When to consider self-employment
People in mid-career often come to the realization that they need to decide whether to continue their career as an employee or pursue self-employment. Here are some typical situations when you may need to make that decision. You:
- Begin to feel some degree of unhappiness with your current situation resulting from burn-out, a lack of opportunities for career growth with your current employer, or a change in your personal values that are not consistent with where you are now.
- Have been thinking for some time that you would like to work for yourself or start a business on your own or with others.
- May be beginning to think that your job may end soon because of a reorganization, potential acquisition of your company, or a relocation that does not appeal to you.
Self-employment as a career strategy
If you are already in transition and you want to pursue employment and self-employment simultaneously, you might want to rethink that strategy for the following reasons:
- When you are networking, you need to get the support of people you meet to help you connect with others. To get their support, you must be very clear about what you want. Your network will not be able to help you if they are the least bit confused about whether you are looking for a job or trying to build a business.
- Employers might consider you for a temporary assignment if they think you are also pursuing self-employment but they will not consider you for permanent employment.
- Potential clients, investors, or business partners will question your sincerity and commitment if they think you are also pursuing employment. Clients will be concerned that you may not complete the assignment or be available in the future. Investors and potential business partners will expect you to commit 100% of your time and attention to making the new venture successful.
When considering self-employment, you must be brutally honest about your strengths and weaknesses. Do they fit the specific new business model you are considering? In most self-employment options, you must be self-motivated, have a healthy dose of common sense, have a strong focus on sales and marketing, be financially astute, and be well-organized. A weakness in any one of these areas means you will be at a disadvantage in building a successful business on your own.
You can find comprehensive information about whether self-employment might be right for you and the options you should consider in 12 Steps to a New Career. Chapter 5 covers self-employment in more detail.