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How to be Successfully self-employed


Local Author and Personal Life Coach, Dave Robson outlines the essential ingredients

In my line of work I meet many people who have recently been made redundant, hate their jobs, simply can’t get one, or are going through a mid-life crisis, and are turning to self employment as a panacea to solve all their problems, or at least their financial ones. And it can be exactly that in the right circumstances. But first, please, before you invest all your redundancy money in setting yourself up, let’s have a reality check.

It takes a certain mindset to be successfully and happily self- employed. Ask yourself, and be brutally honest, do you have that mindset, and if not, could you develop it? Let’s look in more detail.

Devotion is the name of the game, especially in the beginning. Time and time again I see people woefully underestimating the amount of time and effort required to get a fledgling business venture off the ground. Many people who used to be employed are also shocked when they feel the weight and responsibility of their own good fortune resting on their own shoulders. And too often people underestimate the amount of cash they will need to survive while their new enterprise gets up and running.

24 January 2013

I’ve been self employed in various different fields for some 32 years now and I’ve made every mistake in the book, yet for me it’s a no-brainer. I love being my own boss, I hated “working for the man,” and in the end I decided to do whatever I had to do to be successful, as long as it was legal and ethical. I felt I had no choice because I believe myself now to be unemployable and I have no wish to live in a cardboard box under Waterloo Bridge!

However, some people are h a p p i e r beneath the shelter of paid employment, and I intend no judgement here. It’s essential to be true to yourself when facing this decision, for the stakes are too high for the luxury of living in denial. If you’re like me, you’ll love the concept of having your fate in your own hands – whether you flourish or flounder, it’s entirely up to you. There’s no-one to blame when things go pear shaped, and no-one to tell you what to do.

For most people, the really massive benefit of being self- employed is you are free to do whatever you like – as long as you can find a market for it! This encourages you to be highly creative and imaginative in the way you present your product or

service, so no chance of getting bored then. Indeed you have to be unconventional – sometimes even eccentric – to get noticed.

The real secret, and this requires confidence and trust, is to do what you love. That way you will love what you do so your work will always be enjoyable, meaningful and fulfilling even in tough times – and take it from me there will be tough times. But because you believe wholeheartedly in what you do, you will always feel motivated to persevere and pull yourself through to better times. If you give up too easily, and if you refuse to learn from your mistakes and take remedial action, you will never succeed. Therefore, you also need to be intelligent and courageous.

Most important, you must pro- actively create opportunities for yourself.

Now if you believe you are someone who lacks courage and drive, never fear, there are many ways to develop the courage and drive you need. But that’s another story for another day…

E-mail Dave at For more information: Dave’s book: Dave’s blog:

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