Are You Ready For Self Employment?

Assessing Your Core Skills and Personality for Success In The Self Employed Life.

For most of us, our working life impacts our daily life in many ways. Often, it determines where we live, when we sleep or eat, how often we see our family, or even if we can have a family, the quality of our life, as it relates to income and earnings, and the quality of life as it relates to personal time. These are very strong and attractive reasons for hiring yourself or starting a business. So, now you’ve done your homework, evaluated your product/service, matched it/them to market opportunity.

You feel strongly that your enterprise idea is a sound one and that the self employment life is attainable. The next question is: Do you have the core skills and temperament to do it? This is often where some new enterprisers drop the ball. They are frustrated with their current working situation, or they see a great opportunity and get caught up in the moment, moving ahead, into the self-employed life, without a thought of their personal suitability.

Here are a few key points you need to consider. If you answer in the affirmative for most of these, then you may make a good candidate for self-employment.

Results Matter to You. If you are ready to lead and focus on getting the job done, you will most likely do well as an enterpriser. Not so valuable, however, is obsessive tinkering or perfectionism. Success in self-employed enterprises depends on productivity and efficiency.

You Are a Proactive Person. If you are a planner, and the kind of person who sees opportunity and acts on it, then you possess one of the most important qualities for self-employment. If your personality is more reactive than proactive, or if you are one who prefers to let others take point, then you will be better served in a conventional job.

You Believe in Working Smarter, Not Harder. It has become fashionable to brag about working long hours at the job, and billing a high number of hours. This is fool’s gold that people wear as a badge of honor. Being a beast of burden is not an honor, it’s a slight. 

You Want to Benefit Directly from Your Ideas and Work. If you’re going to be putting in the time and effort, you should reap the full reward. For others, the trade-off of their time and talent for a regular paycheck is sufficient.

You Want the Opportunity to Determine Your Income. When you are self-employed, you are not limited to a salary set by your employer. Your earning power is, for the most part, in your hands. Of course, there are other factors such as market conditions and competition, which can impact your earning potential. Still, the sky is the limit in terms of what you can do to improve your earning situation. 

You Aren’t Afraid of Risk. It takes money to make money and business is risk. If you cannot handle risk, or if you freak-out about losing money, don’t even consider self-employment. Whether you are a contract-for-hire 1099er, or you run a full-blown business operation, it’s likely that you are going to lose money at some point. If you are the kind of person who cannot put such things behind you, then you’re better off in a traditional job.

You Are Disciplined.  Success as a self-employed enterpriser requires a dedication and focus that is internally driven. In most situations, you will be the person determining the schedules, deadlines, key points of completion, etc. This is good and bad. While you get to choose how and when the work gets done, it also leaves opportunities for procrastination and goofing-off. It’s essential that the self-employed individual hits his or her marks, setting regular goals and adhering to them. Whether you work alone at home, or you have a business with employees, it’s vital to maintain a working discipline.

You Are Resourceful.  Over the years, I have observed that when posed with a difficult problem, many people will point out the obstacles to solving the problem. I have also noticed that enterprisers, when posed with a similarly difficult problem, tend to focus on the solutions to the problem.  In the end, both may find the answer, but the typical self-employed person steps forward with ideas and support. Many employees have been conditioned in the cover-your-ass mode, and often, the first things from their mouths are reasons why they might fail. The enterpriser is oriented toward challenges and finding answers. 

Personality Types Who Should Probably Avoid Self-Employment

Procrastinators: Without someone forcing them to do their job, they will put off work until it drives them out of business and self-employment.

Perfectionists: Beauty may be in the details, but the obsessive pursuit of perfection will reduce productivity and lead to a loss of profit.

Poor Time Managers: People who lack the ability to efficiently manage both short- and long-term time will struggle to remain successfully self-employed.

Poor Planners: Those people who prefer to “wait-and-see” usually do not work well in a self-employed environment. Being an enterpriser means being proactive, being a dreamer/schemer (I mean that in a good way) who systematically seeks opportunities, then develops strategy and tactics to capitalize.

These are some of the personal considerations and assessments that you should make regarding your ability to start and sustain a successful self-employed enterprise. If you feel you have the capabilities to do so, then read on and learn the steps you will need to take to make this dream a reality.


Learn more about self employment in my book, NEVER WORK A DAY IN YOUR LIFE.