From employee to self-employed

Maybe it is something to do with me getting older and my bosses getting younger. Maybe I want to be free to come in at 10 and leave at 4, or work from home now and then without having to tell anybody or to ask permission. As i get older and wiser in the ways of the office, I feel more and more the desire to be my own boss.

So in the spirit of breaking free I am more and more drawn to becoming a consultant, or a freelancer, or both, or more. It will not be now, or tomorrow, or even next year. I have two kids to get through college and a husband who stays home, but in 5 years time, maybe, just maybe I could, and with that in mind, now is the perfect time to start planning how to make that transition from employee to self-employed.

I have been surfing the web and picked up some tips:

1 Have several streams of income; now this I have read in various places, from various people, and it makes sense. It would not be good to rely on one source of income for if that hits a difficult period, then I will be broke. I have experienced enough agencies calling me up to see if I have any projects begging for the expertise of one of their brilliant freelancers. Each of those who call me seem to have a hint of desperation in their voice.

2. Build your network; cos it is who you know that often counts more than what you know. So time to build the network, and also to nurture it so that people remember me and remember what I can do and think of me when they need someone who can.

3. Use your employer as the first client. This is a good way to ease into consultancy, if I can persuade my company to let me work part time initially to give me time to build the business while still having an income, and then keep them as a priority client when my business gets going, so they can benefit from my work without having to pay a full time salary.

4: Choose and research your target customers; the basic that could so easily be missed. Clearly if I define target customer; big company, small company, which country, what industry, etc etc, I can tailor my business better to suit their particular needs and not waste time and energy pitching to the wrong customer or to the right customer in the wrong way, both of which I have  been on the receiving end of in my business life.

I think I should also use the next five years to hone my skills and add some new ones so that when it comes to defining who I am and what I am offering, it is clear to me and to others, and I can identify several areas in order to ensure several streams of income.

some ideas could be:

1, train as a career coach

2. join toastmasters and learn the art of public speaking

3. Polish my IT skills with visio or other office tools

4. Do a project planning certification

5. Develop a training course that I could offer to others

6. develop material for a book

wow, it is all very exciting. I can almost imagine it coming together if I start now. I did mention this to a wonderful lady who I used to work with, and who I admire very much. She was so encouraging, that maybe this is something I should really go for.

Anybody done it, and got some more tips? Anyone used or trained as a career coach? was it useful for you? 🙂