Contributed article in our business series. Enjoy! – Kimberly
Many people like the idea of working for themselves but don’t want to or are unable to make the investment into setting up a business with all the overheads of renting premises and employing staff. Fortunately, the Internet has opened up a whole new world of possibilities for you to work from home, an approach that requires only modest investment and is full of opportunities for self-employed work.
If you have the desire and the drive to be successfully self-employed, it can be a highly rewarding lifestyle, and once you’re established, you can quickly expand into running a more extensive business if you so wish. In order to make a decent living from your self-employed work, you just need to make sure there is a market for your offer, and that you have the skills to manage to be your own boss.
Identifying Your Skills
Everyone has a skill set they’ve built up, but not all of them are adaptable to working from home. There are two key factors to consider before you decide what kind of work to take on.
- The first is what skills do you have that you can use in a self-employed capacity?
- The second is what kind of work do you want to do?
For instance, you might be a highly qualified accountant, a role that could readily be adapted to a home working model; however, if you’re tired of crunching numbers, will you have the motivation to build up a client list? Or would you be happier pursuing a hobby-based venture, such as selling your own crafts?
There aren’t many roles that don’t have some form of online application; even hands-on jobs like health care have opportunities for medical professionals to take on advisory roles. The point is, you should combine your knowledge with a career path that you’re going to enjoy and be excited about. If you don’t, it will be hard to motivate yourself to get stuck into your work every day.
In addition to your professional skills, you’ll also need the right personal qualities to work from home. You have to be able to get up every day and work for eight hours or more without getting distracted, be prepared to work odd hours at times, and be comfortable working on your own for much of the time. Can you avoid procrastination? If there’s no one driving you on, will you use your time productively, or get into bad habits? These are issues that need careful consideration, because they could make or break your home working venture.
Preparing Your New Business
Being self-employed is no different to running a large business, in that you need to have a business plan, a budget, a marketing strategy and all the equipment and facilities you require to operate efficiently. The scale may be smaller, but the principles are the same. Therefore, you need to research your market and find out what role you could take on that people would pay for. It doesn’t matter how skilled you are in your area of expertise, if there’s no call for your talents, or the market is already saturated, you won’t pick up enough customers to make your venture viable.
If you find there aren’t the opportunities in your chosen field, consider whether you have transferable skills that you could use to start out in a whole new sector, or utilize your existing expertise in new ways. For example, if you’ve been working as a historian, could you move into genealogy and build a business based on helping people trace their family tree? Or if you’ve worked in retail and have expertise in selling, could you start an online sales business?
This could be an opportunity to branch out into a whole new field, providing you take the time to learn the ins and outs of the market. For instance, stock brokers used to have to work at a stock exchange, but it’s now possible to buy and sell shares from your home. If you’ve got a head for figures and the idea excites you, there are several options for setting up as a trader working from home. You’ll need to take courses to ensure your competency, but there’s a wealth of advice online concerning trading, such as the Nova X review, that can give you a guiding hand.
If you’re thinking of entering a new field, make sure it’s something you enjoy, in which you can use your existing skills and knowledge. Adding to the skillset you already have is perfectly achievable, but it’s harder to start from scratch and build a whole new set of skills. Part of your marketing will need to focus on your authority in your field, which will be far harder to establish if you’re new to that particular sector.
If you’re not sure which option to go for, or whether you have sufficient drive to run a business from home, start a side business and test the waters. You’ll have the reassurance of still earning from your main job, while you learn whether the path you’ve chosen to independence is the right one.
Running a side business is hard work because you’ll have two jobs taking up all your time; but if you can manage the workload and start to build a business with just a few hours each evening, imagine what you could achieve if you were pursuing your venture full time. If the project doesn’t prove profitable, you can work out why and see if it’s possible to effect changes that would make success more likely. Or, if you find you don’t have the commitment or interest you need, you can consider alternatives without having risked too much.
Working for yourself is rewarding and enjoyable if you have the right combination of skills, dedication, and a suitable marketplace. If taking on a full-scale business feels beyond your reach, why not consider starting out with a more modest approach; you never know where it could lead.by