9 Things You Need to Know Before Ditching Your Day Job and Starting Out on Your Own

Are you tired of working hard for someone else’s retirement? Do you want to become self-employed and work for yourself? Do you lack the courage to ‘make the leap’ for fear of failure?

Read on for some inspiring reasons on why you should; and what you can expect when you do.

1. It’s all about the money

hundred dollars bills

One of the first things we think of when considering setting up on our own is how we are going to make ends meet.  Many of us have been used to a regular paycheck or salary and the thought of this safety net being removed is a scary one. It’s all very well someone else telling us to ’just do it’, but in the absence of a guaranteed regular income how will we pay the bills, the mortgage, or the rent, etc.?

Money, or lack of it, is one of the main reasons that hold people back from setting up their own business or changing jobs for a lower salary.

When you take the first step toward self-employment or a change of career, you don’t need to make huge radical changes if you cannot afford to.

2. Start making changes now

Try going part-time before you take the plunge, or at least start saving when you are still in full time employment so you have a buffer zone for your first few months of going it alone.

If you need to, retrain while you are still in your day job.

The trouble with not changing anything is that it is easier to give ourselves the never ending excuse of not having enough money, than to make the effort and finally take the plunge.

Look at it this way, what would you do if you were suddenly made redundant, or lost your job tomorrow?

3. Realize you are expendable

Just like everyone else you are expendable; no one is employed forever. Everyone is answerable to someone, even the big cheeses.  I am sure you have seen it yourself; an old timer leaves the work place and everyone wonders how they will possibly manage without them.

But they do.

In today’s world, nothing is for certain. And certainly not your paycheck.

4. Stop making excuses

Busy woman arriving at office and  drinking coffee

The message here is don’t procrastinate or put things off or you will never end up doing them.

Remember, often when you are starting out you don’t needs lots of stuff or fancy equipment.    If you are working from home, you don’t even need premises.

Smart small and expand as and when.

If you really want it to happen, you have to make it happen.

No one said it was going to be easy, but likewise it’s not as fantastically hard as some people make out either

The first step is to stop making excuses.

5. Have a plan, but be flexible

We are constantly told that the number one thing any business needs is a solid business plan.  Yes, a good business plan is important; you need to know whether your product or service is viable, but it is not the be all and end all.

The best thing you can have nowadays is an open mind and a flexible attitude with regard to the future.  You need to appreciate that things can and do change.  And if you are going to survive you need to have the flexibility to adapt to that change.

When starting out on your own, the right attitude is more important than your ability to draw fancy graphs and predict figures far off into the future.

6. It’s not just what you know…

It is not necessarily who you know either.  It’s about applying what you know to who you know.

At the end of the day you are in business to provide a service or a product which will in some way add value to another person’s life and/or business.

That’s what you get paid for.

It doesn’t matter if you are a self-employed hair dresser, a gardener or a business consultant.  The same rules apply.  You are providing a service or a product which enhances someone’s life..

And it you don’t believe that yourself, then don’t become self-employed in the first place.

In some ways it is better to have had experience working for someone else before going solo.   Because all those skills you have learned along the way will come in handy

You know what works and what doesn’t.  Because you have learned from other people’s mistakes about how one should or should not go about treating customers.

And that kind of knowledge is worth its weight in gold once you work for yourself.

It can mean the difference between success and failure.

7. Necessity is the mother of invention

office break time

When you work for yourself, no one is going to come along and criticize your work or tell you that’s the wrong way to do it, but on the other hand no one is going to come along and do all those tasks you don’t like doing either.

You will be doing stuff on your own; some things for the first time, and you will inevitably make some mistakes.

However, because you are working for yourself you will be astonished at just how productive you can be, and your problem solving skills will improve almost overnight.

This is because you will be a one-woman band responsible for everything from invoicing to making tea to marketing, and that’s even before you start earning money and doing the core stuff that makes you your real income.

8. Don’t run with the pack                                                                

Don’t copy other people’s blueprints of what works for them if you don’t think it will work for you.  Get creative and do something different if you feel the need.

And don’t worry about what other people think.

Do you think Anita Roddick cared about what other people thought when she set up The Body Shop, and promoted the ethos of fair trade with third world countries?

Be brave.

9. Believe in yourself

For years I plotted and planned my ’escape’ from the corporate world.  I had little plans drawn up in notebooks, ideas about what to call myself and what my website would look like, oh I had great ideas alright, but I lacked one thing…self-belief.

Instead I let other people’s doubts, fears and worries cloud my way.

That was my mistake.  Don’t let it be yours.

The main thing to remember is that being successful in anything we do isn’t about money and ‘things’.

Being successful means being happy with what you are doing. Right now.

And always remember; persistency and hard work coupled with the right mind-set do pay off in the end.

About the author

Eleanor Goold

As well as being an avid reader, Eleanor is also a big time animal lover; especially of dogs. If you have a tail, four legs and you bark…. you’re in! In her spare time she enjoys swimming, and vegetable gardening… but not at the same time (it can get a bit messy).

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