How to become self-employed in 6 steps
So you've been daydreaming about bidding farewell to your corporate job, pursing your passion and becoming your own boss? Congrats! That is a thrilling and exciting new chapter of your career life! But before you cut the cord, there are a few things you need to do in order to get your ducks in a row.
Before becoming a freelancer or a business owner, there are steps you need to take in order to ensure a smooth transition and avoid the panic that might hit later after your last pay check. Here are the top 6 steps you need to take before taking that leap of faith.
1. START SAVING THOSE PENNIES
One of the very first steps to take as soon as you decide to do this, is to start saving money to act as a net for you in the first few months as well as cover any initial investment costs. The best way to do it is to basically calculate all your basic expenses per month (that is bills, food, gas, mortgages, and so on). Then take this total and multiply it by 6. That is what you will need to save before you quite your current job so that you at least have your expenses covered for the first half a year without a job.
This will definitely mean on the short term scarifying some holidays, splurging on shopping and eating out but keep your eyes on the ball and keep saving those pennies!
2. START A SIDE HUSTLE
Before handing in your resignation, make sure you start working your new side hustle. This would definitely mean working hard for a few months but it will also help you get a feeling of how your new business would go and what you need to work on still before going solo full time. One friend of mine who now runs a huge blog in Dubai told me that for a year before leaving her corporate job, she worked day and night on content for her blog and that meant not getting any holidays or weekends. But it definitely paid off in the end.
3. CRAFT A REALISTIC PLAN
Sit down on your weekend and start crafting your mood board. Start with asking yourself where you need to be in 5 years with pursuing your passion and then work backwards. What is it that you will need to achieve? What sort of jobs/business line do you want to focus on and how much money do you need to have a healthy business? Write it all down.
Next, start writing ideas, any ideas that come to your mind, big or small. Ideas for collabs, monetizing your business in different ways, branching out to other lines of businesses and more. These might come in handy later.
Last, make sure its a realistic plan. Meaning, you cant put "generate a million USD in my first month" as part of your plan. Instead, start with small milestones so that would definitely decrease your disappointments and keep your motivation high.
4. BARTER YOUR WAY IN
In the beginning, it wont be so wise to invest heavily in your business especially if you are running on personal savings. So the best way to do it is through bartering. Chriselle Lim of The Chriselle Factor mentioned that to start her blog, she asked a friend of hers who was just starting her photography business to help her create content. They both ended up in really good places as they both strived and worked together to create their brands.
So, start by collaborating with small brands or freelancers who are just starting. Check out who can help you from your friends. Or offer sessions/training/free goodies in return of services or favors. This way, you wont need to spend too much and you will still get what you want.
5. MANAGE THE LOGISTICS SMARTLY
There a lot of logistics that comes with running your own business: Finance, billing, work spaces, website...etc. All those administrative tasks that will take from your time and that you wont get paid to do.
So word to the wise, start taking care of all of this when you still have a steady pay check. Set up your business and do your paper work. Figure out taxes if you need and all the legal stuff. And set up a pricing and billing system before the kick off, so you are good to go from Day 1.
6. BE PREPARED TO WORK 10X HARDER
People usually have the wrong impression about self-employed folks. They think they spend their day lounging on a coach, binging on netflix and occasionally working. Wrong. Having spoken to more than a handful of people who run their own business, they all confirmed that they had to work their fingers to the bones and work at least 10X harder to get the business where it needs to be or in case of freelancing, to build their brand and clients list.
Also, running your own company means that you take care of 100% of all issues, deal with all your customers directly, manage employee relations (if you are hiring) and do your core job that is your passion.
There’s no doubt, deciding to quit your full-time job in favor of being self-employed is thrilling. But, it’s also pretty overwhelming and stressful.
Check the above things off your list before submitting your notice, and you’ll be all set up for your future as a successful entrepreneur and business owner!
Any other tips from aspiring entrepreneurs out there? Share in the comments!