Are you hearing whispers at your current workplace of coming lay-offs? Are you tired of working so hard each day just to put money in the pocket of the owner of the company for which you work? Is the work that you are doing no longer enjoyable? Plenty of people in the United States are in the same situation. According to the What’s Working survey produced by Mercer, 32 percent of workers in the United States are considering changing jobs.
Surveys indicate that over the last couple of years most employees are working longer hours for less pay. Additionally, weekends are no longer safe from work-place intrusions. More than a third of workers regularly receive emails that need a response on the weekends from supervisors and co-workers.
Whether you are unhappy at your current place of employment or hoping to be proactive in case of job loss, you may be considering branching out on your own as a consultant or even starting your own business. Working for yourself is a big step. Consider these five tips before you step out into the small business world.
1. Start a Nest Egg.
If you haven’t already been cutting back on spending and saving for a rainy day, now is the time to do so. Even if you plan on keeping your full-time job for awhile, having some money in the bank can help you buy equipment or even just pay the bills in the early months of your new business venture. Cash in the bank can also help you take advantage of unexpected deals to help improve your business.
2. Take Advantage of Your Free Time.
Business owners must be self-motivated and efficient. Every minute counts when running your own business. Especially if you are trying to squeeze in a few hours work around your nine to five job, you must take control of your spare time. The days of mindlessly flipping channels in front of the television or aimlessly surfing the Internet will be over. This does not mean that you will never have time for fun or rest, but to be successful, you must be extremely intentional about the way that you use your free time. Using your evenings and weekends to work part-time is a tried and true way of starting a small business.
3. What Would You Like to Do?
You shouldn’t quit a job that you hate and invest hours of your life in a business just to do another job that you do not like. Look deep inside, and determine the type of work that you would enjoy. Do you like being with people, or are you more introverted? Do you love computer-based work, or do you enjoy hands-on, practical jobs? Be realistic and honest with yourself about what you would enjoy doing for the next 20 years.
4. Look at Your Talents.
Determine what talents you could offer to prospective clients. If you need additional training or licensing, you will want to work toward these goals. You may also want to look for a partner with whom you can work in order to widen the scope of services offered.
On the other hand, you must also realistically evaluate the things at which you are not skilled or talented. If you are amazing with numbers but horrible at writing, you will either want to outsource this part of your work or spruce up your abilities, perhaps by taking a technical writing course. Owning a business means that you will likely be solely responsible for all marketing, managing and accounting in the business, so you will need a wide range of proficiency. Honestly acknowledging your weaknesses is vital to the success of your business.
5. Address Marketplace Needs.
A good business plan will only work if people are willing to pay for your product or services. Do your research on the needs for your type of work in your area. You may want to begin by informally surveying family, friends or coworkers to see if they would be willing to pay for someone to do what you are considering doing. You can also attend industry conferences and expositions to stay informed of new trends and current ideas.
Almost every successful company started out as an idea that metamorphosed into a small business. With a bit of luck, some talent and plenty of hard work, you too can be a successful entrepreneur. Use these five tips to make your dream a reality.
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Derek is an active blogger. The following video is for business writing training.