by Karen Kodzik
Many of us at one point in our lives—whether we are tired of a long job search or tired of a job that is no longer rewarding—contemplate if self-employment is right for us.
People have to realize that being self-employed isn’t just about being good at something, being a savvy business person or having enough money to invest, it is a career decision based on various factors people should evaluate.
- Insurability. Can you get and afford your own health insurance. This alone can be a deal breaker to self-employment. Check into this early.
- Understandability. Do you really understand the reality of self-employment, both the pros and cons? Talk to successful entrepreneurs.
- Cash flow Reserves. Do you have enough money saved? You should have 2 years worth saved to allow your business to grow to a sustainable level.
- Versatility. Can you and do you want to wear many hats in the business including sales and IT? You will have to assess all your skills, identify any gaps, and plan for how to cover the gaps. If you only do the part you are good at, then the business is likely to fail.
- Lifestyle. Does the 24/7 lifestyle of a new entrepreneur align with your overall life goals and values? Do you have the support of your family? People often want to work for themselves to support a work life balance. It is important to note flexible hours doesn’t mean fewer hours.
- Ambiguity. Do you know what your tolerance for risk and uncertainty is? Not everyone can tolerate the fluctuation in income. I often say a true sign of an entrepreneur is if they are willing to put their savings on the line.
Choosing to be an entrepreneur is an intentional career choice. It should never be a default to a less desirable situation. Being self-employed can be very rewarding, but it requires a conscious assessment in the beginning. Too often people jump into it without going through a structured exercise of self-discovery and evaluation.
Taking the time to assess if self-employment is right for you early on will allow you to know that you have objectively looked at all the factors and can more forward with confidence whether it is working in an entrepreneurial or traditional sense.
Karen Kodzik, a career management consultant and founder of Cultivating Careers, holds a Master’s degree with an emphasis in Career Development and has worked with professionals in transition for over 13 years. She has worked inside of Fortune 500 companies, a global consulting firm, higher education, and a non-profit organization. She has coached and consulted various levels of professionals across industries throughout the country.