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.