Last week I wrote about the timing of starting your own business, whether as a franchise or otherwise. Sometimes even if you’re certain it is (or will be) the right thing for you to do, it’s not the best time, and to maximise your chances of success, you’d be better off waiting a while.
That’s all very well, but what if you’re not sure whether it’s the right decision at all? We have information here about what we’re looking for from prospective partners with us, but there are some more fundamental things which apply to successful self-employment, regardless of whether you’re thinking about working with us, on your own, or even in a completely different field.
So without wanting to sound negative, and instead with the aim of making sure that anyone considering this decision does so fully and with their eyes open, here are some things which may mean self-employment is not for you.
- You need certainty, and like knowing you’ll get paid a set salary every month
- You like being in an office with regular colleagues
- You like routine in your working day, perhaps with a regular commute
- You like feeling part of an organisation
- You find it difficult to motivate yourself without a manager to be accountable to
- You enjoy being able to delegate lots of tasks to team members or even other departments
- You don’t like meeting new people
- You find it difficult to “let go” of things
- You prefer not to step out of your comfort zone if it can be avoided
- You dislike being “out and about” and prefer to stay at work all day in one place
None of these are a dealbreaker, but if you’re nodding your head along to many of them, perhaps self-employment isn’t for you. Some of them are true for me to an extent but the overall benefits of running my own consultancy business far outweighed the fact that to be successful I had to force myself to do things I wouldn’t necessarily choose, become better at certain things, and make changes to my working habits to overcome difficulties. And I’m a better person for it, too, and have certainly seen the benefits.
But you have to be prepared to set yourself those challenges and no one will be forcing you to do it, so you need to be self-motivated, and also self-aware. Knowing which of your personal attributes might hinder your progress and success means you’re halfway to overcoming those obstacles already.
With face2faceHR partners, we are acutely aware of many of the downsides (or potential downsides) to self-employment, and try to remove as many of those as possible. For example we like to see the team here and fellow partners as being colleagues, and want partners to feel part of our organisation. In regular review meetings, and in business planning at launch time, partners are encouraged to set objectives for themselves, and this can provide a bit of the accountability that can be so useful. We provide a lot of support with all the aspects of running a business which are likely to be out of the comfort zone of most HR professionals.
But ultimately, even with that “in between” arrangement, our partners are running their own businesses and have that responsibility. It’s a very personal choice, and for some people, even if the idea of running their own business is appealing for whatever reason, it won’t be the right thing to do. It’s important that anyone setting out on their own is making an informed decision, understands the risks and challenges, is aware of their own personal limitations and attributes, and has a plan to make sure these don’t hinder progress.