First and foremost, you need to be very clear about the reasons why you are driven to be your own boss. You need to take into account that when you become self employed, you give up 4 weeks paid holiday and paid sick leave, as well as a regular steady income. If all you are doing is buying yourself a job with exactly the same income you have right now, it may not be worth your while.
Being your own boss should either provide you with the financial freedom you want; and or the lifestyle you desire. So from the get-go it’s important to figure out whether your goal is more money; or a better work-life balance. Or both.
Estimates suggest that at least 50 per cent of new small businesses fail in the first five years in New Zealand (Pinfold, 2000; Business Activity Statistics, 1992-93). So if you are going to take that big leap into the unknown and go it alone, here are some personal qualities you will need to ensure your success in the business:
You need to have the ability to build relationships on sincerity and integrity. Treat people with respect and kindness, and they will do the same to you.
You need to enjoy a challenge. Be willing to make mistakes; and learn from them. You need to want to be the best in what you do.
When starting your own business you are taking a risk. You need courage to expose yourself to potential failure. You need to be comfortable with that risk.
Self Motivated and Disciplined
You need to be prepared to work hard. Starting off alone you may feel like you’re doing 3 people jobs – receptionist; therapist and administration. The days can be exhausting and long. You cannot procrastinate. Stay focussed and keep your sights on the end goal.
Positive Attitude and Outlook
The love of your business and your strong desire to succeed is what will drive you as an entrepreneur. Learn to see every challenging situation with “what’s in this for me?” Be patient and kind to yourself. You will grow as your business grows. Remember you have to learn to walk before you can dance!
Persistent, Persuasive and Determined
You must be able to sell yourself and your business. That is surprisingly hard! It is always easier someone else’s skills/product than your own. You have to believe in yourself and your business. You need to get back up when challenges knock you down and face the next day or challenge with a smile.
Knowledge and Confidence
You need to be confident in your skills. If not, find the right person/s to help you. You need to be confident in your message to your clients. Trust and love the brands and products your work with. Be clear on your vision for your business. Believe and live by your mission statement – every day. If you believe it, so will your clients.
Ask for Help
Asking for advice does not mean you are weak. Find your role models in the industry and ask for advice. Build a strong support team around you. On your own, you can only do so much. Reach out and ask for help when you need it – whether that comes from a friend, mentor, parent or someone you admire. More often than not, successful business people are very open and willing to share their knowledge; all you have to do is ask.