You’re not alone!
Honestly, I think it’s one of the biggest obstacles holding people back from working for themselves. You are changing so much of your life all at once when you take on becoming self-employed.
Change is hard, but when you are changing how you make money, your identity and your lifestyle it can be super overwhelming. You don’t even know where to start!
You know how to make this big change seem less daunting? You need a plan.
There are loads of people out there telling you how to start a business, but no one ever really tells you how to make the transition from employment to self-employment, until now!
I truly believe you can make this transition in less than a year using the following plan. Of course, your level of commitment will heavily influence how fast you can make this big change!
This self-employment transition plan outlines the moment you decide to start exploring your self-employment options through the moment you are able to sustain yourself financially by working all on your own.
The goal of this plan is 3-fold:
1) Help you learn about yourself to understand all your possibilities for work.
2) Choose the right work opportunity for you in alignment with your values, purpose, abilities, needs and circumstances.
3) Learn how to transition your personal resources of energy, time and money by adopting the habits of the self-employment lifestyle.
The self-employment transition plan involves passing through 3 core phases:
Phase #1: Self-Assessment
Phase #2: Practice Growth Habits
Phase #3: Work Design
Let’s get a brief overview of what happens during each phase.
Phase #1: Self-Assessment
If you want to work for yourself, you need to assess yourself first.
You are the first resource for your business. Nothing happens without your effort.
When you take the time to assess yourself, you are dramatically increasing your odds for success. You understand how to best direct your time, energy and money toward your goal.
I’ve identified a dozen different aspects of your life you can assess, but I believe the most important ones to spark your self-employment transition process are:
They are your personal code of conduct for how you guide your thoughts, habits and actions. They are the starting point of your self-assessment because they provide the blueprint for your self-employment transition plan.
Your purpose is a big challenge that motivates you to take action, even beyond making money. It’s something worth struggling over.
Your work needs.
These are the ingredients of your own personal productivity, not what someone else thinks will make you more productive.
A few of those ingredients include:
- How you like to work with other people and the types of people that really energize you.
- Identifying your peak performance period, the 4-hour period each day when you have the most energy and your sharpest mental focus to do your best work.
- Your preferred work environment. Do you like to work inside or outside? Bright or dark? Quiet or noisy?
Your most marketable skills.
These are skills that are in demand. You could sell these skills as a service if you lost your job today.
Think of your core skill as the reason why your current employer counts on you right now. That’s your most marketable skill.
The cost of your ideal lifestyle.
How much money do you really need to make or want to make to live your ideal lifestyle?
If you don’t know how much money you really need to make every month, calculate the cost of your ideal lifestyle now.
Stuff holding you back.
When you are about to go down a new path in life like self-employment, it’s best to lighten your load as you embark on your journey. It’s time to unpack and let go of your mental baggage.
We all have crap that is unknowingly holding us back. Find out what it is and deal with it! If you don’t, it’s going to sabotage future decisions you will make as you design your business. The time is now.
You can get the full self-assessment list when you sign up for coaching updates here.
Phase #2: Practice Growth Habits
When you work for yourself, you direct your own growth. There is no one telling you how to use your time, energy or money. You are now your own boss.
You also need to create value out of thin air. Your ideas are transformed into income by practicing the following 4 growth habits.
1) Build community.
No one has ever become successful in going it alone. You need to find your tribe.
Your motivation to take on a huge life transformation like self-employment requires support from people who understand the change you want to make.
2) Learn new skills.
Our economy is changing so rapidly that skills that were once valuable are quickly becoming obsolete. Learning doesn’t end with formal education.
You need to be constantly learning and challenging yourself. After all, growth is born out of challenges.
3) Create and experiment.
You need to get your ideas out of your head. Begin the process of turning them into reality by writing about them, doodling or creating a prototype!
Don’t wait for permission to work. Give yourself permission to experiment, to fail and to make mistakes. That’s how you are going to learn and grow.
Don’t wait for someone to offer you money before you create work.
4) Self-awareness and self-reflection.
When you adopt a habit of self-awareness and a practice of self-reflection, you being to live your life more intentionally and on your terms.
You’ll make much better decisions about how you design the work that works for you. Rather than reacting to circumstances, you’ll pause to determine how to best respond based on your values, purpose, needs and abilities.
When you don’t know how to get started, get stuck or lose motivation, these 4 growth habits will keep you moving forward. They help you maintain your focus. I like to think of them as the engine of your personal motivation.
Phase #3: Work Design
The future of work is no longer about fitting into someone else’s job description. It’s about writing your own.
One of the biggest mistakes people make when becoming self-employed for the first time is choosing the wrong business model for them. Just because someone else found success with a particular business model, doesn’t mean you will.
To succeed as I know you can, you need to choose work opportunities in alignment with your purpose, values, needs, abilities and circumstances.
So how do you begin to write your own job description, create your own business model or design your own work?
There are 5 core steps.
Step #1 Tell Your Story
The more people you tell about the work you really want to do, the more real the possibility becomes. Even if you don’t have a clear idea about exactly the kind of work you want to do, start telling people whatever you can.
The more you talk about it with others, the faster you are going to figure out what it is you really want to do.
Step #2 Define Problem You Want to Solve
Starting a business is actually fairly simple. You just need to find a problem people are willing to pay to have solved. Then come up with a solution based on their feedback and your unique skill set.
Step #3 Identify Your Core Work Habits
I’m not an advocate of writing 100+ page business plans or really any business plan at all. And that’s coming from a guy who has as MBA!
My version of designing your business model involves identifying the 3 core work habits that will have the greatest impact on the development and growth of your business. That’s it.
I think of my 3 core work habits as the engine of my business plan. They are 1) meet other people interested in self-employment 2) self-reflect and prioritize my goals 3) create content to help inspire more people to become self-employed.
Step #4 Pick One Measure of Success
When you are starting your business, don’t get overwhelmed by tracking every little metric possible.
I do recommend choosing one metric to monitor. After all, you want some measure to know your business is headed in the right direction. I call this metric, the “sample”.
The sample is the giveaway or free trial to get your customers familiar with your product or service, so you can build a deeper relationship with them. It creates engagement.
It’s also the red flag, warning of potential problems with your business.
Step #5 Your Transition Plan
Having a transition plan takes away a lot of the unknowns, downgrades your fears and breaks down your tasks into achievable goals.
The most important action you can take to put your plan in motion is to schedule time on a weekly basis to work on your plan.
The second most important action you can take is to begin hanging with people who are either self-employed or what to become self-employed.
The third most important action is running your financial numbers to assess how you are going to transition from a steady paycheck to income from your business. Calculate the cost of your lifestyle right now!
Anytime you feel stuck, always refer back to your transition plan to regain your focus and motivation!
Start Your Self-Employment Transition Now
While everyone has a unique path in life, there is a common framework for making the transition from employment to self-employment.
To help you begin the self-employment transition process, I have created a 12-week self-assessment challenge. Each week I’ll send you a new challenge to learn about one aspect of yourself as you prepare to become self-employed.