Self-employment is on the rise as people struggle to find stable jobs with good benefits. In fact, almost 15% of Americans now work for themselves, including almost a third of millennial workers. Working for yourself can be challenging and you’ll need to wear a lot of hats at once. From coming up with ideas for your business to managing inventory, taxes, and marketing; there’s a lot that goes into being your own boss. But if you have the grit, determination and support from friends and family you’ll succeed. If you are thinking about starting your own business but not sure where to start or what the process would be like— read on! Here are some important tips that will help you get started on the road to becoming your own boss.
Know your why #
This is the most important step of your journey. Before you decide to become self-employed you should know why you want to do this. This will help you to stay motivated and committed to your decision throughout the process. If you want to start your own business because you’re tired of being micromanaged and want more freedom on your job, that’s great. But if you are looking to become self-employed because you don’t like your 9-5 and you want to make more money, that’s not a good enough reason. At the end of the day you’ll be your own boss and will be responsible for all the decisions you make. And if you don’t like the hours or feel that your business is in a good place financially you won’t be able to walk away like you can with a regular job.
Network, network, network #
This is one of the most important steps in getting your business off the ground. You should start networking as soon as you decide to become self-employed. This can be in person or online via social media groups and forums designed for entrepreneurs. These groups will help you connect with other people who are in the same situation as you— people who can give you advice, ideas and resources that will help you succeed. By using sites like LinkedIn or Facebook you can also look for people who work in industries similar to yours who might be interested in collaborating with you. By networking you’ll find people who can introduce you to other people who can help you get your business started. And you’ll also be able to connect with people in your industry who can give you insight on what’s working right now and what you should avoid.
Find the right talent #
If you are thinking about hiring employees for your business, you have to be careful. Some industries that have high regulations like healthcare and insurance, or require special licensing may not be the best fit for solopreneurs— or at least not until you’re more established. There are some industries that don’t require a lot of special licensing or certifications and are relatively easy to break into. If you’re not sure what kind of business you want to start you can look into what industries might be a good fit for a solopreneur. If you’re going to hire remote workers, though, you’ll need to make sure you have a plan in place to make sure your team is productive. There are a lot of tools out there that can help you manage your remote workers.
Write a business plan #
If you’re thinking about seeking outside funding for your business you’ll need to write a business plan. You can skip writing a full business plan if you are looking to bootstrap your business or are just starting out and don’t have any investors lined up yet. But if you want to get funding from banks, angel investors, or venture capitalists you’ll need to have a detailed business plan written out. For a bootstrapped business plan you can just write down some ideas for your business, how you will make money, and what your long-term goals are. But if you want to get funding for your idea you’ll need to write a much more detailed business plan.
Decide on your path #
There are a lot of ways to make money as your own boss. By deciding on the type of business you want to start and the path you want to take you can help accelerate the process. Here are some common routes people take to become an entrepreneur.
Service-based businesses: If you have a skill or something you’re particularly good at you can try to find people who would be interested in hiring you to do work for them. From web designers to graphic designers and more, there are a lot of people looking to outsource work they don’t have time to do themselves.
E-commerce: If you like the idea of owning your own store but don’t know what kind of product to sell, you can try to source products from manufacturers and resell them on an e-commerce store. This is a good route for people who are looking for a low-risk way to become an entrepreneur.
Consulting: If you are skilled in an area like programming or consulting, you can try to find companies who will pay you hourly or on retainer to help them. This is good for people who are more interested in the steady pay check than owning their own business.
Licensing or franchising: If you have a good idea for a product or service, you can try to find people who will pay you for the rights to open franchises or use your idea for a licensing fee. This is good for people who want to build a business but don’t want to run the day-to-day operations.
Bottom line #
Becoming self-employed can be a wonderful way to escape a toxic work environment or a job you don’t enjoy. It also gives you the flexibility to work whenever and wherever you want. But to succeed at self-employment you need to be prepared to wear many different hats and do a lot of different jobs. And you’ll need a solid plan for how to get your business off the ground. If you’re thinking about becoming self-employed it’s important to do your research first. Find out what industries are a good fit for solopreneurs, decide on the type of business you want to start, and get started on your business plan.