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What is this thing called Self-Employment?



What is this thing called self-employment?


What are so many people both interested in and scared of it?


How can you be really good at it?


These are the questions I’d like to help answer in this short article.


Whilst researching my book - The Experience Equation - I learned a lot more about self-employment and the Gig economy than I’d ever thought about before.


The first trend everyone should know is that it is really the future of work.


Over 80% of organisations in the US for example are investigating how they can make more of their workforce freelance or project based in the future.


A number of reasons are driving this - not the least the recent pandemic and resultant hybrid work models that we were forced to employ as part of dealing with the pandemic.


For companies, it emphasised that not only do people not have to work in an office, but they can be productive too.


Perhaps more harshly, the pressure on revenue and having fixed costs also made companies realise and as a result decide that they didn’t necessarily want to have the fixed cost of full time or part-time employees on their ‘books’ so to speak in case other major economic disasters occur in the future.


We’ve all - of course - have witnessed the rise of Gig economy jobs like food delivery, or UBER, which I see as more of a ‘slave’ economy version of freelance.


Like it or not, private contracting of your time as a freelancer, or gigster could well be the future for many of us.


The challenge for many of us is replacing our employment income, or the concern of having a less secure flow of income into our bank accounts. In fact insecurity is one of the biggest reasons many people don’t want to consider freelancing.


My point is many of us will HAVE to consider freelancing because it may well become the dominant form of ‘employment’ in the future.


What does that mean then?


Well, we have to be ready for it, we have to have the skills for it, and we have to find a way around developing our readiness and getting over both the skills deficit and the uncertainty issues.


How do you do that?


There are two attitudes that will be useful for you.


One is to consider VALUE.


And the other is to consider yourself a BUSINESS as well as an individual.


Businesses have products and services and they exchange them for a certain value with their customers. The value paid coming from how well the product or service meets or exceeds the needs or wants of the customer. And of course, the competition from other businesses for the same customers.


So taking yourself as an individual - you can look at your skills, experience and ability to get a job done and package that up as a product or a service.


What this all means in very simple terms, is that you need quite similar skills to be a freelancer as you do to run a business.


You need to be able to set goals, come up with strategic plans to achieve those goals, you have to be able to market and sell your services to customers, you have to be able to manage invoicing and cashflow, you have to understand quality control, and you have to service the customers who want to buy your service, or your time.


I’ve been self-employed, running my own business for 21 years this February.


Along the way, we’ve worked with over 500 people running their own businesses as clients.


I’ve surveyed tens of thousands of business owners about the challenges of running businesses.


And I’ve written 9 books on business, marketing and communication.


We even created a range of courses to help mature people starting their own business to do that successfully so the business will be profitable and ultimately help them reach their financial goals using the business as a tool or vehicle for income generation.


My simple advice to you is this.


If you have ever considered self-employment or running your own business.


If you have ever seen people in your similar positions be made redundant or find it difficult to get full time or part time employment.


If you’ve ever noticed there seems to be more talk about the Gig economy, or freelancing or self-employment.


Then get yourself prepared - learn the skills of self-employment, understand the future of work trends.


Get ready, and you can be a success.


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