What to know before considering self-employment

Deciding to leave your 8-5pm job and go into self-employment is one of the biggest decisions one can make. There will be lots of questions. It will also be the greatest moment to test life decision-making skills.

However crazy this time may seem, this is your moment to re-organise and prepare to start afresh. Instead of spending your days worried about your next step, use that time to plan and organise your transition so that when the time comes, you have no papers left to file.

Rebecca Najengo, a business owner, says her transition to self-employment was mostly mental, and when the time came, she was ready to move.

“My transition was gradual but mentally, I kept building small businesses on the side until the time I felt like I was actually ready to move on and survive without the monthly salary I was getting. So, it was both gradual and mental,” she says.

Here are few things you should pay attention to during the transition process.

  1. Are you ready?

Many people transition to self-employment to escape the annoying boss or stress at the office. The mistake most people make is looking at their current employment as a burden yet it should be a climbing stone to self-employment.  So, while you plan your transition, change your negative attitude towards your current employment and employer and learn the basics and their selling strategies.

Remember, your salary is your income stream for the venture you’re planning to launch. Also, learn extra skills while at your employment and utilise every opportunity for learning from others but most importantly try to grow your network. Make as many connections as possible, especially in the industry you plan to enter.

  •  Planning process

Planning is a very big factor in anything you do because it will prevent a lot of problems and help you achieve your goals according to plan. Draft a concrete plan for your transition and make sure it is realistic. Find information about your industry and ask friends or acquaintances who are already there to give you a heads up on important information and new developments. Also, draft a budget and find out if you may need a partner or extra funds. The take away here is, plan your transition.

  •  Financial preparation

This is the most important of all; do you have the money to invest? Are you planning to take a loan? What are the sources of income? This part can really get to your head if you don’t plan properly beforehand. It’s recommended that you have enough money to run the venture for at least six months as you look forward to profits. But also, you have to make some life alterations if you want to survive.

First, change your spending habits and cut on lifestyle expenses. Probably find cheaper products or buy long lasting products. Also, consider an insurance plan. This will make it easier on you as you start out but have an insight in all this.

  •  Industry research

For any idea to be successful, there must be background research done. How much you know about the industry encourages your ability to win. Research thoroughly and ensure that your venture will solve a certain problem in the community or industry. The best ideas are solution based.

Ask yourself the following questions:

  • What is missing?
  • Who will be your customers?
  • How can you reach them?
  • What do they do?
  • Who else is doing it?
  • What uniqueness can you exhibit or how different you can be?
  •  Mentorship

Having someone to guide and encourage you makes the process easier. Find experts in your industry and make them your manuscript; they have experienced the ups and downs involved and have found ways to navigate them. They know where to get the best and who to interact with. Make their contacts your contacts but respect their boundaries.

In all this, choosing to be self-employed is a huge decision and is one of the best ways to grow both financially and emotionally. Make sure you’re completely ready to dive in, otherwise you may drown. But also, don’t be afraid to leave that job. Self-employment is often the best thing that can happen to anyone.