Although the traditional nine-to-five grind provides timely paychecks, streams of benefits, and overall stability and security, many are choosing to ditch it and dwell on solopreneurship.
Solopreneurs, a business owner who works and runs their business alone, has increased.
For instance, in the USA alone, as stated by independent and non-profit media organization NPR, “two million Americans have started freelancing in the past 12 months of 2020, according to a new study from Upwork, a freelance job platform. And that has increased the proportion of the workforce that performs freelance work to 36 percent.”
It could stem from the working hours, no clarity on salary raises, loss of interest in the job desk, wanting to try something new, and so on. Regardless, freelancing offers flexibility and variety. The Freelancers Union and Elance-Desk stated that 77 percent of freelancers are making the same amount of money as they did in their previous jobs and 42 percent say they are even earning more money.
It’s not just for millennials though. According to MetLife’s Annual Employee Benefits Trend Study, as reported by Forbes, “52 percent of employees view a healthy work-life balance as crucial to their success and ability to thrive in the workplace, only trailing hard work as the most popularly referenced key to success.”
You know you want out. You’ve been rattling the deep interwebs, listening to podcasts, and reading books on developing your own business. You’re probably agitated to take a leap of faith as well. What’s next?
Set a Schedule, Make Goals, and Plan!
Without structure, you won’t be able to fully integrate as a solopreneur. Setting a schedule of taking the big step of solely focussing on freelance jobs needs to be done first-off.
Since you’ll have freedom of working hours, organize your schedule accordingly, too. Being over-booked is good in one sense, but it can drain you out. Moreover, seeing a deadline written in your calendar keeps you focused and on time.
With your “why” in-tact, brainstorm the major and minor goals that you’d like to achieve. You’ll stay accountable and motivated throughout the course. Once your goals are clear, it’s time to plan out the execution.
Steps to Take
Research what you want to do, especially when pursuing your passion. We mostly spend time blindly doing what we love, but to incorporate your passion as a product or service, start researching the industry and study other businesses to ensure you’ll make a living from it.
You can also leverage your previous work experience. You might have contacts in a certain field. Moreover, we tend to pick up some valuable lessons while working for other people, be it work-related or personal. Think of how you were working then. It could be about your working habits, interpersonal skills, time management, reaction towards stress, and so on.
Then, set your rate which matches your effort, service, and, most importantly, a sense of financial security to allow you to take a breather in the future. Offer some work exchanges for a testimonial or referral to create a track record and client base. Despite the wonders of digital marketing, good old word-of-mouth is one way to captivate new clients. Referrals from friends or trusted associates are held dearly. It’ll establish your credibility as an expert in your field, thus enabling you to increase your rate. Don’t be hesitant to charge what you’re worth!
You’ll get noticed through your content. Imagine meeting someone new. You both discover your mutual interest in food and start talking about the hottest restaurants in town or share recipes with each other. If you take it online, we are firstly presented with content. A friend once said, “how you present yourself on Instagram should follow your interests and draw the kind of person you are.” Content brings people together.
According to Entrepreneurs Handbook, staying away from your nine to five grind requires three investments: in yourself by educating and enhancing your skills to allow yourself to grow and gain more opportunities from online resources; in assets that make you money such as stocks, bonds, gold, digital currency or real estate; and in your money-making platform, for example, your website, so that your audience can grow.
Don’t neglect to save either. Save at least three to six months’ worth of your income for any emergencies, unsteady sales, and client attenuation into a separate account. After all, the pandemic has opened our eyes to the importance of savings in times of uncertainty.
Hardships and even failure may appear, and that’s no problem. This means you need to make some adjustments. A lot of trial and error will happen, but only then will you realize what works for you and your business. Yet, if it’s too risky to immediately jump-start, do it as a side hustle first while you’re still employed at your full-time job. The commitment isn’t startling, yet bear in mind that laziness and procrastination can deplete your drive in one way or another. Either way, it’ll make your leap easier.
Remember: having steady gigs and sales don’t ensure anything in the next month. Have a strategy in place when a client decides to move on without you. Be friendly – even to trolls -, be genuinely open about yourself, negotiate fair prices, and most of all, be humble.
Nobody wants to work with a selfish and unreliable person.