A Self Employment Checklist

Entrepreneurship has always been a key driver for job creation in our marketplace, and small businesses will continue to generate the lion’s share of new jobs in the future.

When it comes to job creation, there’s no playground quite as exciting or readily available for new entrants than the world of self-employment. While stepping into business is not for the weak or weary, it holds great promise for anyone with skills to market and a modicum of get-up-and-go.

Here are a few questions to ask yourself as you consider joining the ranks of the self-employed.

  1. Do you have the necessary skills for the business you hope to start? A ticketed tradesperson with all the credentials will be better prepared for self-employment than an unskilled worker. If you don’t have them, will you be able to get certified or accredited later? In some types of work, the tickets are less important than skills and reputation.
  2. Do you own the tools and equipment needed to operate as a self-sufficient contractor? Start-up will be easier if you do; still perfectly possible as long as you can access the funds to buy what you need.
  3. Do you have enough money get your business started? If not, will you be able to access funds from other sources, like family, friends, or traditional lenders? New business is risky, bankers know it, and accessing financing is never easy in the early days of an enterprise.
  4. How is your credit rating? If your personal balance sheet is chronically tilted toward the negative side and littered with puffed up credit cards and man-toy bills, you may have to clean house before getting into business.
  5. Do you have any experience at running a business? For many employees, the culture shock that comes with getting into business is a killer. Life looks a whole lot different when you take on the responsibility for marketing, sales, bookkeeping and organizing the jobs.
  6. Do you understand the industry that your business is part of? Most importantly, do you have a strong network of contacts within the industry? Your ability to keep yourself working will rest on the strength of your friends and industry contacts. Your ability to keep your business going will depend on your knowledge of the industry.
  7. Are you persistent? Are you motivated to succeed, and will you be able to keep your enthusiasm going when things get tough?
  8. Do you have the support of your family? In the early days of starting any business, a second or alternate source of income can be crucial to keeping a household going while the business gets its feet under it.
  9. Do you have a tolerance for risk? If risk terrifies you and keeps you awake at night, you may not be suited to the ups and downs of self-employment.

If you answered “no” to all or most of the questions, you might be more suited and able to work for someone else, and wise to hang tough and wait for the next available job. If you’ve answered yes to all of the questions above, you may have the necessary ingredients to start your own small venture. Answering “no” to a few of the questions might mean you have some homework to do. In any event, before you take the plunge, I strongly urge you to hunker down and research your business idea and develop a business plan.

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