• Nat Harrison

10 Tips for Overcoming the fear of Self Employment

When you have been gainfully employed in a secure job for many years, thinking about becoming self-employed and losing the security that goes with a steady job, can be petrifying and often the first hurdle where many fall.

However there has been a rapid growth of self-employment in the UK labour market in recent years. The number of self-employed increased from 3.2 million people (12.0% of the labour force) in 2000 to over 5 million (15.3% of the labour force) in 2019 according to the Office for National Statistics, so there must be something working for people right?

I personally find self-employment AMAZING! I love that I am the master of my own destiny, I can work flexibily around my children and my partner's (self-employed) business and although we aren't as financially secure as we previously were, the universe has a funny way of delivering what you need when - a few weeks again, I finished working wtih 6 clients in one week! I will be honest, I was a little bit worried, but 6 new clients have turned up in the last 3 weeks!

So how do you make the transition? Well, as humans, we are naturally resistant to change, as it brings uncertainty and insecurity. People often think it’s a case of ‘better the devil you know’ and will but up with being in jobs they hate for years, so some thought and preparation are required.

Here are my 10 top tips to help you make the leap to self-employment:

1. Accept you will feel Fearful and plan interventions to manage it – Who can you call for support?

2. Surround yourself with Positive Supporters and stay away from naysayers who are risk adverse.

3. Use your Contacts – LinkedIn is a great resource. Don’t be scared to ask people for coffees and help, they are often flattered and more than happy to assist.

4. Do your Homework – speak to people who are already successfully doing what you want to.

5. Write a Business Plan and do financial forecasting, then have someone business minded review it. The business plan can be on the back of an envelope but you need to make sure you test your ideas somehow and carry out some market research (even if it's just with your friends).

6. Be Realistic - you probably won’t be successful overnight so plan for a 2/3 year business build. Having a transition plan from the old job to the new business is a great idea.

7. Save some Money to support you through the transition and discuss your family finances and plan with your partner.

8. Learn about Marketing and Social Media - without customers and clients your business isn’t a business.

9. Ask for Help – you don’t need to do everything yourself. Websites, photographs, logos, promotional material all take time and often look more professional when done by a professional. Skill swaps are a great and cheap way to get help.

10. Keep Motivated and prepare yourself for wobbles – use tools (visual tools, visualisations, affirmations) and get support (business network or a business coach).

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