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Transitioning from employee to independent

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Making that change is tough and takes very specific qualities so the question is, how to make that transition. Is it worthwhile and are you prepared.

Large corporations for all of the politics, provide a safe environment. When we hit a snag or need help they offer us training, feedback and hopefully help solve the problem. Employees in many cases are offered promotions, mentors and a development plan.

And we get paid, that cheque hits our bank account monthly and allows us to pay our bills, plan vacations and save. I spent many years working for big paternalistic companies as well as small, medium and in most cases the same holds true. So making that change to becoming your own boss can be fantastic, scary and impossible so much depends on the basics.

I worked doing freelance and contracting and decided it was time to get a permanent job so I could save but in that time an idea was forming about going out on my own. What stopped me was my fantastic salary, bonus and package and FEAR.

Things to drive a recipe for success while you are still in work, use spare time to decide what you want to do as an independent. There are loads of options, contracting, fixed terms contracts running a bricks and mortar or/and online business, partial retirement, creating a new disruptive product the possibilities are endless and with the Internet access to information, markets and access is easier.

Over a third of millennial mums plan to start a business to find work-life balance

Once you decide the what, then do your research, take courses, start building out your plan. Talk to friends, colleagues, family and be sure your unique selling proposition resonates and understand who your target audience is. Before you start try and have six months’ of savings, a clear picture of your fixed costs and running budget. Remember there may not be a pay cheque for ages  Can you cope with uncertainty?

Are you comfortable with selling and marketing your business? Are you able to network, create and understand campaigns? To be successful you need to hustle and create a sales funnel. If this makes you feel uncomfortable then think twice about going it alone, work with someone else or if you have budget, there are companies you can hire to create that funnel for you.

The only person getting you business is you? If being a contractor is your mission you need marketable skills, a fantastic CV and are comfortable networking and bringing your achievements alive. Identify where your target customer base goes to find information including networking groups, industry associations etc.

Now you control your destiny and getting paid on time can be tough so setting up a good invoice and tracking system is essential. Try and track your work as you go, I set up my invoices, and clients in a spreadsheet there are some great tools and templates available to help make this easier so find the one that works and meet your business requirements.

Young people don’t want to work for you, so they’re opening their own businesses

Find out what you can expense and what you cannot. Find out how to set up your business, as a sole trader or a limited company. HMRC has information available and a great accountant can help.

Is it easy, worthwhile? It depends on the person, you control your day, hours, and work life balance but be aware starting a business takes time and you may find that balance even more elusive in the early days. Setting goals and a plan will make all the difference.

Working on your own can be good or bad depending on the person. Part of my work puts me in an office environment a few days a week so I get to have that interaction which for me is essential.

Plan ahead. Working for yourself can be lonely, unless you do something where you are in an office a few days a week or plan to meet up with likeminded friends every few days or plan to meet prospects and clients in person. Today there are great spaces where you can share offices, office space available and lucky for us, affordable and easy to find.

In summary, making the transition to becoming your own boss is exciting, scary, hard work, enjoyable and sometimes frustrating. If you start with the right attitude, research, preparation and the correct product or services then you are more likely to be successful.

And if you change your mind at least you would have given it a go. Enjoy the journey and every day keep learning.

Cindy Etsell is the author of Cooking Up Success

Britain’s entrepreneurs have now received £250m worth of investment from the government’s Start Up Loans programme.

Image: Shutterstock

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