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For some individuals or groups of people, creating their own income by being self-employed may be a better option than seeking an employer, even if you’re thinking-of-yourself-as-self-employed.  Being an entrepreneur–even part-time–does require careful planning and persistence just like work search.  For some individuals this option, in the long run, may be a better choice.

Startup Business & Marketing Guru John Jantsch suggests you ask yourself these 10 questions, writing out your answers–Yes, No, Maybe–and explain why:

  1. Can you create a product or service that fills a need you have?
  2. Is there already a proven market for the product or service you want to provide?
  3. Are there healthy competitors doing what you want to do, and if so, who are they?
  4. Can you find a way to stand out from others doing what you want to do?  How would you do so?
  5. Can you leverage the Internet to generate low-cost leads?  Don’t know–research to find out.
  6. Can you make 200-300% profit on what you want to do?  That is, get paid 2-3 times your costs?
  7. Can you sell a package rather than time?  You can, but what does/do the packages contain?
  8. Is there a similar business you can go to work for?  If yes, this is research and training; if no, find training.
  9. Can you start small and grow?  You need to–how might you do so?
  10. Can you see what your picture perfect day in your business would look like in 3-5 years?  Envision it.

Here’s a place to begin exploring.

  1. Use this worksheet as a starting point for thinking about the feasibility of becoming an entrepreneur.
  2. Talk with others (research and brainstorming) as you complete this worksheet to consider the challenges, obstacles and possibilities, including discussions with your EaRN Coach and others in your area’s small business development community.
  3. Consider finding a franchise brokering or vetting organization, such as FranNet, to talk with them about the franchise option–buying a successful concept already tested and supported by a franchisor.

Also, EaRN host organizations also often have resource people who are entrepreneurs who can help you consider the challenges you may face.  And don’t forget the S.W.O.T. Analysis and Worksheet elsewhere in the website which can be useful in exploring this option.

Often folks considering self-employment think they have to do everything by themselves: not so.  Most communities in the US and Canada have resources and resource people to help one launch a new business.

Customers pay us directly for products and/or services.  Each individual’s employer implicitly makes a hiring decision every day, as at-will employment law is the standard in the US and Canada, and most free enterprise economies.  As a self-employed person, every customer’s relationship with you is dependent on their finding your product or service meeting their need sufficient enough that they find it of value, that is, they pay you for it directly.

When you get out of bed each morning and put your feet on the floor, start your day with the “exercise” or mantra, “Think Of Yourself As Self Employed”, and chant, TOY-A-SE!  And tell someone weekly, even daily, that this is your “career sustainability motto”.  Godspeed.

Ken Soper, MA, MDiv, NCDA-recognized Master Career Counselor