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How to be successfully self-employed

Working under your own direction can be a very liberating experience. But it can also go south quickly if done incorrectly. Make sure your self-employment is successful with the help of these tips.

Working women
woman working from home

Know yourself

There is an abundance of jobs you can undertake as a self-employed worker. But what’s most important is that you know yourself, know your skills and know what you want to achieve. Working for yourself can be hard, especially at the beginning. So make sure you are passionate about what you plan to do and are able to see it through to the end. You should also take a hard look at your skills and ensure you are fully trained in all areas of the career you want to undertake.

Treat it like any other job

Undeniably, being your own boss and making your own hours have plenty of benefits. But those pros can quickly become cons if you aren’t careful. When you work for someone else, you are responsible for showing up on time, being prepared and committing 100 per cent to the tasks at hand. When you’re self-employed, you still have those same responsibilities — only to yourself. This makes it even more crucial that you are fully dedicated, or you will be solely responsible for letting yourself down. And that’s a terrible position to be in.

Write it all down

Keeping track of your responsibilities and how to best accomplish them is crucial when you’re self-employed. Without guidelines and solid planning, you’ll do one of two things: You’ll either get nothing done, or you’ll try to do too much and burn yourself out. Instead, create a plan for yourself each day, just as your boss would do for you if you were working for someone else. Break it down in a way that’s most suitable for the job you are doing. For many people, a good method is to create a list of all the things that need to be accomplished in a week, and then separate those items into days. Then break each day into a rough schedule of when you will tend to each item. This will almost certainly change as you go, considering things may take more time or less time than you expected. But at least you’ll know whether you’re ahead or behind.

Rest up

Not only does that schedule you’ve created help to break down what you’ll be working on, it also helps you lay out when you won’t be working. And that’s just as important. Every once in a wine glasswhile you may have to work overtime, just as you would at a normal job. But it’s important you have time specifically dedicated to relaxing and unwinding. Without that time off, you’ll get tired more quickly and end up being less productive when you’re trying to work. And that’s a lose-lose situation.

Be smart with your money

When you’re self-employed, it isn’t as simple as showing up to work and being guaranteed a paycheque. Because you don’t necessarily know when money will come in or how much there will be, you have to be particularly smart about spending it. That means thinking carefully and weighing the pros and cons of any purchase you’re considering making. Of course, no matter what self-employment track you pursue, you will have to invest some money into it, whether that means setting up your office, buying necessary equipment, funding marketing, etc. The important thing is to ensure you spend money to advance your business only when absolutely necessary. You don’t want to miss out on valuable opportunities because you’re afraid to spend money, but you also don’t want to run out of financial backing. So whenever you’re considering an investment, ask yourself what you will gain by it and whether it’s necessary. When in doubt, get a second opinion from someone you trust.

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