Many HR professionals hold the dream that working for themselves would solve all their problems. Maybe you have an area of HR that you’d like to specialise in and offer consultancy services; maybe you’d like the independence and freedom of being your own boss or maybe you’ve recently qualified as a coach and would like more opportunity to use those skills and develop them into a business. 

Or maybe for a million and one other reasons.

If you are an HR professional who is considering self-employment, then think about it, think about it again, then think about it some more.

If you haven’t really thought through why you want to become self-employed, stop right there! For the simple answer to anyone who hasn’t really examined their reasons is – DON’T DO IT!  Or at least don’t do it yet.

For some, self-employment is the best decision they ever made.

Others find that the reality is a terrible shock.

As someone who is self-employed and loves it, I can vouch for the fact that working for yourself has a lot going for it. You have freedom to work in your own way, you have scope to work creatively, you have a wide variety of tasks to complete and accountability only to yourself. You can work to your own time clock, set your own (achievable) standards and avoid the stress and politics that come with any bureaucratic structure.

But working for yourself – whatever your business – is NOT easy!

If it were easy, everyone would do it.

And if it were easy, three-fifths wouldn’t go under with in the first three years.

It takes courage, hard work, and, most probably, some luck too and there are a number of factors working against it. When there’s only you, you have responsibility for everything and have to take on tasks that you once considered well beneath your status.   It can be very lonely with little if any colleague interaction or friendship. Since you’re always in charge, there’s no deferring and you can be often torn between priorities and juggling the many factors beyond your control.

People who make a success of becoming self-employed are motivated to put up with these less favourable factors because the benefits far outweigh the downsides. They know what they really want out of life, they’ve identified that self employment will help them achieve it and they’re prepared to put in the necessary effort to make it happen.

Only you can make a success of starting up a new business. So, from the outset you need to know, deep down inside, why you want to do this.

None of the following is a good basis for going it alone:

1.  You have a fight with the HR Director or Managing Director and resolve never to work there again

2.  You fail to get a promotion in the organisation and think you can do better on the outside

3.  You are made redundant, fired or similar and think it is an easy option until another job comes along

4.  You see how much consultants and coaches charge and think you’ll be able to earn loads more if you were independent than as an employee.

Discord, disappointment, desperation and daydreaming are not good reasons in and of themselves. That’s not to say that these elements might not be part of the mix but, like all things that are ultimately successful, trying to go it alone takes planning and commitment to the idea.

But most of all, it takes ENTHUSIASM, a real desire to realise a life goal and the will to succeed.

If you are considering self employment you need to think about whether self employment will really address your current dissatisfactions and whether it will really help you achieve your dreams. 

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