Tips For Managing Self Employment Anxieties

Believe me, I understand.

If you’re considering the self employed life, or if you are newly self employed, then I’m sure many of you are experiencing both the satisfaction and the fear of being out on your own.

I have been self employed for more than four decades. I’ve managed to raise three children, send them all to college, live(d)in a large lovely home with my family, take them on regular vacations…and I’m still looking over my shoulder, awaiting a new catastrophe.

The truth is that most of us entrepreneurs, or enterprisers, as I call us,  never really feel completely secure. And you know what, that’s a good thing. The smart enterpriser never wants to get to too comfortable with any situation and needs to keep their foot on the gas as much as possible.

Common Concerns. Managing Techniques.

Here are a few very common concerns that most soon-to-be or newly self employed experience.

Fear of the Unknown: For many of us the unpredictably of self employment can be taxing. No one tells us each morning what work we have to do today. If we want to work, we’ve got to make things happen. The problem is that sometimes things don’t happen when we expect. This is the “boom and bust” aspect of self employment.

How to manage this? Two suggestions:

  1. Try to contain the anxiety and keep selling/networking. 
  2. Make short term plans. The planning process helps to re-focus the anxious energy. Reshuffle goals. Get proposals out.

Learn The Art of Being Patient: Business/practice development is something that takes time. Having started and rebooted three enterprises in my lifetime, I know that it can take one to three years to really get your business into solid territory.  Remember, while this one project or new relationship is of utmost importance to you, to the client it’s just one of many things on their plate. Maintain a presence but don’t be a nag.

Working When There’s No Work: A dry up of sales can be paralyzing, forcing a halt to your desire to work. A successful indie novelist recently advised new authors that he kept writing even when he hadn’t sold a single book. There is a lesson in there and that is to keep working at your enterprise, even when sales are non-existent. Of course, this assumes you have some source of income. However, if you’ve done your homework, are sure of the viability of your enterprise, then keep plugging away.

Get Out And Network: If things are quiet at work, use the opportunity to go out and network. You’ll find that mingling with other business people — whether they are potential customers/clients or not —will help to reduce anxiety and brighten your outlook during a sales slump

As a veteran of more than four decades of the self employed life, I realize that fear is one of the most potent obstacles to our ultimate success. In my experience, those that can master the uncertainties of working for themselves will go on to reap the many rewards of entrepreneurship.

Organizing Your Enterprise Identity: Originator or Emulator?


Brand Building:       Part One of Two Establishing Identity

Building identity is the process by which you let people know what your organization does. Identity building is an elementary process: you develop the tools and means to convey a simple message to your market that says This is who we are and what we offer.  Before you can construct this message, though, there are a few questions that you need to ask and answer.

Are you engaged in a new market, or an established one?

Originator or Emulator?
All enterprises can be boiled down to two simple core business ideas: is yours an original or innovative enterprise, or is it an emulating enterprise, using the platform of an established market?
An originator creates a completely new product or service line. For example, the development of the first personal computer or the first service company to market retail products online. The originator enterprise takes on a lot of risk but has the chance to make sizable earnings.
An emulator is a business that uses an established business model. The foundation for this type of business has already been established, and the entrepreneur’s major goal is to find his or her own niche. These types of businesses may not be exciting, but they incur less risk to start up.

The purpose here is to determine the strategy and resources needed for your identity-building. Identity-building for a new product is very different from marketing an established line.
If your organization markets a product or service that is generally recognized and understood, then identity-building is a matter of clearly illustrating the value of what you offer.  If you are selling in an established market, you need to:
• create a marketable identity via advertising, promotion, or word-of-mouth; and,
• demonstrate value.

If your product or service is a new offering, or represents a new category of product or service not previously available, then building identity for your business is a more complicated matter. A situation like this calls for a marketing program that educates the market to the usefulness of the product or service, and demonstrates its value. Being the first in a developing market is a more time-consuming and costly enterprise, but it can yield big dividends. Consider those brands that were among the first in their markets and have now become synonymous with their product area, such as Kleenex™ tissues, Scotch™ tape, and Xerox™ copiers, to name a few.