Are You Ready For Self Employment?

by Waller Jamison

It's possible that friends and family are trying to convince you that self employment is the right move. Or perhaps you are trying to convince yourself!

Before you take the plunge, you need to think carefully about the implications. Are you actually ready for self employment at the moment?

There are several possible ways forward: you could leave your job completely and set up a full-time home business, or you could start out in your spare time, keeping your present occupation until your business takes off.

Alternatively, you might think about combining what you do now with self employment on a long term basis, so that although you own your own business, you don't rely on it completely. 

In order to make you decision you must first ask if you are ready for self employment in any of its forms. Not an easy question. However, there are some questions which can help you decide.

1. How much do you actually know about the business you are planning to get into?

When you start out in business, you are usually on your own, with no-one to point you in the right direction. So it is really important that you have some basic knowledge before you start out. Do you understand the products and services you will be selling? What is the demand? What prices will you be able to sell for ? And who are your competitors?

2. Which resources do you have at hand?

Depending on the business, the resources you need will vary enormously. At the very least, you are likely to need a workspace, a computer, with relevant software, a filing cabinet, stationery and a phone with an answering machine.

3. What are the start-up costs?

Money will always be a major and you need to be sure you can cover both start-up and ongoing expenses while you are waiting for the business to make a profit. If you plan to leave your job to become self-employed, rather than setting up in your spare time, you will need to have enough money to cover your expenses and to live for at least six months. So, get your calculator out, work out how much you need and check your savings.

4. Will you do everything yourself or will you outsource?

 Self employment involves a lot of tedious activities which you probably didn't have to do when you were employed. But if you work for yourself, you will have to do everything yourself, unless you can afford to pay someone else.

 If you can't do this now, you'll need to keep it in mind for later. A common example is someone to answer the phone - a lot of customers don't like answering machines or are impatient and so will phone around until they get a real person.

Then there are mundane things like ordering stationery and important tasks like keeping the books up to date, none of which may be things you enjoy

These are just a few of the main things you'll need to think about if you are considering starting your own business and which will help you decide if you are ready for self employment.