Working for yourself can be a long and arduous career path; however, there can be plenty of rewards in being your own boss too. While not everyone is cut out for self-employment or has that true entrepreneurial spirit, it seems to almost come naturally to others. And for many of us who are stuck in the in-between, we have to work very hard to remain in the self-employed world. This is why over the nearly seven years that I’ve worked as a self-employed individual, I’ve noted certain key elements that have helped me achieve success when working for myself.
Preparing for the long run
Working for on your own or starting a small business can involve a lot of time and energy. It can also take some time to determine whether your venture will work out as planned and be profitable. I just heard someone say the other day that they felt that if a business isn’t profitable in three years then they consider it a hobby. But three years can be a long time to sweat and struggle when working on your own.
Being ready not only mentally but financially as well to tough it out for a several years or longer to determine whether you will make it as an entrepreneur can help you prepare your endurance to weather the trials and tribulations that can come with being a solopreneur. Setting up goals – both long term and short – formulating a business plan, creating budgets and forecasts, as well as tracking a variety of business-related items such as expenses, profit margins, and business cycles, could all be involved in helping you better ready yourself for life working on your own.
Not falling for the one-trick pony
Some people get so fixated on one type of business or entrepreneurial endeavor that they fail to take advantage of other opportunities that are presented along the way. Someone who opens a cleaning service might fail to see that there is a bigger market for their cleaning supplies or a particular branch of their service (carpet cleaning, office versus home cleaning, stone care, etc.) rather than a generic all-around cleaning service. Not getting so wrapped up in your business the way it sits at the moment could allow you to focus on one particular area, to branch off in another direction completely if things aren’t going exactly as planned, or even branch out into a number of products or services.
Not seeing the forest for the trees
Sometimes it seems like there are just so many hats to wear in running your own operation that there aren’t enough hours in the day to get all those various tasks completed. From sending invoices and paying bills, to budgeting, tracking, marketing your products or services, and advertising your company, it’s easy to get lost among some of the more menial (although still important to the daily operation of the business) activities.
While the day-to-day managerial tasks involved in the functioning of your business may be crucial, they can obscure the longer-term outlook and strategic planning involved in growing and expanding your operation. Not getting so focused on meeting certain numbers or short-term goals that you sacrifice the bigger picture can be critical to long-term success. For example, cutting a research and development or advertising budget line might mean hitting your numbers for the month, but it could destroy your future sales, leaving you out of luck when it comes to hitting your annual goals.
Therefore, while it’s important to get those more menial activities done, it’s also important not to get so wrapped up in them that you lose sight of the more major targets and objectives.
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The author is not a licensed financial, small business, career or entrepreneurship professional. This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute advice of any kind. Any action taken by the reader due to the information provided in this article is solely at the reader’s discretion.