The very thought of leaving your full-time job and transitioning to self-employment can make your blood run cold. Still, this idea can be so tempting that you’re struggling every day not to follow it through and immediately sever ties with your current employer.
As the whole success of your future business and your dreams’ fulfillment may depend upon it, you better not make any hasty decisions. Use this time to plan and organize your transition well, so that when the moment for quitting your job comes, your new business project can run smoothly.
Here are a few basics you should pay attention to when transitioning to self-employment.
Change Your Mindset
Many people switch to self-employment to get away from all the stress and dissatisfaction of current employment. It’s hard to plan the future when all you can think about is coping, so changing the way of looking at your full-time job might help.
Instead of focusing all your thoughts to the negative sides of your current working engagement, try to use all the resources it has for your benefit:
- Treat your salary as one of your income streams for starting the job you actually love doing
- Use your work hours and tasks to excel in skills you’ll need
- Try to make as many connections as you can, especially if you will be working in the same or similar industry
By making this kind of focus shift, you will be able to think of your current work as a part of a comprehensive strategy, making it seem like a less of a nightmare.
On the other hand, you will have more time to build the foundations of your future business on the firm grounds.
Switching to a part-time position or taking a paid-off leave or a vacation are some of the options to have in mind when planning to quit.
Build Up Your Finances
Navigating the entrepreneurial waters can be challenging, especially when you first dive in, so get yourself prepared. Except for the money you will need for the first six months of running your new business, and that’s something highly recommend, you will need to make sure you have enough for covering your living expenses.
Here are a few tips on how to make this possible:
- Track your lifestyle expenses and get a realistic insight into your spending habits
- Think about how to lower your lifestyle costs during a start-up period. Moving into a smaller apartment or skipping holidays, for example, may sometimes balance your calculations
- Identify and eliminate your money wasters
- If possible, reduce your credit card debtwhile still employed
- Think about health insurance, social security, self-employment taxesand make them a part of the plan.
Research and Test your ideas
Whatever your business idea is, you should research it thoroughly, before you decide to commit to it fully. You need to make sure that your service or the product will solve a certain problem to a certain group of people, so start with yourself several questions.
- Who are my customers?
- How can I best reach them?
- Who are my competitors?
- How can I differentiate my business from them?
You can use these questions to think about the ways you can specialize your service or a product to make it more attractive to a certain group of people, or spot an existing market gap which you can then fill.
Research shows that 64% of customers are loyal to the brand of their choice because of shared values, and it is never too early to start thinking about the ways to make this kind of connection with them.
When you already have a well-developed idea, you should talk it through and test it. Getting an honest response from your friends and colleagues, as well as feedback from your test clients, can be a great way to make necessary changes and improvements.
Learn to Manage Your Time
When thinking about switching to self-employment, one of the first skills you need to master is how to best use and manage your time. This skill will be of enormous help during your transition period, as you will need to create more time to work on your business idea.
You are already quite aware that you’ll need to cut back on excessive social media time and binge-watching your favorite TV shows, but there are some well-hidden time traps most people have trouble recognizing, such as working in your inbox or spending an hour or two in an ineffective meeting.
The best way to get into time management is by tracking your time using a timesheet calculator for a few weeks so that you can get an objective insight into your biggest time snatchers, as well as into your most productive hours.
Learning how to track your time will also be useful in running your business as you can easily calculate your billable hours, make reports and do the cost/benefit analysis.
Data you gather will help you organize your time accordingly, and by learning some basic time management techniques, you can boost your productivity.
Taking a leap to self-employment can be hard, but if planned and organized well, your transition is going to be less rocky. Surveys show that the self-employed are happier than those working from 9 to 5, as they have better life-work balance, more freedom, and autonomy. Prepare for the ups and downs, and give yourself a chance.
About Marko Maric, guest contributor
Marko Maric is a marketing manager specialized in digital marketing channels. Over the years he has worked for several startups, as well as building his own personal brand by blogging on relevant online publications. He mostly covers topics like marketing, business. and productivity. Marko currently works at Clockify time tracker.