It’s a hard road to being self-employed. Doubt, funding, and time management are just a few of challenges you can face when starting your own small business. However, it’s all worth it once you cut yourself that first paycheck from the best boss ever: You!
There is no strict playbook that will lead you to be prosperously self-employed. However, there are plenty of tips you can follow that will help set you up for success.
One of the main benefits that comes with being self-employed is that you get to make your own schedule. However, this should be something you strive to earn, not just award yourself on Day One.
Working from home in track pants, making time to cook up a hot lunch, and taking breaks whenever the moment strikes you. If you’re not used to these things, they can be quite intoxicating. If you’re not careful, your days can begin to fill with less and less productivity.
When you’re just starting out (or willpower is a struggle), set up a schedule as if you were walking into an office. Start at a certain time, take lunch at a certain time, and end your day at a certain time. Consistency is key. Once you have that and you know you have that, then start rewarding yourself. Those impromptu days off will be even sweeter when you know you’ve earned them.
Early on, it’s tough to get ahead when you’re self-employed. It becomes even harder when you don’t know yourself.
Before you even start down the road to self-employment, you better know if it’s something you have the right skills and attitude to accomplish. From your personality type to the way you apply your intelligence, everything matters when you’re the boss, employee, and rookie all rolled into one.
Luckily, there are a few handy websites that can help you learn more than you’d ever need to know about yourself. Not only will this site help you gain a deeper insight into your own personality, skills, and strengths, but can also help you understand who you might need to hire down the line to fill those gaps.
All this talk about setting yourself up for success leads us to the most important way you need to do that: Start cheap. Start small. Start Lean.
Bet small, win small is a motivational line that belongs at the poker table and should not be applied when it comes to starting your own small business. Limit your exposure by starting your business with less expenses. This can lead to more flexibility and small victories can mean profits instead of breaking even.
- Don’t: Start with a brick and mortar store to sell your product.
- Do: Set up a cheap/free ecommerce site.
- Don’t: Rent a space as your new yoga studio.
- Do: Go to your clients home or use public spaces like parks.
- Don’t: Buy every piece of expensive equipment needed for a new renovation business.
- Do: Specialise in one thing and slowly expand.
A final tip for buying any tools and equipment you might need: Buy the cheapest option for everything the first time around. If it breaks, gets worn down, or you’re annoyed with its quality, you know you use it a lot. Then, buy a better one. That way you spend money on the stuff you frequently use, and less on the tools you don’t.
Build a cushion
A lot of business can come in waves, especially if you provide a seasonal service or product. Making sure you’ve built up enough of a cushion is essential to get you through slower periods. For many small businesses, it’s feast or famine.
Building a cushion also applies to your personal long-term goals. Don’t forget, a company isn’t setting aside money for you or matching your RRSP contributions anymore. Once you can, be sure to set aside enough for things like retirement or buying a house. Working for yourself is nice, but you still don’t want to do it until you’re 75.