Maybe you don’t remember the exact moment you decided you could be and wanted to be your own boss, but you probably remember your original idea for business. Are you still doing the same business today or has it morphed in positive ways into a slightly or completely different business?
It happened to me about 6 years ago. I used to do financial planning and analysis free for friends. I would help them figure out how to spend less than they earn, control debt, save and plan for retirement especially after a life change (e.g. divorce, job loss, etc.).
I knew there wasn’t anyone else around doing this kind of financial planning because I looked for someone a few years before that, and could not find anyone. There were brokers who just want to sell you products, and expensive planners who wouldn’t look at you if you weren’t worth millions. I was helping friends out. I didn’t think much of it. It was a hobby.
At the same time, I had started another business, an online parenting website, and had a few experts I would video interview for my website like a personal organizer, college planner, etc. I wanted to make the videos as entertaining as possible. I felt like I needed to use myself as a content expert in order to test different video formats, but thought, “I don’t know how to do anything except finance…”
I finally put two and two together and realized my household and small business financial planning ‘hobby’ could be a business. I started doing videos and seminars on financial planning and that’s how my business got started. The most important thing about this big change in direction is that I felt so excited when I woke up in the morning to market my business, and see my clients. I thought about my business all the time, how to grow it, how to make the business model better, how to expand the services I offered.
It all felt so natural. It felt so authentic for me.
That was my journey to being my own boss, but the point is the best thing a self-employed person can do it BE FLEXIBLE. Flow with your ideas and your business. It will take turns and dips and swerves that you cannot imagine. You will be presented with opportunities, and experience setbacks and misfortunes, too. If you can see what those twists and turns are trying to say to you, what opportunity they may be exposing, you can take advantage of it.
Do not stick to an idea only because you started out with is or worse, because you’ve already sunk money into it. That investment was worth it, because if you had not tried you would not know it did not fit and you might not have been exposed to a better opportunity you could have only seen by trying the first business.
Don’t get stuck on what you started with. If your first business idea or model is not getting traction or doesn’t feel authentic for you, see how you can adapt it or do something else completely. You will know, because growing your own business is exhausting. If the thought of midwifing your business from start to success feels exhausting, it may not be the right business model or idea for you.
Try pricing a different way (by the hour or by project), try adding new products or services you’re interested in providing even if they are not an obvious fit and see if you can tie them together. Continuing on the same path, investing hours and money in something that doesn’t feel right is bad financial decision.
Most successful self-employed people have tried several ideas on for size. Or, they thought their business would be writing press releases, but they ended up being really successful at writing radio spots instead. Go with the flow and be open to new possibilities.