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The Path to Self-employment: 3 Practical Considerations

There’s no doubt about it; there is a gradual but incremental shift towards freelancing and independent contracting in the modern age. An estimated 40% of the U.S. workforce will be working independently by 2020, for example, while there are now more than 1.5 million self-employed individuals in the UK alone.

While it be tempting to follow the herd and pursue a similar path, however, it should be noted that this is not suitable for everyone. More specifically, there are several, variable factors that will determine whether or not self-employment is suitable for you, and these must be given due consideration before you make a commitment.

3 Practical and Important Considerations That Will Influence Whether or Not You Should Become Self-employed 

With this in mind, we have selected three of the most important considerations that should help you to make an informed, and fixed, decision. These include: 

  1. Do You Have a Marketable Skill?

While the number of markets and industries accessible to freelancers may have increased significantly in recent times, all successful independent contractors are bound by a single attribute. Namely, they have a marketable and in-demand skill, and one that enables them to create a unique value proposition for potential clients.

This has not changed during the last decade, with the increasing number of freelancers being driven by an ever-diversifying market and technological advancements. This has made freelancing an increasingly accessible option for the current generation of employees, while encouraging a greater number to take the plunge.

Make no mistake; however, only those with a  marketable skill that is coveted by clients will succeed as independent contractors. Without this, you will need to focus on developing your skill-set strategically before attempting to enter the competitive world of self-employment.

  1. Do You Have Basic, Business Acumen? 

If you do have a marketable skill, the next step is to ensure that this can be monetised in a profitable manner. This may sound relatively simple, but those who are used to regular employment must remember that core business tasks such as client networking, sourcing work and pricing are handled by others within a company.

In order to effectively leverage and market your skill, you must therefore have a keen sense of business acumen. This will impact on every aspect of the service that you deliver, from setting a profitable but competitive price point to establishing an affordable base from which you can work.

The latter point is particularly important, as while companies such as BE Offices have driven money-saving innovations such as compact, serviced office space, you must still ensure that your cost base is manageable and does not exceed your level of income. In terms of pricing, it is imperative that you are realistic and discount your ideal premium when entering a competitive market, as this ensures that will be able to win business initially and gradually build your reputation.

  1. Do You Have a Strong Work-ethic?

On the subject of pricing, you may also be forced to work long hours when you first start out as an independent contractor. This is especially true if you create a competitive pricing strategy, as taking on additional work may represent the best way of maximising your initial income.

To do this willingly and successfully over a prolonged period of time, you must have a certain level of determination and a strong work-ethic. While it is obviously counter-productive to work relentlessly and to the point where the quality of your output suffers, who should be willing to push yourself and showcase a genuine hunger for work.

If you do not have this, freelancing may not represent the best vehicle for developing your career. If you do have a strong work-ethic and are capable of applying yourself diligently to a specific cause, you simply need to channel this to build a promising and scalable career.

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