One Career, Assembly Required

Posted on: Aug 23, 2016

Building a career in self-employmentFancy working for yourself? There are countless opportunities for self-employment out there, and as you can pretty much run a business from a smart phone these days, there really is no excuse not to give it a go.

Whether you have a specialist skill set that’s in demand, motivation to manage a small team, or a product that you’re passionate about, you can make it happen. You can create your own little empire during your free time, alongside your day job or instead of it.

But be ye warned; building a career in self-employment is like building a flat-pack desk from a well-known Swedish retailer– there is some (i.e. a LOT of) assembly required. And you won’t get far without the right tools and endless patience. So grab your tiny wooden pencil, put the meatballs to one side, and write this down.

You will need the following tools and materials:

Patience (but not too much)
You're not going to have a fully functioning business in a week, so you have to know when to take a deep breath, look at the bigger picture, and just wait. Don’t be that person constantly sending ‘did you get my email?’ follow-up emails to prospective clients. They got your email. But patience is a funny one as sometimes, not having it can be also good. When I started out I was impatient to get as many clients as possible, and I was also impatient to be able to support myself financially just on my freelancing income, which helped me to push myself and the business forward.

It takes a certain amount of arrogance to be self-employed. You have to have pride in what you do and not be afraid to shout about it. Because guess who’s going to be a one-man PR, marketing and communications department, telling everyone you know about your new venture and writing all the social media posts that are basically free advertising for your business? You are.

A Big Mouth
An extension to the above, you’ll need a big mouth for all the networking (online and offline) that you’ll be doing to build up your business. I don’t care how shy you are when you walk into that room full of strangers, you need to dig deep, find your inner Big Mouth and use it. Standing in the corner clutching a handful of business cards and hoping someone will take pity on you is not an effective strategy (trust me, I know). A Big Mouth is also useful for: overcoming phone fear, making short videos to share online, saying yes to doing presentations and seminars (I'm yet to get to this stage!).

Fast, reliable internet
You always forget how vital it is until the day it’s on go-slow. Then you want to hurl your laptop out of the window.

Lists. Lots and lots of lists
To-do lists, lists of targets and goals, lists of other businesses in your area you can connect with, lists of online resources, lists of other freelancers you can collaborate with, lists of networking events... the most basic, simple and useful business tool there is.

So if you've always wondered if you've got what it takes to start working for yourself, remember that time you successfully assembled a three-door wardrobe without weeping and know that you have. 

Right, I think we’ve earned our bag of mini Dime bars now.

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