By Kumar Venkatesiah
Working for a corporation comes with a lot of perks – your job is stable for the most part, you get health and vacation benefits and most importantly, it gives you an identity. However, corporate jobs seldom give you the freedom and choice of lifestyle that come with being self-employed. The paycheck can be a motivator for only so long and given a choice, a lot many corporate workers would prefer self-employment if it only came with better job security.
But the truth is that making the move to self-employment sounds more intimidating than it really is. With a bit of planning from your end, anybody can do the switch. Here are some tips and steps to take care of in order to pursue your career lifestyle of choice.
Build A Cash Source:
Sometimes the only reason you want to become self-employed is to stop pursuing your current line of work. For instance, becoming a virtual assistant may seem counter-intuitive if you do not really like being in customer support. In such instances, you may be required to hone a new skill in your self-employed business. The tough part of doing this is that it regularly takes between six month to a year for one to be good at their new job and earn steady income. Until that happens, it is necessary to identify a cash source for you to survive on. You can do this two ways : One, continue with your daytime corporate job and work on your business in the evenings and on weekends. Alternately, you could use the advice provided in the earlier paragraph to offer your main skill as service up until the time you hone your new skills and make steady income with it.
One of the stumbling block in the initial stages for many corporate workers is what to pursue in self-employment. A major chunk of these aspiring businessmen spend as much as a few years trying to draft the right business plan to pursue. A good thumb rule to follow is to pick your skill-sets at your corporate job and serve as a consultant in that space. For instance, if you serve as a customer support executive in a call center, you could offer virtual assistant services to small business owners across the world. If you are an ERP manager, you could offer consulting for deployment or management of ERP tools like NetSuite OneWorld to business owners. The idea is to not waste time learning a new skill but to use your knowledge in the existing job to offer as a self-employed position.
Do Not Use Savings:
Books on entrepreneurship frequently extol the virtues of taking risks. While this makes for good motivation, it is not necessarily sound advice. The fact is that nearly 90 percent of new businesses fail. Any aspiring business owner needs to take into account the larger picture and plan for the long-term. This means conserving your bank savings or 401Ks for the rainy day and to not use them to start your business. Successful business owners regularly make sure to have at least six months worth of savings in their bank at all times. But even that, to me, is risky. While it is a good idea to use your own savings instead of debt to finance your business, it is always a better idea to start on something with minimal investment and use the profits from the business to finance your bigger self-employment goal. This is definitely a longer path that can take a few years to materialize. But the probability of achieving your dreams is much higher here. When new business owners use up their savings for launching new ventures, they tend to throw themselves into desperation and any minor hiccup could potentially blow the death-knell to your self-employment dreams.
Kumar Venkatesiah is an independent marketing and elearning consultant based in Bangalore, India. He has over 10 years of elearning experience.