Maybe you get scared of going back to an office. The seed of a business idea floats in your head between work video calls, after the kids are asleep, or while you tend your pandemic garden. Or maybe you were fired during the pandemic and forced to work for yourself, and now you are wondering if you should continue on this path.
“Covid-19 has been a social, cultural and emotional shock that we have not experienced for generations. Becoming an entrepreneur is a deeply personal decision, and the pandemic may have made many people embrace it, ”according to a report released in February by the Economic Innovation Group, a Washington-based think tank.
Deciding if self-employment is right for you depends on your personality, your financial situation, and your ability to adapt. Here is advice from people who have become their own bosses.
See if you’re good at the job
Many of us now appreciate the flexibility of working from home. As a freelance writer or independent contractor, you would have the power to set your own schedule.
“Being in charge is very, very appealing to a lot of people,” says Keith Hall, president and CEO of the American National Association for the Self-Employed, a resource and advocacy group. “The flip side is that when you are in charge of your own destiny, you are also in charge of it.”
Assess your abilities as a potential employer
“Freelancers need to be self-motivated, work well independently, be organized, learn to market their services well and be comfortable with a certain level of uncertainty,” said Executive Director Sara Sutton. She runs two US companies focused on remote and flexible employment opportunities: FlexJobs, a job search site, and Remote.co, which provides resources for companies considering working remotely.
Ms. Hall suggests asking yourself if you have the motivation to be in charge of your own destiny.
“If you wake up Monday morning and decide to stay in bed late, it’s a financial loss. No one will be standing above you to get you out of bed. “
If you wake up on Monday morning and decide to stay in bed late, it’s a financial loss
Sara Sutton, entrepreneur
Make a plan that fits your finances
Before you decide to become self-employed, become a consultant, or turn your business into a business, take a close look at your finances.
Many concocted a budget during the pandemic. Review this plan to make sure you understand your costs, such as food, rent, and child care. (The 50:30:20 approach is a quick way to divide your dollars into three buckets: needs, wants, and savings.)
Isolate what you can invest in a business. Small costs like buying a domain name, purchasing the premium version of software, or fees for joining a networking group can add up.
Use your budget to set short and long term business goals, says Hall. “Know exactly what you need to earn to reach your family goals and translate it into a timeline.”
Evaluate your timing
You may need to keep your daily job for a while, but you can still grow your sales force.
“Being an entrepreneur has never been a goal for me,” says Afenya Montgomery, Founder and CEO of iCAN Collective, a creative workspace and event venue for women entrepreneurs of color in Chicago.
Ms. Montgomery, a registered nurse and health care administrator, began the health care consultation at the same time. Her search for resources and support inspired the idea of creating a community for women entrepreneurs of color.
Ms. Montgomery and her husband were raising three children and had no business experience, so quitting her day job was not an option. She spent four years learning the ropes of entrepreneurship before feeling confident enough to quit.
She organized networking events, opened a professional bank account, and eventually registered her business as a limited liability company. Taking small steps can make the process less overwhelming, she says.
Between strategies, goals and budgets, the idea of working for yourself can seem daunting, but entrepreneurs say you don’t have to do it alone.
Laura Licursi, founder of Elite Virtual Assistants, an agency that connects employers with remote assistants, says the pandemic has been surprisingly difficult for her online-only business as clients have downsized. Ms. Licursi went through the uncertainty with a mentor.
“My mentor helped me work on the inner workings of the business when things were slow, which really helped when things picked up,” she says.