As we sit back and let the mince pies digest, our thoughts are bound to turn to our hopes, dreams and aspirations for 2021.
This year, of course, we have more reason than usual to eagerly anticipate the dawning of a brand new year. After a brutal 2020, which assaulted us on just about every front, it’s tempting to believe that 2021 simply must be kinder!
But although we’re going into the new year with a national Covid-19 vaccination programme in action and the fresh hope that brings, there’s no point denying that many challenges lie ahead. From the continuing saga of the coronavirus pandemic to the practical consequences of Brexit, we could be in for another tricky year.
Sadly, many thousands of people have lost their jobs due to the public health crisis and more are finding their employment under threat right now. Perhaps for this reason, you may be considering becoming self-employed in 2021. Maybe you have a secure job but want to go it alone, or simply fancy a complete change of career.
Whatever your reasons, as someone who has been self-employed for seven years, I can say that being your own boss is fulfilling, exciting and full of rewards. It’s also challenging, unpredictable and sometimes a bit scary!
Based on first-hand experience, here are my three top tips for finding your feet with your own business.
1. Tap into your strengths.
Remember, these may not be the tasks that you actually enjoy the most. Many people will tell you to do what you love and that’s great, if you can make it work – but the reality is that you should be sure you’re genuinely good at it and can offer great value for customers.
So, take a clear-eyed look at your skills base and assess what people may be willing to pay for. If your skills aren’t quite up to scratch, you could consider doing some training to fill in any gaps.
Failing that, doing what it takes to pay the bills and following your true passion as a hobby may not be the end of the world! You could even build your favourite pursuit as a side hustle, which you might be able to grow into a full-time business at a later date.
2. Surround yourself with great people, then listen to them.
From the business mentor who is currently where you want to be, to the accountant who has already forgotten more than you’ll ever know about tax – get the support and advice of the best people you can find.
If you need help with important elements of your business, make that investment if you can. Sometimes the cheapest way to pay for something is with money; mistakes in certain key areas can be costly.
Other times, people will be willing to help new businesses flourish out of the kindness of their hearts. Remember, they may not always say what you want to hear, but it will probably be what you need to hear. So, if you’re offered free advice or help from someone who’s judgment you trust, don’t look a gift horse in the mouth!
3. Get a routine and stick to it.
If you’re new to working remotely or being your own boss, leaving the 9-5 behind and taking charge of your own time will feel strange at first. You will have to set your own priorities and take full, exclusive responsibility for your performance – both the triumphs and the screw-ups! That’s both scary and exciting.
Plus, there will be extra tasks to take care of during the average working day, such as marketing yourself and maintaining a social media presence.
Getting yourself into the right frame of mind for the day ahead can work wonders to help you feel focused, inspired and in control. So, plan out the schedule that works for you and stick to it, like the real working day it is. If it doesn’t quite gel, you can always make changes as you go along and try new ideas – remember, you’re the boss now!
Whatever you decide to do with your career in 2021 and however many tough challenges you face, I wish you the very best of luck. I believe in you!