Career Advice:

Becoming Your Own Boss

So you are thinking about leaving the comfort (or discomfort) of your corporate office. You want to give it a go on your own and declare yourself a free agent. In all fairness to yourself, you should give yourself an honest self-appraisal by taking a look at the questions below in an effort to avoid failure.

  • Do you already have a large client base willing to follow you?
  • Are you ready and willing (and able on some accounts) to take on administrative, marketing and technical support issues that you are used to having being taken care of for you by others?
  • Do you have a business plan that will help ensure that the gamble is going to pay off for you?

If you can honestly answer positively to the above questions, you may be on your way. But we still have some tips for you to consider before you reach the point of no return.

Test the waters
Jump in! But not completely at first. Freelance a bit. Get out there and see what it is really going to be about. Try out different customers and see how easy or difficult it may be for you to meet their needs on your own. See what it is like to put in all these hard working hours for a project and have to wait two months to see the money for it. Attempt expansion. Try to cultivate some new clients and see how that goes. Keep your business antenna up at all times and jump in whenever and wherever you can.

Save your pennies
Start stocking up on the cash reserves now. Your paying client base may not be stable when you are first starting up. Then there are the unanticipated start-up and maintenance costs to contend with. You may need to renovate a space or rent an office so you will have somewhere to work from. The cost of a capable and dependable computer to work on can be rather expensive too, not to mention all the other supplies and furniture you will need for your new work space. Oh yeah, and a coffee machine. Many new freelancers do not have enough of a financial cushion to fall back on in times of need. Slow times may be ahead and you will feel much more at ease knowing you have something in the bank if push comes to shove.

Be honest with yourself
Take a few moments to ask yourself some honest-invoking questions related to your past position. It can be very difficult to go it alone and many people do not realize how much they depended on others for their own successes until it is too late. You may have been the brightest shining star at your office, but would you have really shone so very brightly without the rest of your team? Did you take the fact that the customers you have walked in your door and you didn’t have to go find them yourself into consideration? What affect did others have on your career achievements? Believing that your greatness will overcome is a positive and healthy way to feel, as long as you truly do believe that it can and will get you where you want to be.