For most people, the very thought of leaving a full-time permanent job and making the move to self-employment can make them feel anxious. That can often be the reason why it’s so difficult to follow through with those thoughts and sever the ties with their current employer.
I know this feeling all too well. I made the move to full time self-employment back in 2010 and I had those some feelings when making the move.
The whole success of future business plans and dreams may depend on you taking the plunge. However, it’s best not to make any hasty decisions until you have put a plan in place to manage yourself. This may seem strange, but you are about to make the move from being managed to managing yourself. This will mean you are solely responsible for your productivity, time, and success.
You need to take some time to plan and organize your transition well, so you can make the move and quit your job at the right time. Your business project may take time to get moving. This is one of the many reasons why some people choose to reduce their working hours gradually until they can make them move completely.
Let’s have a look at some of the basics you should look at when it comes to managing yourself when leaning into self-employment.
Change Your Mindset
Many people make the move to self-employment to get away from the dissatisfaction and stress of their current job. It can be really difficult to plan for the future when all you can think about is how to cope and stick it out until the time is right. Although it can be easier said than done, try thinking about your full-time employment differently, see it as a stepping stone to get you to where you want to be.
Rather than thinking about all the negatives of your current working situation, try to use each and every resource to your benefit. These are some of the things you must think about:
- Treating your salary as just an income stream will ultimately help you to do the job that you love
- Use any training, work hours, and tasks to improve the skills that you are going to need moving forward
- Make as many connections as you can if you will work in the same industry or even a similar industry
By making this sort of change, and focusing on what you have to gain from your current work situation, you will be able to use it as part of a comprehensive strategy to move. It will make it less of a nightmare when you do make the move.
If you feel as though you need more time to build the foundations of your future business then you may want to consider switching to a part-time position, taking some leave, or using some unpaid leave as a way to spend a little extra time on your new venture. It’s extremely common for people who are leaving full-time employment to make the move to part-time as a step in the right direction.
Build Your Finances
Navigating your way through the entrepreneurial waters can be challenging, especially when you first start. This means it is important for you to get prepared. Of course, starting slow can help you to navigate and become successful, but there are other things you need to consider too. You ideally need to make sure you have enough running costs of the business to run for 6 months as well as making sure you have enough to pay for living expenses. Remember, you will no longer have a monthly income in your bank account, and your finances rely solely on your success from being self-employed.
Some tips that could help include:
- Track all of your lifestyle expenses and analyze your spending habits, truthfully
- Draw up a realistic budget and identify where and how you can lower your lifestyle costs so they are at the absolute lowest during your start-up period. Make sure you get rid of unnecessary expenses and cut back on others, such as eating out or your weekly shopping budget
- Eliminate any money wasters such as unused subscriptions
If you can reduce or get rid of your debts like credit cards while you are still in employment.
Think about any expenses that you may need to pay out including social security, health insurance, self-employment taxes, include these in your plan.
Make sure you use the right tools for things such as invoices. Getting this right could be the difference between a healthy cash flow and a cash flow that is constantly playing catch up.
Use a separate business bank account. When you fully make the move to self-employment, it’s best to work using a business bank account. Instead of mixing up your finances. All you need to do is effectively pay yourself a wage from your self-employed bank to cover your living expenses.
Try to be money-savvy and cut back on costs where you can. Using tools such as Facebook and Instagram for marketing can help you to save on running costs.
Research Thoroughly And Run Tests
Whatever your idea for your business is, you need to make sure you research it thoroughly. Especially before you make the decision to move to it full-time. It is imperative that you make sure the product or service you are providing is viable and will solve a particular problem for a certain group of people. You should ask yourself things such as:
- Who will my customers be?
- How can I reach them?
- Who will be my competition?
- How can I be different and better?
- How much do I need to start?
- What are my expected earnings?
- How will I manage my workflow and cash flow?
- Where will I work from?
These questions should help you to think about how you can specialize in your particular service, or find a way to make your product more attractive than that of your competitors. It’s even better if you can spot a gap in the market that you can fill.
Research has found that 64% of customers are loyal to a brand that they have chosen because they share similar values with them. It is never too early to start thinking about your values and finding ways to make this connection with your customers. You could even use market research and surveys as a way to find out what is important for your customers, and what they feel could be improved on in the current markets.
If you already have a well-developed idea or business plan, you need to make sure you talk it through and test it out. Getting honest opinions from colleagues, family, and friends, as well as feedback from any existing clients can be a great way to make any improvements or changes before you commit to it full-time.
Learn How To Properly Manage Your Time
When you are thinking about making the move to self-employment, one of the first skills needed to make sure you have locked down is how to manage your time. You no longer have an employer telling you when tasks need to be completed and on what day. If you can practice doing this part-time before you make the move you should be able to easily transfer your skills to full-time. However, if you are going straight from employment to self-employment you may want to think about drawing yourself a tight schedule to start with, and only change it once you are confident you can manage your time well. You certainly don’t want to leave your 9 to 5 and find yourself still working at midnight because you just can’t manage your time.
You’re probably aware that you’ll need to cut back on binge-watching your favourite shows, reduce your time spent on social media, and stay away from other distractions, especially if working from home. You also need to be aware of hidden time consumers such as an ineffective meeting or getting stuck in your inbox for hours.
One of the most effective ways you can get into time management is to track your time using a timesheet and calculator At least for a few weeks, and definitely when you have a target to meet or an objective in sight. It’s also good to be aware of your personal productive hours. Everyone has them. They could be first thing in the morning, in the evening, or just after lunch, everyone can be different. That’s why teams of people are an effective way of working. But, you are your whole team so take note of when you are most productive and complete your more complex work then.
Leaping to self-employment can be challenging, however, if it is planned and organized well, your transition can be a smooth one. Surveys show us that the self-employed people are happier than those who are still working from 9 to 5. This is because they have better life-work balance, much more freedom, and can plan their work themselves.
As you can see there is a fair bit to consider when it comes to moving into self-employment, but if you give yourself a chance, some time, and focus on your self-management, you will succeed.