So, you are thinking about changing careers and joining the likes of Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, and my neighbor down the street? Or maybe you don’t have a career but would like to find out how you can simply work for yourself? Either way, you are living in the best country in the world, where anything is possible! So, clear your mind and get ready to brainstorm your way into a new career!
First and foremost, you should ask yourself the question, “what is the difference between a job and a career?”. Personally, I believe that a job is something that you do to pay the bills. It can be anything from mowing lawns to building websites. The trick here is simple…do you love what you’re doing? If you love what you are doing and get paid enough to be happy, then that should be your career. However, if you are working for pay, but dread doing it, then that is a job and easily rectified.
Wherever you find yourself, it’s always good to take stock of your situation before you begin any major change. Here are some more simple questions that can help you to decide if self employment is right for you:
1.) Have you had a “job” in the same industry for several years? Did you enjoy it?
2.) If you have had an enjoyable career, what would you have changed?
3.) Would you enjoy the added responsibility of keeping your books? Tracking profit margins? Managing people?
4.) Do you have the ability to stay motivated when nobody is looking?
5.) Do you have the financial ability to work without (or limited) pay for a short time – 3-6 months?
These questions are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to starting your own business, however there are really two different ways of going about being self employed:
Become an independent contractor:
The difference is in the details. If you have an employable skill set, but you would like to just be your own boss, then consider working in your field of choice as a freelance independent contractor. This usually means that you get paid only when you work, and you have to deal with your own taxes, insurance, etc. This also means that when your “employer” is slow, you have to find another one. This is risky, but can be very rewarding if done properly.
Become a small business owner / entrepreneur:
On the other hand, if you really enjoy the idea of running your own business (marketing, sales, etc.), then starting your own may be the way to go. Consider, that even if you simply want to create a lawn mowing business, you will have to setup a proper business entity. This topic also includes creating a full on business plan before you even begin. At a minimum, you should put down your ideas on paper and present them to someone that is already a business professional. If they can’t wrap their heads around it, you may have a problem.
Now, that’s not to say that you can’t find ways to make money that aren’t some where in the middle, but if you are looking to start a “career” then there is some criteria you should consider. You’ve got to be able to live off of the money you make, long-term, and you should focus on something you don’t hate doing.
Whichever way you go, consider the implications of your decision. What I mean is that you shouldn’t take it lightly. While there are many stories of get rich quick schemes and simple online money making businesses, DON’T BELIEVE THE HYPE! Take the time to research you passions, experience, and gifts. There is no reason to rush this, and if you feel you have to hurry up and make a decision, then go get a job for now. Make an educated decision and you won’t regret it.
Here’s some ways to help your idea brainstorm:
Trouble finding a career path?
Talk to a university guidance counselor. Go see them face to face and ask to take a Myers-Briggs personality test. This test will help you decide what you are built for. It’s a great way to identify where your personality might excel!
Difficulty discovering your passions?
Ask your friends to go have a cup of coffee with you. Let them know you are struggling to find an answer. Ask them to help you figure it out.
Afraid to pull the trigger?
Don’t be! Take the time to review your options and don’t make a decision until you have to. If you need help, check out our self employment agencies page for assistance.
You’ve made the decision, but don’t know where to begin?
Set up an appointment with a local CPA. This may cost a small amount, but will definitely be worth your time.
Want to know more about start up costs?
Go speak with a small business owner. Ask your local Chamber of Commerce to hook you up with someone. Whatever you do, don’t talk to a bank; they will try to help you into debt (which is the number one killer of all businesses)!
Still feeling fuzzy?
Go get a job that makes you happy so that you can call it a career!