I fell in love, followed my heart and moved to Ireland. I found a full-time job that gave me all the certainty I needed; a nice salary, health insurance and a permanent contract. Almost two years later, the ‘itching’ started. No matter how much certainty it gave me, this job didn't make me happy. It only took me a few months before I took the plunge. I resigned, left all the certainty behind me and took control over my life once again. But no matter how convinced I felt when making this decision; doubts and uncertainties always find a way to surface.
There’s this little voice in our head that often gives us plenty of reason to doubt ourselves. A very healthy voice of reason in some situations: but incredibly annoying in others. What if you don’t get enough customers, what if your bank account remains empty, what if you fail or what if you can no longer pay the bills? What if, what if …
Leap and the net will appear. I can’t convince you to take the plunge: starting your career as self-employed is a big step. So let me share my lessons with you. That doubtful little voice in your head just might find the answers it needs.
1. There’s already so many doing what I want to do
There’s always room for more at the top! Even though there might be others doing the same as you do: no-one does it your way. Your unique way of handling things, your passion, your personality and your ambition make you who you are. Someone different from everyone else. No matter how many competitors there are, there’s always a spot for you. Millions of great websites have been created, and yet people continue to search for something new. Even more amazing books have been written, and yet there is always a newcomer at number one.
Do your research and learn from your competitors. Believe in your inner strength; nobody does things the way you do.
2. What if I don't earn enough money?
Yep, that was one of my biggest doubts as well. A doubt (or maybe even a fear) that regularly crossed my mind: especially during my first year. Your income isn’t set in stone and can, therefore, either be better than expected or incredibly disappointing; but you can safely assume that it won’t be that bad. As long as you work hard, remain positive and fully immerse yourself in what makes you happy, that income will follow naturally. Are you looking for more certainty? Start working on a customer base before you quit your job and only resign when you have a piggy bank ready and waiting for you.
Above all, stay in that positive, motivated and hard-working vibe. Work your butt off and your income will follow automatically.
3. What if things don’t work out?
So you have this great product, idea or concept and you’re ready to market it. Awesome! But what if things just don’t work out and people are a little less enthusiastic than you had hoped? A crystal ball would be pretty helpful at some moments, right? Although it seems to be pretty hard to look into the future, it is possible to make a good estimate. Do some thorough market research before you make any investments. What are the current trends on the market, what does your target audience look like and how about the political and economic developments? Record all this data in a strong business plan: a plan that gives you all the certainty you need (we like our facts!).
Make sure to do some thorough market research and keep records of this in your business plan.
4. But what about the investment?
If you’re planning to start as a freelancer there’s not much you need. A kitchen table, a chair, a somewhat functioning laptop, loads of coffee and voilá: you’re good to go. But as you can imagine there are also situations in which you need to invest. If you want to bring a product to the market, start a webshop or set yourself up in a luxury home office straight from the start. Where do you get this investment? Simple. Save! We don’t always like it and it isn’t always easy either, but it is the way to get your journey started with a sense of certainty. If you’re unable to save, you can always take out a small (!) personal loan with the bank or a friend.
Save your money wherever you can. Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither can you expect your future emporium to start without some effort. Start small, look for smart solutions and if necessary, get the help of a financial sponsor. Never bring yourself in debt: the less you owe the better.
5. What if I can’t stop being afraid?
A yet established small customer base and a comfortable piggy bank should give you the confidence to take the leap. Are you finally gazing into the dark depths but do your legs seem unwilling to jump? Try to silence your fears with the fact that there’s always another 9 to 5 job waiting for you. Even if everything fails and your entrepreneurship is one big flop: there will be some job available to fall back on. Rather take the risk than lose the chance.
Reassure yourself: there are plenty of call centre and hospitality jobs that you can fall back on if things don’t seem to be working out.
6. What if this gets boring too?
No matter how challenging and wonderful that independent self-employed life may seem at the moment: this will get boring too. Why do I write for le Moustache? Because even though my writing assignments are a great source of income - I need more to stay motivated. And that’s one of the biggest advantages of being self-employed: you decide where this road takes you. Want to start a webshop, work as a freelance copywriter and make your own furniture? Why not?! No need to limit yourself to one talent, one passion or one field. No boss is stopping you :)
Still looking for some old fashioned convincing? Just leave a comment or send me a message!