Transitioning to Self-Employment
I think it is quite common for people to think about self-employment. I know I fantasized about this possibility for a long time. In November, I finally made the difficult decision to leave the security of my full-time position to launch my own company Achieve Coaching and Consulting LLC.. To say the least, the process of Transitioning to Self-Employment has been exciting and anxiety producing.
I worked at Franklin Academy (East Haddam, CT), a school for students with learning differences as a Learning Specialist for twelve years. This position was incredibly rewarding in many ways. I worked with amazing students and talented co-wrokers, and strongly believed and continue to believe Franklin Academy’s mission. However, over the past year or so I began to think more and more about the possibility of using my skills to build my own company. I want to serve students with a similar profile that maybe can not afford the option of boarding school or maybe need some additional support along the way.
As I mentioned, the idea of leaving full-time employment is scary. So, I took a few steps in hopes of creating some back up income. In February of 2016, I decided to launch this blog in hopes that I could monetize it and possibly make some extra income while writing about things I love. I plan to take steps to do this very soon. I wanted to build up my posts and increase my engagement before moving in this direction.
My experience with my blog created interesting ripple effects. Through the course of developing and running Thyetocreate.com, I began to develop website maintenance and social media skills. As this happened, I began to think about how this skill set could benefit Franklin Academy and offered them my services. Midway through this year, I began acting as their social media coordinator. I will continue this role moving forward and am very excited.
At the same time, I started setting up a coaching and consulting business that will provide academic support services to students with learning differences. In January, I received my formation papers and filed for my tax numbers. More recently, I opened my business banking accounts, applied for a business credit card, and had my business contract templates reviewed by an attorney. I was also contacted by the Better Business Bureau and was asked to become accredited by them.
My last year with Franklin Academy as a full-time employee came to an end on June 3rd when the class of 2017 graduated. Although I will miss many things about Franklin Academy (despite the fact that I will continue to do some work with the school), I am very excited for this next chapter of my life.
I will be focusing my attention on marketing my new company, Achieve Coaching and Consulting LLC. To date, I have already been contacted by a few people who are interested in my services and hope to get started very soon.
Lessons Learned Along the Way
- Prepare for Expenses: Some of the expenses that I accused during start up included filing for my business formation/tax numbers, business insurance, marketing, legal guidance, and purchase of software such as quickbooks. I am currently not renting space which helps reduce overhead.
- Expect Waves of Emotions: As I have started my company, I have experienced moments of absolute confidence to panic. Most of the time, I know I have planned well. However, there are times when people have questioned my judgment in giving up a great job. In these times, I sometimes question myself. But, most of the time I feel confident that I made the right choice.
- Expect to Make Mistakes: This is know and you are likely to make mistakes. Try not to let this paralyze you. As a perfectionist, this has been a hard lesson. If I waited for my marketing material to be perfect, it never would have been completed. Pick your battles.
- Know your Strengths and Weaknesses: Before starting your own company, consider what your strengths are that will help you and what your weaknesses are. that might trouble you. How will you compensate? For me, a weakness is that I am fairly introverted and have to market myself. A strength is that I am organized and am able to set my own routines and adhere to them. What are they for you?
- Set Goals: Create SMART goals. Where do you want to be in 3 months? 6 months? 1 Year? 5 years? Be reasonable, but push yourself. How will you get there? How will you monitor your progress? I have set goals for myself regarding the number of clients I would like to have by certain points in time and the gross income I would like to achieve.
As you think about transitioning to self-employment, I encourage you to be realistic. Consider the expenses and the hours spent behind your billable hours. It is a lot of hard work, but it is also highly rewarding.
I love to hear from my readers and am happy to respond to any questions. Transitioning to self-employment is a big move. However, I know for me it was the right move.