IS IT TIME FOR YOU TO
By Bruce L. Katcher, Ph.D. President, Discovery Surveys, Inc.
Only 1 out of 2 employees feel
they have job security.
Job security has become an oxymoron. For our parents' generation,
lifetime employment with a gold watch and comfortable pension at the end was
not unusual. We're now living in a different environment. Seemingly everyday,
companies merge, fail, and downsize. It is no wonder that so many employees are
forced to update their resumes and hit the streets to find a new job.
But these days many are saying to themselves:
"My next job could just as easily end as abruptly
as my last."
"How do I get off of this corporate treadmill and
still support my family?"
"I've been working in the corporate world for many
years and am tired of playing the game. Do I REALLY want another job?"
The answer may be, "self-employment."
Self-employment has many attractions:
You can't be laid off again.
You can "own" your own space and time.
You can work on only the types of projects you
You are the boss and make all the decisions.
You can practice your own values rather than those
of your employer.
You have the opportunity to make more money than
an employer would pay you.
Of course, there are risks:
You may not be able to earn as much money as you
did in the corporate world.
You will have to fund your own benefits and
You will be forced to remove yourself from your
comfort zone. For example, succeeding at marketing and sales will be
Working for yourself may be lonely.
You will have ups and downs in your income rather
than a steady paycheck.
You will need to pay for and do much of your own
support work like fixing your computer, buying office supplies, and even
cleaning your office.
That said, if you're still interested, here are some keys for
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HOW TO MAKE THE LEAP
Instead of putting out a shingle that says you
are a generalist (e.g., management consultant, human resources consultant, or
programmer), specialize. Do one thing better than anybody else. Or, become a
generalist but for a very specific niche such as family-owned businesses or
pediatric practices. This will make it much easier for you to market your
services, perfect what you do, and charge enough to make a good living.
- Find the Need
Here are 3 essential considerations when starting
a new business:
Be certain that there is a real need in the
marketplace for your product or service;
Feel confident that you can deliver the
product or service; and
Have a passion for meeting the need you've
- Avoid the Employee Model
Try to avoid selling your time. If you land a
client where you are charging for a 40-hour week, you may feel you've have made
it. But you really have become just an employee without benefits. Instead of
charging for your time, sell projects, deliverables, and results.
- Have a Plan for Gaining Leverage
Gain leverage by:
Creating a product that you can sell for a
Hiring others so you can sell their time for
more than you are paying them; and
Developing a repeatable service so that you
don't have to continually reinvent the wheel.
- Think Through the Economics of Your New
Let's say you want to make $100,000 per year. You
must realize that to net $100,000, you will need to earn closer to $150,000 in
revenue to cover the cost of your own social security, healthcare and
retirement benefits, and office expenses.
- Commit Yourself
Put a stake in the ground. Tell the world that
this is what you are now doing. Send out a formal announcement. Become a
student of marketing and sales. It's not rocket science, but you will need to
develop a marketing plan and follow it diligently.
- You Only Need 2 Things to Get Started
You may read that to get started as a self
employed consultant you will need to incorporate, prepare a detailed business
plan, start a separate checking account, buy liability insurance, and launch a
website. The truth is that when you start you probably don't need any of these
things. All you need is a client and a way to find your next client.
Self-employment is not for everyone.
But, I've never met anyone who regretted trying. If you can no longer fathom
the idea of working for another company, you owe it to yourself to give
self-employment a chance. You will be astonished by the renewed energy you will
experience in your career.
I am very much
interested in your views on this topic.
Please reply with your comments and
suggestions to .
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