Every now and then, when I tell people what I do for a living I am asked “how can I do that too?” Usually I can’t offer much more than a shrug, but perhaps I can answer it with another question: “Is the lifestyle best suited to you?” Being self-employed has many benefits, but also requires many sacrifices.
You are your own boss. There’s no manager prodding you, but it’s up to you to manage your time and create opportunities. You won’t always know exactly what needs to be done. Being a good problem-solver is incredibly important.
You can pick your own hours. You can plan your work around your day, instead of the other way around. If an emergency comes up, you don’t need to ask for time off, or fear negative marks on your record. However, discipline is needed to ensure that any work actually gets done.
You create your own paycheck. Depending on your industry, there can be a whole lot of income potential. Instead of getting a salary, though, your sales are your lifeblood. Your income may vary from month to month. It’s not a steady paycheck. Sometimes the cash flow is great, and other times you may be in a crunch. Being able to make it though the tough times, not unlike those present today, is part of the job description of an entrepreneur.
It’s a different lifestyle. It’s up to you to decide how you want to manage the mix of your business and personal life. Be prepared to deal with being asked why you don’t get a real job. Many won’t take you seriously at first, but if you stay with it, longevity will become credibility.
You don’t need a college degree. Don’t be fooled, though. Education is incredibly important. You need to know your industry. You need to know the basics about business management, taxes, and legal issues. While college courses can offer this information, they won’t prepare you for what you will face being your own boss, though. College is an incredibly good way to prepare for employment, but that is where it ends. In order to succeed in business you need to take the proper steps necessary to educate yourself. Learn about your industry, and about entrepreneurship in general. Even if you have a college degree, it won’t do you any good unless you continue to stay on top of your trade. The internet holds a wealth of information; use it to your advantage.
On a related note, one of my college professors once admitted to the entire class that everything he learned in college a couple of decades ago is now completely obsolete. You can’t make this stuff up!