Many of my career articles to date have focused on supporting people through career change, job searching and interview techniques, CV writing and Career related top tips. However, this month I am going to focus on self-employment. What if you have got to that point in your career where you no longer want to work for someone else, on their terms, their agenda and ultimately their profit? How do you make that leap in to self-employment, particularly at a time when everything in the world around you is so uncertain and changing so fast!?
I left a secure and well paid job at the BBC because I felt I needed to carve out my own career, on my own terms. Whilst it was very daunting and stressful, I have learnt so much along the way – and I continue to learn every single day.
So, if you are considering carving out a career for yourself and becoming self-employed here are some of the things you should consider:
- Be clear about what you have to offer – what are your skills, strengths, experience, knowledge and expertise and qualifications (if necessary). This is key in understanding your value. A few Career Coaching sessions can really help you explore these further.
- Understand the true value of what you offer – explore the market and talk to as many people as you can to find out how much they will value what you offer – what are they looking for and how can you support or serve them?
- Identify you target audience – create an ‘Avatar’ to represent your niche/ideal client, who are they? Are they a specific age or gender, where will you find them, what do they do, what are they like i.e are they other Entrepreneurs, Corporate clients or students etc.? Be as specific as possible.
- Do a SWOT Analysis – [Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities (Options) and Threats]. Be honest with yourself in analysing these and look at the weaknesses and threats to determine what is realistic and in your control.
- Create a viable business plan – map out all the work you have done so far and step back to reflect with objectivity what you want to achieve
- Be SMART with your business goals – Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely
- Hire a Business Coach – talk through your plan with a professional to ensure you haven’t missed anything, you are maximising your potential, you are asking yourself the right questions
- Look at the Gov.UK website for all the information you’ll need about setting yourself up as Self Employed and managing your Tax
- Research – research your audience and market continually to identify current trends and market changes
- Network like crazy – attend as many networking events as possible to get your ideas out there and gather as much useful (and free) advice and information as you can. Join groups that will support you in business such as your local Chamber of Commerce.
- Create your Brand Identity – in todays’ market it is essential to understand what your Business and Personal Brand is so you can connect directly and clearly with your audience. Investing in a Brand Designer is really worth it. I have worked with Brand Advisor and it’s great to have someone to give you professional branding perspective.
- Be Social – the power of social media is only going to increase, so make sure you have a presence on all the social media avenues as well as a website. Be clear about where your ‘avatar audience’ will be watching / listening.
Finally, be prepared to get it wrong – every day is a learning day, so don’t wait until everything is perfect to take action, or you will never do anything. Be prepared to fail, learn from it and move on