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Successfully transitioning from employed to self-employed

How do you make sure that this career move is a success?

If you’re part of the gig economy with a side business (or two) running alongside your salaried job, or perhaps you want to be your own boss, transitioning to self-employed status is probably on your agenda. 

The advantages of being self-employed are many, including the opportunity to build a future for yourself which isn’t limited by what someone else thinks you ‘should’ be earning.

However, it is a big step and you need to make sure that you’ve thought through all the pros and cons before handing in your notice.

Take the time to answer these questions before you do anything and you’ll have done your due diligence on your business move.

1. How are you going to get clients for your own business?

Working with online client providers such as Fiverr is a stopgap at best, as they dictate your rates and have the client relationship, so you shouldn’t rely on them too much.

Are you used to building relationships both online, through sites like LinkedIn, and face to face at networking meetings and industry events?

Before you start, ensure that you’re active enough in the on and offline networking channels where your ideal clients hang out, so that when you introduce yourself, you aren’t a complete stranger and your profiles showcase your experience and attitude.

2. What would happen if you didn’t get any paying clients for three or even six months?

Financial strain leads to desperation and there’s nothing more off-putting to a potential client than a desperate supplier. Build up your savings, so that you can not only comfortably pay your monthly bills, but you have enough money to be present at relevant industry events and your website looks professional.

There’s plenty of advice online about your tax status and what you need to know in order to pay the correct NI amount, for example, so don’t ignore the experts.

Don’t forget when setting your day/project rate for a job that you won’t be paid for holidays, sick leave or pension contributions, so do some research on the market and set your monetary value at the correct level.

3. Could you work on your own all day?

Consider working in a shared office space, so that you have interaction with others in a similar situation. There are many other self-employed people out there, so do go to a co-working or jelly working event, to make some more contacts, as well as to be recharged with some human interaction.

You may also find someone to do a skill swap with, for some business admin that you don’t like!

4. Do you have the right equipment?

Wherever you plan to work, make sure that you have the right equipment and tools for your creations. Do your research on what those who have gone before you on the self-employment journey in your industry have put in place, and then decide what you need, before splashing out.

If you’re working from home, check your household and car insurance policies to make sure you’re covered for business purposes.

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