5 Ways to Prep for Self-Employment According to Three Female Entreprenuers
It’s a magical time between having your “what if I worked for myself?” moment and receiving the tax documents to prove it’s the real deal. For many, excitement around what the future could look like is easily matched with fear of what it could look like if things don’t go as planned. Spoiler alert: According to three inspiring women who took the leap to work for themselves—it never goes as planned. But that doesn’t mean the road to self-employment is any less enthralling or full of growth. We asked them about the top things aspiring boss babes can do to prep for the big jump, and the advice has our feet dying to leave the ground.
1. Keep your day job AND build your dream job.
While the desire for self-employment isn’t always driven by dollar signs, the need to consider money is always part of the equation. Christine Michael Carter, a self-employed global marketing strategist and writer for publications like Forbes and TIME Magazine, advises having at least three months worth of pay saved before opening shop. “I recently completed an article for Forbes discussing how economists predict another recession in 2020. I had the experience of starting a business one year before the 2008 recession was declared, so this is my biggest, most personal piece of advice.”
Chinae Alexander, the now entrepreneur, lifestyle personality, writer, speaker and wellness expert was initially identified as an entrepreneur by her boss, who paid her two months of salary to launch a business. “That wasn’t a ton of money… but was definitely helpful. It quickly became about finding the balance between saving and investing in my business. Do I need four Zara dresses? No. But I spent where it helped grow the business.”
2. Cozy up to vulnerability.
Fake it ‘til you make it, right? Not always. Vanessa Linsey Gobes, whose résumé includes life coach, writer, meditation teacher and former meditation center co-founder, says hit unsubscribe to this mantra. “People have imposter syndrome when they pretend they know something,” she says. “I was much more successful owning not knowing everything and learning to ask questions.”
Chinae agrees. “Confidence and fearlessness are not the same. When I consider what confidence actually means, it’s being aware of your fear, acknowledging it and asking, ‘What am I going to do about it?’ Confidence became raising my hand and admitting to not knowing—that’s where you learn and connect with people.”
3. Keep doubters close, keep believers closer.
When it comes to your own products and services, self-belief can quickly turn into tunnel vision. “Share your vision and strategy with everyone in your environment,” says Christine. “Elevator pitch with 10 different people—from Uber drivers, to baristas and beyond… pay attention to common objections or questions people have about the brand. If they can’t simply understand your brand, then you’re probably not explaining it well.”
It’s just as important to find your groupies and fellow self-bosses. “Your future’s going to look like the five people you surround yourself with. Keep a strong circle of professional friends and people who inspire you,” says Vanessa.
4. Be open to all opportunities—and all people who may bring them.
Chinae, whose first business venture involved muffins, once sat a café and overheard a woman talking about her catering business. She decided to walk up and ask her more about the business. Months later, they were catering partners. “I decided I had to be bold and put myself out there. You have to see everyone and everything as a possible way to grow.”
5. Curate your space for creation.
Basement start-ups are cliché for a reason: New businesses gravitate towards re-purposing extra space. Just make sure you’re true to the concept of “re-purposing,” and that the space serves your goals. “It’s huge to take time to clean your space and make it really clear from distractions—no Facebook, no phones,” says Vanessa, who often works from her basement. “The environment impacts what you create, whether you’re aware of that impact or not. Make sure it’s intentional.”