New Year, New Career! Making the leap
Has the return to work given you a dose of January blues? This guide to the practicalities of switching from employee to employer will ensure your inspiration and drive for going it alone will not go to waste.
It happens to us all. The long, relaxing Christmas break and the coming of the New Year are but distant memories by now. What has been leading us to believe everything will be different this time can be broken by an unreasonable email at 9.05am…just about anything can be enough to bring us crashing back down to Earth. Rather than settling back into the same, tired old routine, why not revisit those ideas for your own business you put on the back burner towards the end of last year?
The main reason why many of us do not act on our entrepreneurial instincts is because we let the practicalities of making the leap from employee to employer get in the way of realising our dreams.
To help you alleviate this problem, we have taken a look at some of the most common hoops anyone looking to become their own boss needs to jump through. As you are no doubt aware, making this transition be as smooth as possible for startups is very important to us, so this guide is intended to help those of you who have the drive and inspiration to fashion out a niche for yourself in the working world, but would like a greater understanding of the practical considerations involved.
Why become your own boss?
One of the first practical hurdles to overcome is in your own head. You have to weigh up the pros and cons and decide why you want to become your own boss. The government are very keen at the moment to encourage individuals to work for themselves because of the precarious nature of the traditional job market. The main reasons why people choose this route are as follows:
· Added freedom
· Not having to work for someone else – being your own boss
· Work fewer hours in the long term
· The ability to work from home
· Fostering your personal passions and dreams while working within it
(a crowd favourite with TFC customers we’ve spoken to)
If such benefits appeal to you, then you can consider the first hurdle as passed with ease!
Where will you work?
As outlined above, one of the main reasons why many of us decide to work for ourselves is because we can then choose exactly where we work. To begin with, this may mean working from within your own home until you have enough capital to move to an external premises. Adapting a space you are used to solely using for living and relaxing in to an area that will allow you to work in a productive and efficient manner is not an easy task.
For starters, you need to have the self-discipline to ensure that you will not spend hours perfecting your work playlist, or become distracted by odd jobs in the home and who is going to win on today’s repeat of Bargain Hunt. The key to avoiding any such distraction is to create a designated work space in the home that you use for work and only work. Be this a study or spare bedroom, or a corner of a larger existing room (ideally without a television in it), you need to mentally and physically separate it from the rest of your home. Also try and ensure any other family members view it in the same manner.
One way to achieve this is by employing a rule whereby when you are in your office space, yourself and family members act in the same manner as you would if you were working away from the home. For example, if you receive a personal phone call, whoever answers the phone can inform the caller that you are at work and will return their call when you finish. A system such as this should help keep your work and home lives separate, despite the fact they are both temporarily residing under the same roof.
How will you keep control of finances?
Unless you have a large amount of capital to inject into your new venture immediately, the likelihood is that you will not be able to employ someone on a full-time basis to look after the financial side of your business. Therefore it is imperative in the early days when money will be at its tightest that you maintain a strong grip on your outgoings. The GOV.UK website offers a whole host of advice on managing your cash flow, and if you are serious about going it alone, includes a series of helpful guides that will help you to understand payment terms, manage cash flow, chase payments effectively, and assess the credit status of potential customers.
While being passionate about your work is one of the main motivations of setting up your own business, ultimately you are working to make money, so you need to do everything you can to maximise profit. If your budget can stretch to it, consider hiring the services of a freelance accountant to keep your affairs in order.
Published Thursday January 31, 2013