Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Is Self-employment Right for You? 4 Questions to Ask Yourself

This morning I was asked to give a presentation to a group of 5th graders about being self-employed. As I thought about what I was going to say to them, I realized there are plenty of adults out there who may be considering the same option. I decided to bring you a grown-up version of what I talked to the students about for today's blog post.

Many people launch a new business on a whim, thinking they just want to be their own boss. However, self-employment is not for everyone. It is certainly not for the faint of heart! To assess whether or not entrepreneurship is for you, ask yourselves these questions before you even begin the planning process.

Why do you want to be self-employed?
The most common reason I hear is that people want to be their own boss. While that is a benefit, that can also be a negative. As the boss, the sole responsibility falls on you. Although you get to choose who you work for, you can't always pick and choose your customers if you really want your business to thrive. You may consider reading this earlier blog post for other pros and cons of self-employment.

How flexible are you?
Being self-employed means dealing with the uncertainty of a changing income, changing economic conditions, as well as changes in your industry. As a business owner, you must wear many different hats. I am the customer relationship manager, operations manager, accountant, marketing executive, writer, and janitor of my business - and that was just today. Who knows what tomorrow will bring!

Are you self-motivated and disciplined?
There is no one looking over your shoulder to ensure you get your work done. No one is there to prevent you from sleeping in or taking a long lunch - you must have the discipline. There will be obstacles and difficulties to overcome almost everyday and you are the only one that can push yourself to tackle them.

Are you comfortable talking about yourself in front of strangers?
A business owner's best marketing tool is his or herself. If you are not willing to put yourself out into the community to network and make connections, it will be very difficult to get the word out about your business and its services.

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