Saturday, July 19, 2008

Home based jobs: Tips for self employment

Working at a job where you are self employed can be a real life enhancer. But there are certain things you have to do to be successful over the long term.

The most important thing is you have to be self motivated.
You need to be the one to drive yourself. Most people are not self motivated enough to be able to work a job where they are self employed. They need to work in a set frame work with a supervisor managing them and assigning them duties. When you are self employed there usually is no one there to scold you if you are late getting started. You are often responsible for a job in its entirety. It can be a lot of responsibility. If you don't perform well you will not be employed long. There is far less lenience than in a conventional job.

One of the best ways to stay motivated is to set goals for yourself. You need to think of things that appeal to you and make you happy. For example many people are motivated by money. Money is a great tool that can give you many choices and flexibility. But for some people it might be having time off. If you love to golf or just want to spend time with your family planning a day off or several days off might be a great incentive. Whatever motivates you is what you should choose.
Once you decide what motivates you set it as your goal. Then determine what you need to do, defined by some level of job performance, to achieve your goal. For example, you may say that you want to take a four day weekend with your family and go somewhere fun. You tell yourself that if you finish your current project before deadline and secure another assignment that you have earned this reward. This way you will have something to work for.

You have to be Organized.
Because you do not have a well oiled infrastructure to work within when you are self employed it is critical to be organized. If you don't have anyone working with you that can help you then take advantage of outside services. For busy people, there are many inexpensive services to help you stay organized. Voice Mail, secretary services, full service copy centers such as Kinko's and much more. If you are a do it yourselfer, there are plenty of software programs that can help keep you organized like Microsoft Outlook for example. Programs like this will let you set your calendar and will actually come on and remind you of meetings and important events. You can also store phone numbers, email addresses, fax numbers and much more in easy to access files. Having a sophisticated digital answering machine and email can help you with ensuring you always get your messages and makes it easy for people to communicate with you. In addition, you should consider having a fax machine. You will almost certainly need a computer that is linked to the Internet with email capability.

Aside from technology there is good old fashion filing systems. You want to keep a calendar and a good filing system. Be sure to keep all your receipts if you are employed as an independent sub-contractor. When in doubt keep it, and keep it for seven years.

You have to have Self Discipline.
One of the most important keys to success in working independently is having self discipline. If you work on your own and particularly if you work at home there are plenty of distractions. You usually will not have a supervisor checking up on you and guiding you at your work space. You will have to set your own schedule and maintain it. You will have to get organized and stay organized. You will have to return your phone, fax and email messages. Part of staying disciplined is focusing on a goal. If you have something to motivate you it will help keep you on track. Part of being self disciplined means following through.

You have to be dedicated.
Finally, you have to be dedicated. Being dedicated means that you are committed to your employer to doing the best job you are capable of. That you will get the job done even when there are obstacles in your way. You don't give up easily, that you have persistence. Being dedicated and hard working is often the top quality looked for by employers. If you are dedicated you can be sure you will never be out of work. This is a critical element of success.

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Anonymous said...

Interesting post. I'd like to become self-employed and run my own business since I'm tired of working for someone else. This is very helpful for obvious future purposes. Anyway, lately I've become more interested in buying a business instead of starting one from scratch. Any suggestions? Advice? Thanks so much.

L. Edwards said...

@Carol -- If you're thinking about buying a business, I know there are websites you could browse for more info. There's one called, which is an online global marketplace where you can buy or sell a business. It has a lot of helpful advice and tips, and you can also use it find a lender, broker, etc.

You can also check out small business groups in your area. They can also be very helpful, and it's always good to network.

Good luck!