(DailyThrive.com) – Self-employment is growing in the United States. As of 2015, about 15 million workers are self-employed. Those numbers are expected to continually grow over the next decade, mostly in response to the ever-expanding gig economy.
It’s no secret that developing your own business or joining the freelance segment of the workforce can be extremely rewarding. But there’s just one problem: where do you even begin?
It’s a big transition! Self-employment is different from your average 9-to-5 job, presenting its own set of benefits and challenges. But if you’re interested in making that leap, here’s a great place to start.
Know What You Want to Do
If you can monetize it, you can make a business out of it. The self-employment industry is made up of a huge range of markets, meaning your job could be pretty much… anything at all, really. But that doesn’t mean every option is wise.
Your first step in going to work for yourself is to decide what you want to do. Think about what you love to do already and whether or not someone might pay you to do it. How much money would you make if they did?
Having a clearly defined goal and position will help you set you apart from the crowds. It’s also a great start to finding the right market for your area of expertise.
Learn to Market Yourself and Make Connections
Whatever type of work you’re planning to do, you’ll need clients or customers. So it’s time to start asking yourself some important questions:
- What’s your target audience?
- How will you market yourself?
- What services will you offer, and why do they matter?
Getting your foot in the door is one of the most challenging parts of breaking into any industry, so we recommend reaching out to experts for advice. Make connections with people who have experience. Build a social media presence with sites like LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. You may have to start small, but you can get there with a little patience and commitment.
Set Simple, Tangible Goals
You don’t need to do everything at once — and in fact, you shouldn’t. It is actually possible to grow too big too quickly in self-employment. Think tortoise, not hare.
Like any big task, it’s important to break up your business or freelance aspirations into smaller steps or goals you can work on over time. This can allow you to enjoy a bigger sense of accomplishment each time you achieve a new milestone. But it’s also a great way to keep your budgeting decisions smart and savvy.
Iron out Legal and Budgetary Matters
Often, the key to a successful job transition is in the details. Before rushing headlong into your dream, you might need to build a financial cushion so you can support yourself in the early weeks and months. This “float” of sorts ensures that a sudden emergency won’t sink you or leave you struggling to survive.
Other factors to consider when you’re starting out could include tax forms, LLCs, permits and additional legal documents. These types of details may vary depending on whether you’re planning to work from home, hire employees or work for a specific industry.
Become the Master of Your Time
Another factor that makes self-employment so appealing to workers is its flexibility. While some contractor job positions tie you to a specific boss and number of hours, many self-employed folks get to be their own masters. YOU set the rules. YOU decide when and where you work, which can open up a whole world of opportunities you might not have considered.
But there is a catch. You’ll require exceptional self-motivation and discipline — and not everyone has those skills right away. The good news is that they’re easily practiced and you will improve at time management as you go.
Schedule every hour of your day, at least for the first little while. Remember to include blocks for breaks, sudden emergencies, and other unforeseen circumstances. Stick as closely to your schedule as you can and you’ll avoid overwork, burnout, or missed tasks.
Self-employment is a chance to succeed at the job you’ve always wanted to do. Whether that’s crafting or coding, what you put in is very literally what you get out of it. Keep these points in mind as you start on this new journey — you just might find yourself in the driver’s seat of the most rewarding profession you’ve ever had!
~Here’s to Your Success!
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