Your Link To A Better CareerSelf Employment

Self Employment

Becoming self employed is a decision more and more people are making these days.  With companies reducing staff and cutting costs, it's becoming more attractive to work for yourself.  By owning your own business you determine how much you work, how the company's money is spent, and even how much you make.  On the flip side, there are many new responsibilities that, since you are now the employer and/or the employee, you now own.  Before you decide to dump your job and strike out on your own, be sure that you're aware of both the benefits, and downsides of doing so. 

Here are some things you should consider.  We'll leave it up to you to determine whether they are "pros" or "cons".

If you are:

an Employee Self Employed
Your company handles finances:
paycheck, retirement plan, 401K, taxes, etc
You handle the finances and make sure the bills get paid.
The success of the company depends on the efforts of multiple people. You alone determine the success of your company.
Your salary or salary guidelines are set by the company. YOU set your salary.
Other people may handle administrative tasks. You handle EVERYTHING.
The company handles advertising and promoting the product or service. It's up to you to advertise and promote your business.
The company ensures labor laws are followed and that the company operates within legal boundaries. You are responsible for knowing what is legal/illegal for your company.
The company provides equipment and other materials necessary for you to do your job. You pay for and provide your own equipment.
The company trains and educates you so that you can do your job. You are responsible for learning and becoming proficient at the skills necessary to run your business.

This is by no means an exhaustive list of all the factors related to being employed vs. being in business for yourself, but it should be enough to help you determine whether you're ready and willing to go into business for yourself.

If you're going to own your own business, one of your biggest challenges is going to be advertising. That great product or business idea doesn't do you any good without customers! There are many different ways you can go about advertising, with expenses ranging from fairly cheap to as much as you're willing to pay. Here are some inexpensive ways to advertise your business.

  • Networking
  • The cheapest way to advertise your business is to ... tell people about it! Let people know that you've started your own business. You can mention it in conversations, post an entry on your Facebook or MySpace page, or even send out an email (only to people you know, of course) telling them that you've started your own business and would appreciate their consideration if they're in the market for your products or services. 'Word of mouth' is one of the oldest, and often most trusted forms of advertising you can do.
  • Business Cards
  • Your business card is a fairly inexpensive way to let people know about your company and how to get in touch with you. Leaving them laying around may get you some attention, but it's best to use them as a follow-up to a conversation with someone about your business (i.e. Networking).  That way they have something to remind them about the conversation, and also your contact information so that they will know where to find your product, or how to get in touch with you.
  • Fliers
  • Some businesses have bulletin boards where they will let you hang a flier.  Get creative and create a flier that announces your business and presents your products or services in an appealing manner. Grocery stores and small, privately owned businesses often allow you to leave or post some information about your business.
  • Submit your Business to Search Engine Local Listings
  • Google, Yahoo and Bing all offer free listings in their Local Listing Services. These are free services that the search engines use to display local business names along-side map-based search results.
    Yahoo's Local Business Directory
    Google's Local Business Directory
    Bing's Local Business Directory
  • Car Magnet Signs
  • Do you spend a lot of time in traffic? A car magnet sign can advertise your business for you while you're driving down the road, or parked in a parking lot. Come up with a catchy phrase, or colorful sign to display your business name to everyone while you're driving around.

These are some in-expensive ways to get the word out about your business. When your business takes off, and you've got more money to spend on advertising, you can take out ads in newspapers, magazines and online, or on billboards, or start sending traffic to your website (if you've got one) with Pay-per-click (PPC) ads. If your business includes a website, you should also either learn about Search Engine Optimization (SEO) or hire someone that knows how to do it.  You'll want people to be able to find your business in Google, Yahoo and Bing searches, and there are techniques and methodologies that will help your site show up in their results.

When you are self-employed, you also own making sure you are compliant with all the legal and financial aspects of running a business. You're responsible for your managing your own taxes, handling your retirement plan, dealing with Social Security, paying and managing employees, and more. We suggest you become very familiar with the IRS Small Business and Self-Employed Tax Center too.

There are also other government resources available to help small business owners. The US Department of Labor offers Self-Employee Assistance programs. Under these programs, States can pay a self-employed allowance, instead of regular unemployment insurance benefits, to help unemployed workers while they are establishing businesses and becoming self-employed. Participants receive weekly allowances while they are getting their businesses off the ground.