If you are currently already your own boss, or you are thinking about going self-employed, you should be interested in the things Scott Gerber says about working for yourself. There are plenty of people in this world who have lots to say on the subject of working for yourself and I happen to like Scott Gerber. He is the founder of Young Entrepreneur Council and is recognized as the most syndicated columnist on entrepreneurial affairs. But don’t think he is just for the youngster starting their own business. He is clear and precise and he makes sense whatever your age, if you are considering or already are working for yourself.
1. You’re Not Invincible
Gerber says the number one rule of working for yourself is to keep your ego in check. It doesn’t matter what you did before starting your own business. The market doesn’t care about your graduate qualification. You’re a newbie and you need to be willing to leave your ego at the door and learn as if you just left college. Look at some of the best businesspeople in the world. They don’t enter new industries with all the arrogance that a rich lifestyle brings. They humble themselves and start taking notes. Furthermore, they aren’t always successful. Becoming a successful businessperson isn’t genetic, it’s learned.
2. Simplicity Equals Profits
Running your own business requires simplicity. Even the simplest of businesses can get complex during tough times. Make it easy on yourself. If you can’t explain your business model in one or two sentences, you’re making it too complex. Get a product, work out how you’re going to sell it, reap the profits. In other words, Gerber says, if you can’t keep it simple, you’re stupid and destined for failure.
3. The Worst Case Scenario
Scott Gerber tells us being self-employed requires a strong will to deal with the worst case scenario. The worst will happen and you will find life difficult at some point. With every plan, think about what could happen to you and how you’ll need to react. Plan in advance and the hit will be lessened when it eventually comes.
Scott Gerber recently pointed to the company College Hunks Hauling Junk to illustrate why you don’t need to be original to start a business. He said they put a creative spin on what is essentially just another junk removal business. New and successful ideas are one in a million. If you wait for that original idea (that might not even work) to come along, you could spend years watching and waiting for something that never comes.
5. Startup Costs
Let’s be honest, most of you won’t be starting a company with the Bank of Mom and Dad helping you out. Most of the time, you’ll be working for yourself with almost nothing. Scott Gerber started out with almost nothing, and he says the key to his success was having a minimal number of startup costs. Pick an industry that allows you to get started with almost nothing. This way you’ll have a flexible growth plan, and if things go wrong you won’t find yourself being tossed out on the street.
6. Be Cheap
It’s time to throw out the idea of social image and get cheap. Imagine yourself as a person in poverty. Instead of taking a cab to your destination, get up an hour early and walk. Little savings can make working for yourself that much more secure. Even a few dollars in savings can start to add up over a period of time.
7. Business Plans
Practically every guide to being self-employed will tell you about the importance of the business plan. Gerber tells you to forget about it. Keep your business plan to a simple condensed paragraph. Long dissertations mean nothing. Most of the time, they’ll be filed away and never looked at in detail again. Small businesses change all the time. You shouldn’t apply what a corporation needs to a small venture. Many companies won’t even have a formal business plan. The owner will simply have a vision they always stick to. They might have a list of annual goals and that’s it. Go with what’s comfortable. Ignore the so-called experts. Just do what you feel right. A business plan has never saved a mismanaged small business.
Working for yourself isn’t a breeze and having an inspirational guide to being self-employed will help, but it comes down to the simple fact that your success will be of your own making. My decision to work for myself was the best career choice I ever made, I only wish I had made it many years ago, but I am really happy in my job now. Are you working for yourself or considering it? And if you want to know why you should be listing to Scott Gerber, check out his profile here: scottdgerber.com.