Some of us just weren’t cut out for the restrictive atmosphere of corporate life. We want to have choices about who we work with, when we work, where we work, and what kind of work we do. We may have family obligations that make a firm 8-to-5 schedule hard to keep. Or we may have turned to self-employment as a way to rebuild after loosing a more traditional job.
One big complaint about self employment is the financial instability it can bring. You may have more work than you can handle one week and absolutely none the next. How can you ensure your bills get paid on time come rain or shine?
Just as you would divide your money among different investments, you should consider developing a portfolio of skills and experiences which can enable you to market yourself in a variety of circumstances.
Real estate agents often flip properties on the side or become land lords. Lawn care businesses hang holiday lights during their off season. I have three separate businesses, which keep me employed no matter what. I care for aging and terminally ill patients, I’m a freelance writer, and I have an eBay business.
The best and easiest way to find your next client is to get a recommendation from your previous one. You can also get referrals from other professionals you encounter during the course of your work.
I meet a lot of health care professionals when they visit my homebound patients. They, in turn often know of other families who are looking for caregivers. Building relationships with others, and making a good impression on them keeps my business going.
Save for a Rainy Day
This can be tough to do if you’re living from paycheck to paycheck, but it’s an absolute must. One of my businesses only brings in $200-$300 a month, but it’s all extra money for me. I consider it my savings job, because this is the money I bank.
It gives me a great deal of comfort and satisfaction to watch that cushion in my savings account grow. During your busy times, try to put a little bit of the extra away, or consider taking on an additional part time job that can allow you to build a safety net.
This is another strategy for putting yourself firmly in the black when work is abundant, so you can survive the slow times. It can be as simple as paying your bills when you receive them instead of waiting until they’re due.
It can also mean paying your car insurance in full when you have the money instead of just making the minimum monthly payment, or trying to pay off a small credit card balance or other debt.
I had a credit card that I used to charge everything on every month – groceries, gas, movies, whatever. I paid it off in full when it came due, so there was no revolving debt, but each month I was paying for the previous month’s expenses.
When business was hopping and I had a little extra money, I started paying cash instead. Now I operate mainly on a cash basis. I give myself a weekly allowance, and that’s all I spend. Now I’m paying more attention to what I’m spending, and I’m making better choices.
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