As people are having difficulties finding new jobs in today's job market, many are opting for self-employment. They look for ways to create a living out of their own skills and initiative rather than waiting to be hired by some employer.
For many, it's a viable alternative. For many others, it can turn into a disaster.
Is going into business for yourself the answer?
Maybe… or maybe not. Here are some observations and things to consider…
It's not for everyone! As with my own experience when I first went out on my own… it's not usually the way you think it will be! I had been in the recruiting business for 18 years with a great deal of success prior to opening up shop on my own. My first few months were terrible as I enjoyed my independence and setting my own schedule. It's great to have flexibility, however, the lack of expectations from anyone else led to very little real work getting done on my part. While I thought I had a lot of self-discipline as an employee, I found I didn't apply the same work ethic when I was my own boss! After a time, I realized that if I didn't buckle down, I would lose everything.
Not everyone has the self-discipline to schedule their own day as well as someone else might schedule it. If you're someone that needs a traditional employment structure to be as productive as you can, then self-employment may not be for you. It can certainly be learned, and many people adapt easily, however, it's important to be very aware that it will be different. Even if you've been in a job where you worked very independently, it will be different when no one else has expectations about your performance other than you.
What would you do? The possibilities are endless. However, not everything can pay the bills. Taking the time to figure out what you would do, and how much you could/would earn is crucial. Knowing what you want to, or can do is the start.
Ask yourself questions…
- Would you do the same kind of work you've done as an employee for someone else?
- Would you build a business out of a hobby or interest?
- Would the work be seasonal or year-long?
- Would it require a storefront, office, truck, tools, equipment, home office, etc.?
- How quickly could you make money?
- How much could you charge / earn?
- How many customers would you need?
- How would you find customers?
- How long can you go without an income?
- How will you cover health insurance? How much will it cost?
- How much demand is there?
- How much are customers willing to pay?
- How much competition is there?
- How much do they charge?
- How many people fail?
- How committed are you?
- How much do you want to do it?
- Is your family supportive?
- Are you capable of dealing with risk?
Be honest with yourself! Answering these questions as honestly and accurately as possible will help you make a reasonable decision. There will be obstacles, and they can certainly be overcome. However, understanding all the factors and going in wide-eyed will make you better informed and better prepared.
Should you consider self-employment? Only you can determine that for yourself. For many people, however, it's an option that certainly ought to be considered. It may be the end of your job search and the beginning of the greatest adventure of your life!