How I Got my Start in Self-Employment

How I Got my Start in Self-Employment

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This article was written in 2017 in Website Magazine, but I think it still rings true today. It was excellently written by a 26-year old business owner. While I’m a wee bit older than him (actually much older, ha haa), anyway I agree with much of what he said. You can read the full article here.

Owning a business isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, however the pandemic changed so much of our livelihoods that more and more people are working from home or wanting to start their own businesses.

When I got started, it was 1999 and I was 36 years old. I dreamed of owning my own business, but frankly I thought it would be a lot more work to get started and I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to make a living at it.

Fear Nearly Stopped me in my Tracks

What would I do if it failed after the first year? How would I pay my bills? At that time, I was a widow trying to rebuild my life. It was a typical day at work, or so I thought until my department got the dreaded news…. “We’re eliminating your department at the end of this year…”

I remembered feeling so angry because it was the 2nd time my job would be eliminated at a company. And, to make matters worse, I had just bought my car and living on my own thousands of miles away from my mother’s house in Chicago. I didn’t need to hear this news.

However, The Lord had good plans for me that I couldn’t have imagined and I’ll make the story short. In a nutshell, one of my co-workers went to work for a new temp agency new to the U.S. and the branch offices had no administrative support. She asked me to go freelance.

After many telephone conversations, research and a LOT of prayer, I saw the writing on the wall. And, I was given full severance for the five years I had been on my job which was enough to pay the bills to start my home business.

It was one of the best decisions of my life, however it took some getting used to. As the days grew to weeks and months, I enjoyed it more and more. In the article I mentioned above, this part rings so true:

“At the end of the day, you need to look at what makes you happy, founder, or an employee.” excerpt from “Who Should be an Entrepreneur” from Website Magazine.

How I Got my Start in Self-Employment

I knew I didn’t want to be an employee so the first year was crucial to see if I could do it. I had to manage my time, because no one was standing over my shoulder. I wasn’t answering to a boss anymore.

what traits are essential to be a successful entrepreneur? here’s 5 tips:

  1. Believe in your brand. No one will work the business the way you do. You are the owner so if you don’t believe in what you’re doing enough to work the hours necessary, your customers or clients won’t believe in you either.
  2. Work hard. You’ll need to be prepared to get your hands dirty if you want results. It will take patience and endurance but if you stick with it, the rewards are endless.
  3. Commitment and consistency. A lot of start up businesses close down after the first year and possibly because of being unprepared for the long haul ahead. It’s really important to understand that starting business takes time and hard work. So being committed and consistent is key to becoming successful. In my case, it was five years before I saw any progress.
  4. Stay motivated. Staying motivated and even thinking outside the box is important to staying afloat. There were times when I struggled, and that will happen, but I kept telling myself that I could do it and I didn’t quit.
  5. Keep informed. Study and stay on top of new industry trends as technology and policies change all the time. You should want to be considered an expert in your field that your customers and clients can come to you to do business with.

Keep in mind that I’m just sharing my experience and tips. Your journey will no doubt be different than mine. Through all the ups and downs, I love the freedom of being my own.

You may also have read other posts where I refer to my “day job”, so let me explain that. Basically, I work for a client but not as an employee but on a contractual basis. That means, I don’t get paid for taking time off and I do my own taxes.

My business is not the same as what my hubby does. He’s a reseller on eBay. In his business model, he provides a product, sets his prices, does all his marketing/advertising, handles all shipping and customer service.

In my new business model, I’m more or less on a schedule that revolves around my client’s needs because I offer my services and technical expertise to run this account.

You may be a product-based business owner like my hubby or a service supplier like myself. Either way, believing in your offerings is essential to obtaining and keeping your customers and clients happy and doing business with you rather than your competitor.

If you’re thinking that you would like to be a business owner, I recommend reading the full article I linked to and do your homework first. Entrepreneurship isn’t for everyone, but neither is working for an employer.

Check out this post >>  5 Quick Tips to Keep the Attitude in Check at Work

Kim McDougal

Kim is the founder and creator of Growing Up in Grace. By day, she's the Director of Interactive Communications for the Hispanic chamber located in Jax, FL. Kim also owns "Kim's Studio Art" where she creates and sells Wall Art Printables and "Kim's Handcrafted Cards" on eBay where she creates and sells handmade greeting cards.