So you want to be your own boss, but you aren’t sure where to start?
There are several levels to leaving the world of employment and chasing wealth. Each stage brings a higher financial upside.
It goes like this:
- Employed — You work for a business and get paid a salary or commission for your work.
- Self-employed — You work directly for clients, cutting out the middle man (employer) and keeping more profits, while also doing more work.
- Business Owner — You run a business and hire employees to handle most of the work for a smaller share of the profits.
- Investor — You become a financial partner in a business and reap the financial rewards (if the business is successful) while contributing little-to-no personal time.
- Lender — You loan your money with interest and the receiving party is required to pay it back no matter what. (Unless they file bankruptcy.)
Want to build an empire and not sure how to get started?
The most practical step forward is transitioning from employed to self-employed because it’s kind of like your normal day job with more responsibility, more freedom, and better pay.
Find Your Valuable Skills
The first step to becoming self-employed is figuring out what service you will provide others.
There are an endless amount of things you can do, but obviously, some are worth more than others.
If you already have a good job that pays reasonably well, switching to being self-employed will be much easier. In many cases, you can simply start consulting, which is where you teach other people or businesses more about how to do your (old) job.
If you don’t have a good job that you enjoy, you might just want to learn a new skill that you can offer others.
That’s what I did after departing the oil industry. I wanted to enter the world of marketing with no experience, no connections, and no formal training — so I taught myself copywriting because I knew I could write and copywriting is the most valuable writing skill a person could ever learn or sell.
There are so many valuable skills you can teach yourself online for free — the opportunities are incredible.
High-Value Online Services You Can Sell:
- Web design
- Graphic design
- Video production
- Audio production
- Application programming
- Social media management
- Pay-per-click ad management
- Search engine optimization (SEO)
All of these skills require you to invest some time learning and practicing, but they’re all worth a lot of $$$! The best part is that you don’t need to go to college or spend a lot of money to learn them.
Plus, you can provide every single one of those services from anywhere in the world with an internet connection, making you completely location-independent.
So what if you’re too lazy to learn a new high-value skill? You still have opportunities to make a living while self-employed.
Low-Skill Services You Can Sell:
- Help people move
- Be a virtual assistant
- Drive for Uber or Lyft
- Provide customer service
Cut Out the Middleman
You don’t realize it yet, but your employer is essentially a broker that works on insanely high commissions. They feed you clients, you do all the work, and they take a bigger share of the money.
Your employer is the middleman between your services and the people who require your services.
What if you cut them out and went straight to the client yourself?
Because we live in a time with more opportunity than ever before, there are thousands of marketplaces for selling services straight to your customers. Using these marketplaces is the quickest and easiest way to become self-employed.
Most of these marketplaces do take a small commission, but it’s nothing compared to what your employer takes.
The best part about using freelancing sites to start your self-employment journey is that you can take gigs on the side while still working your day job. Over time, you’ll be making so much more from your side hustle that your normal job is actually costing you money in lost opportunities.
That’s when it’s time to take the plunge and go all-in!
Once you’ve built up your skills and portfolio, you can move away from those freelance marketplaces and acquire clients directly through your website and social media like any other real business does.
You would be surprised at how easy this is and how many different jobs can easily transition into a freelance career.
For example, what about teachers? They need the school to provide them students, right?
None of these freelance marketplaces are going to make it easy for you, but they will make it a lot easier. They provide a steady stream of leads, so all you have to do is figure out how to sell yourself (and deliver the goods, of course) and you’re golden!
Learn How to Market Yourself
In my experience, it’s your ability to sell yourself that determines how much clients will pay you — not the quality of your services.
Although my skills have increased tremendously, my income has only increased as I got better at marketing myself to potential clients.
This takes time because you have to study your target customers and test different pitches and angles, but that’s part of the fun of being self-employed. Keep practicing and you will improve.
A few things to keep in mind:
- Focus on your client, not you. Tell them exactly what you’re going to do for them, how it’s going to make their life easier, and when it will be completed. They don’t give a fuck about your fancy degree or your passions; they want to know that you’ll get the job done right the first time, on time.
- Sell benefits, not features. You don’t edit videos — you create videos that tell a brand’s story and connect with their ideal customers. You don’t clean houses — you remove the stress and hassle of dealing with a messy home. Get it? The benefit is what’s in it for them. The feature is just a description of your service. Mention features, sell benefits!
- Always overdeliver. The DJ entrepreneur I worked for as a young man had a saying, “overdeliver — get overpaid.” When you overdeliver, you get referrals and repeat business. You overdeliver by always delivering ahead of schedule and always delivering top-notch shit. There will be times when the client isn’t happy and will want revisions if you sell a high-value service. That’s okay and often normal but make the revisions quickly and accurately.
Focus on developing your craft and do those three things and you will self-employed and profitable in no time.
Don’t overcomplicate this — develop a skill that people will pay money for and start selling that skill to them. It really is that simple.
Yes, it will be challenging and frustrating at times. But that’s the price you pay to be self-employed.
Or I guess you can keep selling yourself short for your employer.
What do you think? Do you agree, disagree or have any thoughts to add? Let me know in the comments below.
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