One of the things that often concerns HR professionals who are thinking of becoming self-employed is the isolation that might come with working on your own. Lets face it, HR professionals are passionate about people – that’s why they’re in HR. 

But being self-employed doesn’t necessarily mean being on your own. 

If you are serious about becoming self-employed I recommend that one of the first things you do is build your “Dream Team” of contacts that can provide you with the various types of support you need at different times. 

To make a success of self-employment your network of contacts needs to be able to provide different types of support at different times. Research has shown that people typically need three types of support – (1) Practical support such as child-care, help with household chores etc (2) Technical support in areas outside of your expertise such as IT, finance or some other discipline that is an absolute necessity but a complete mystery to you and (3) Emotional support from people close to you who can help you through the tough times. 

1.  Practical Support

The likelihood is that, if you are currently employed or working in any capacity then you already have some practical support to allow you to balance your home and work lives. However, you may need to review whether any changes are required in the event of you becoming self-employed. For example, you may be used to arranging childcare for during office hours to allow you to carry out a 9 to 5 job but may need to supplement that with childcare for early evening or early morning to allow you to attend certain networking events. 

2.  Technical Support

I’ve talked in earlier posts about the need to carry out a number of different roles. At any one time, you need to carry out or manage activities focussed on marketing, prospecting, selling & negotiating, product/service management, financials, administration and organisation. Few of us have equal interest and ability in all these areas. You need to think about your level of skill and interest for carrying out each of the different activities. For the activities you are going to carry out yourself you need to have the skill or be prepared to develop it. For those activities you are unable to carry out yourself you need to enlist the help of others. Examples of areas where you may need the support of experts are:

Deciding your legal structure;

Sales and marketing;

Obtaining funding;

Managing your accounts;

Facilities & premises;

Organisation & administration;

Hiring staff;

Equipment & technology.

3.  Emotional Support

This is support from people close to you, who can help you through the more challenging times. These are the people who will be there to help you work through a difficult situation, and help you bounce back after a setback. Typically these people leave us feeling more energised, confidence and up-beat, after we have spent some time with them.