By Jo Gifford Run your business How to take the first steps into self-employment 11 Mar 2015 To leave the confines and security of a regular wage to become your own boss is an exciting moment. In this article, we take a look at what you can do to make the transition into being your own boss as easy as possible. Becoming self-employed can be a life changing moment. There will be highs and there will be lows but the opportunities are endless. The pitfalls can also be enough to change your mind when the going gets tough. Self-employment is not for everyone. The journey of an entrepreneur is as much about personal development as it is about business. Is self-employment right for you Are you hard working? Are you ambitious? Are you a self starter? Do you long to create your own lifestyle and be your own boss? Can you hold it all together when the stakes are high? If you answered yes to the above, then the likelihood is yes, it’s right for you but there are several factors to bear in mind when making such a big life choice: 1. What’s your ‘WHY?’ Ask yourself why you want to go self-employed in the first place. Is it to be in charge of your working day, to have flexible working, to spend more time with the family? Keep in mind your reasons – your “whys” – to ensure you stay true your vision when dealing with decisions, clients, schedules and the bigger picture. Knowing why you made this leap will also help to anchor you during busy or stressful times. 2. Be prepared In the early months of a new endeavour, cashflow can be a major stress factor. Whilst you’re building your business and acquiring new clients, ensuring your overheads are as low as possible can really help. Be prepared to cut back on a lifestyle you enjoyed while on a wage while the business builds. Any funds you can save as capital and cashflow as a cushion before going solo will go a long way to make life easier. 3. Keep learning Personal development and career enhancing skills are important now you are the boss. Find courses (either online or off) to support your development. Read books, journals, blogs and newswires related to your niche. Ensure you continue to develop both personally and professionally. 4. Build your support team Every entrepreneur needs a support team of sorts in order to stay on the right track. The team may consist of: Supportive friends and/or family An accountant A business coach or mentor A mastermind group Peers and associates An assistant A business advisor These roles will develop over time, so seek the right form of advice and support when you need it. Begin to form a team of individuals who are an essential part of your success. Starting your own businesses is a huge learning curve, with new challenges which may be outside your skill set. Ensure you connect with the right people to make the transition much easier. 5. Staying connected and human Many entrepreneurs begin their business journey working alone, so connecting with others in the same situation can be a lifeline. Research local networking groups, discover online support and connections to help nurture you socially. Neglecting your need to be human and to mingle with other people as part of your business life is a common reaction when working hard at a start up business. Make sure you are able to get out and about when you need to. If you are ready to take charge of your career and earning potential, self employment is a wonderful opportunity. Be as prepared as possible for the challenges which may present themselves, and the transition to being the CEO of you will be much, much easier. Jo Gifford mentors solopreneurs to tell their business story online and to work in smarter, creative ways on www.dexterousdiva.co.uk.