.
4. You’re ready to talk money.
Love it or loathe it, you’ll need to be comfortable talking about money.
Our tip? Undercharging is a big issue for freelancers and the self-employed - take the time to make sure you pitch your services at the right rate.
Some signs you need to think again about your charges are that tasks are consistently taking you longer to complete than quoted, you’re comparing yourself with competitors and trying to undercut them or - worse - you’re working for free.
It may take some trial and error, but work out your rates, make sure they reflect what you’re worth and stick to them.
5. You can manage your own workflow.
For the self-employed, it’s very simple - if you don’t work, you don’t get paid.
Some people really struggle without the fixed structure afforded by an employed role, and it’s all too easy to be distracted when working from home. It is absolutely crucial that you are a self-starter, able to motivate yourself to get going and fulfil your work on time.
6. You’ve got a good network of contacts
And if you haven’t, get ready to do some networking!
Despite our increasingly digital world, face-to-face networking remains a crucial part of growing your business, boosting your personal exposure and forging strong relationships with potential clients and business allies.
If you’re an introvert, this may be your idea of hell - but all is not lost!
According to this fantastic piece from The Guardian, you make the best networkers because people love a listener. Check it out for some tips on how to make the whole process a little less toe curling!
7. You’ve got a Rainy Day Fund
Do make sure you’ve got a safety net put to one side to cover your expenses while you get momentum going.
You’ll have enough on your plate getting set up and launched, and both you and your business will suffer under the added pressure of having to earn enough to cover your day-to-day bills.
If things take longer than you hoped to get moving, you need something to fall back on to make sure you can keep your stress levels down and your focus on building your business.
8. You’ve got a genuine passion for what you do.
Above all else, what will drive you and your success is a passion for what you’re doing.
It will translate into your communications with others, boosting your sales. It will help you push through the bad times, when clients are difficult or the work dries up.
It will help you stay self-motivated. And it will drive you to keep learning, to keep on top of trends, stay agile and improve your offering.
So you’ve decided you’re ready to take the plunge and become Self-Employed - what next?
Get yourself going on the right path today with our Free Guide.