How To Become Self-Employed &
Start Your Dream Home Business

How To Become Self Employed

There are a variety of reasons why many people want to become self-employed, and after the Covid pandemic, there are even more people who are now seeking self-employment than ever before.

But how do you actually become self-employed? What exactly do you need to do?

How to Become Self-Employed

Here I’ll try my best to guide and help you to become self-employed.

But before you take this massive leap, you need to know for sure if you’re really cut out for self employment, as not all people are.

1. Is Self-Employment For You?

Being self-employed has a lot of responsibility attached to it, so you need to know if you can handle the responsibility of setting up and growing your own business.

You need to ask yourself questions such as:

  • How will I manage the unpredictable income?
  • Am I willing to work longer hours in order to reach my income goal?
  • Am I willing to sacrifice vacations?

These questions, plus a lot more, are really important to know the answers to before you delve into self employment.

Related Reading: Is Self-Employment Right for You?

In addition to the added responsibility, there are other tasks which you have to do which you mightn’t be aware of. These are discussed below in this post.

2. Choose Your Dream Home Business

If you want to become self employed, and understand everything that it will entail, but don’t know what business you want to start, then this should be your priority for now.

… after reading the rest of this page of course!

I won’t go into how to choose a home business here as I’ve written a whole guide on it as well as many home-based business guides.

Relating Reading:

Alternatively, you might already have an idea what you want to do, but you’re also wondering what other activities and systems you need to do once you become self-employed.

If this is the case, then carry on reading the rest of this post.

3. Understand What Self-Employment Entails

You need to sit down with a notebook and pen – or spreadsheet – and brainstorm exactly what tasks you’ll be doing on a daily, and weekly basis.

Your Business Activities

What will you be doing on a day to day basis?

Does this include travel, if so; is this by car, bus, train?

How much of your day will be taken up with travel? Does this bother you?

Basic Bookkeeping

Keeping on top of your business finances is essential.

You need to decide if you’re going to do the bookkeeping yourself, or are you going to hire this out to someone else?

If you’re going to do this yourself, you’re going to have to set up a system so it gets done and done correct.

So you need to think about if you’re going to use an online system using bookkeeping software such as Quickbooks, or will a simple spreadsheet suffice with two lists for income and expenditure?

Related Reading: Small Business Bookkeeping Basics

Most service-based businesses find using an online software such as Quickbooks the quickest and easiest way to keep on top of their invoices and cash-flow in general. This way you can do your own bookkeeping and not have the added expense of hiring or employing a bookkeeper.

However, don’t forget that software such as Quickbooks does come with a monthly fee, and you still have to do your self-assessment tax return each year.

Marketing & Advertising

How are you going to let people know about your business?

What marketing activities are you going to do? Are you going to do online marketing, offline marketing or both?

Do you need a website or will a Facebook Business Page suffice?

Related Reading: Grow Your Business With a Digital Marketing Strategy

Again, you could hire this out to someone else (especially for online marketing) or will you include this in your own business activities?

Email & Telephone Enquiries

Once your marketing and advertising kicks in, how are you going to handle the enquiries?

Are you going to put your telephone number on your marketing materials or an email address or a website address?

Will you answer your cell phone yourself, or will you let the enquiries go to your answering machine where you’ll catch up with them early evening?

You’ve paid for these enquiries through your marketing and advertising materials, so you need to make sure that you have a system to handle them efficiently and not let them slip though the net.

General Admin Work

Don’t forget the mundane admin work!

It comes with all small businesses, albeit some more than others, depending on what type of business you run.

General admin tasks can include:

  • Email and telephone enquiries
  • Customer service / handling complaints
  • Giving out free quotes (in person)
  • Your customer database
  • Bookkeeping
  • Invoicing
  • Chasing up invoices
  • Handling refunds
  • Marketing & advertising

You might even comes across other admin tasks which you haven’t even thought of yet.

4. Get Out of Your Comfort Zone

This is a big one and not many people actually factor this into the self-employment equation.

Yes you may hate your current job, but you might also be within your comfort zone in your everyday job and your everyday daily routine.

So when you do anything that’s new, this will inevitably push you out of your current comfort zone. Therefore you’ll have to prepare yourself for some inner turmoil because becoming self-employed is a massive step for anyone.

When I say inner turmoil, this will be a mixture of

  • Excitement
  • Fear of the unknown
  • Fear of failure
  • Stress
  • Worry

It’s only when you carry out your new self-employed daily activities over a period of time, that they will then become your new norm – your new comfort zone.

Eventually, self-employment will become your new comfort zone.

So even though you’re going to go through an initial ‘turmoil’ stage, you can have peace of mind knowing that this is just a stage which will eventually pass.

5. Get Into The Right Mindset

Mindset is massive when it comes to starting your own business.

In fact, I would go as far to say that mindset will be the difference between your business being a success or a failure.

As Henry Ford famously said:

“Whether you think you can, or think you can’t… you’re right.”

So it’s imperative that you keep a strong and positive attitude as much as you possibly can.

Of course you’re going to have doubts from time to time, you’re only human and doubts creep into most peoples’ minds when starting a new business, but try to have a positive mind most of the time which will outweigh any negative thoughts.

How to get into a positive frame of mind?

There are many different ways to do this of which I talk about in this post…

Related Reading: 7 Daily Habits of Successful Women in Business

Just pick one or two mind-work techniques which work for you.

For example, I’ve tried journaling each morning as many fellow female entrepreneurs swear by this approach as it’s so impactful for them.

But not for me.

For some reason, I just can’t stick to a routine of writing/journaling my goals and intentions each morning.

What I do instead is that I just literally ‘think’ positive.

If any negative thoughts come into my mind, I try to reason with them and justify why they shouldn’t be there. I then set about creating and carrying out tasks which will get me one step further towards my goal which, inturn, will prove my negative thoughts wrong.

I hope you understand what I mean here.

So my positive mind-work is:

Thoughts + Action

Thoughts: Always think positively about achieving my goal.

Action Steps: Get rid of negative thinking by taking action steps towards my goal to prove that these negative thoughts are wrong and don’t have a place in my mindset.

6. Research & Planning

You need to know for sure if your business idea is viable and that your new home business has a strong chance of succeeding.

Even though you may see other businesses in the same niche as you succeeding, you still need to do your own market research. You should never start your own business purely based on the success of similar businesses to yours.

There are many reasons and variables as to why you should do your own initial market research:

  • You might be targeting a slightly different audience to that of your competitors.
  • You will have your own unique slant on the same business model.
  • Your marketing message will be unique to you and your business.
  • Your marketing message will speak directly to your potential customers.
  • You will have strengths which your competitors don’t have.
  • You’re unique – there’s only one of you!

So as you can pick out from this little list, you need to do market research to identify your ideal customers, to come up with an amazing and unique marketing message and to identify your strengths and weaknesses.

Related Reading: How To Do Market Research

There are other areas in which you need to do market research but these are main the main factors to take into consideration.

7. Create an Informal Business Plan

After you’ve done your market research, you need to put all this important information which you’ve gathered into some form of logical order, and the best format to put it into is an informal business plan.

And don’t panic by the thought of doing a business plan, it’s not half as formal or as scary as it initially sounds.

You’re just going to create an informal business plan which is for your eyes only. It’s not to be presented to the bank for a loan – if you don’t need a loan that is.

The way I view my informal business plan is that it’s my business road-map. It’s my success path to follow to help me reach my business goals, and I suggest you create a business plan and use it as your road-map too.

8. Just Get Started

I know that this may sound like stupid advice, but you’ll be surprised how many people plan, plan and then do some more planning…. and then never get started!

Why is this?

FEAR!

Fear is the biggest source of procrastination.

This step goes hand-in-hand with step #4 Getting Out of Your Comfort Zone.

I’m guilty of procrastination myself on many occasion and I often struggle to understand exactly why I’m procrastinating. Why I have not started my xyz project yet?

And the answer is hidden fear.

It can be so frustrating knowing that you’ve done all the research and planning that needs to be done, but you keep making excuses not to do those tasks – those tasks being the ones which will get you another step nearer to your goal.

So just be aware of hidden fear, get out of your comfort zone and push forward with positive thinking and taking little action steps.

9. Become Legally Self-Employed

Now comes the exciting step of actually registering your business with the IRS/Inland Revenue to become self-employed legally.

At this stage you need to know if you want to register as a sole trader/sole proprietor or a limited company.

Also, in the US you need to register your business name.

You don’t need to do this in the UK

So make sure you look into what’s involved in registering as self employed in your country and specific area.

UK: US:
AUS: CAN:

10. When Things Go Wrong

Unfortunately no matter how much research and how much planning you’ve done, some things just won’t go according to plan.

And you know what? That’s OK!

Some things will go wrong which are out of your control, and other things will go wrong where you’ve made an incorrect decision.

And the best way to deal and tackle these situations is to learn from them.

  • If someone has let you down – do you want to use their service again?
  • If you’ve made a bad decision – how can you not make this same mistake twice?

So when you look at mistakes and mini failures like this, think of them as learning curves to iron out any teething problems and bumps, so eventually your business will be running like a well-oiled machine!

You cannot have a well-oiled machine without the prior problems, mistakes and obstacles that initially got in the way.

Related Reading: How To Handle Failure in Business

11. Enjoy Yourself & Have Fun!

And last but not least, enjoy yourself in your amazing new business.

In all the personal development books I’ve read, they’ve all relayed the same message:

“Focus on the journey, not the destination.
Joy is found not in finishing an activity but in doing it.” 

— Greg Anderson

What this essentially means is that you shouldn’t wait until you’re earning $xxx amount of money before you’re happy. Be happy NOW by enjoying the experience and the journey in order to reach and achieve your goal.

What Next?

If you’ve read this far and you definitely think that becoming self-employed is for you, then why not download this free business plan checklist.

This checklist covers everything which I’ve talked about in the post and more.

It really is a great start to become self-employed and get your dream home business off the ground!

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