8 tips for running your self-employed business

Starting a self-employed business and operating as a self-employed business owner has many advantages, and for some individuals it can be the perfect fit. But self-employment is certainly not for everyone.

When you run your own company you are able to do what you want, whenever you want, and for who you want, all of which offers a fantastic sense of freedom. But it requires a responsible approach, plenty of self-motivation and drive, and lifestyle changes. After all, you’re not answering to a boss anymore…because you are the boss.

Tips for going self-employed

If you are a self-employed business owner, or plan on becoming one in the near future, below are some tricks, tactics, and tips that you can tap into to increase your chances of success. Here are some handy tips to help you build a successful and fulfilling self-employed business.

1. Know exactly what you want

As a self-employed individual, it’s important to be crystal clear about what you want to achieve as a self-employed business owner. A great work ethic, a passion for what you do, and the right skill set are essential, but you will never achieve your goals without having an overarching direction for your business.

Think long and hard about where you want to go. Critically assess every move you make and ensure that it matches up with what you’ve determined to be your end goal. If certain decisions or business relationships are pulling you away from your overarching goal, reevaluate them and change course as needed.

2. Be your authentic self

Sometimes when you run your own company you can fall into the trap of over selling your business or your products or services – often without even realising that they’re doing it. It’s easy to do without knowing it; you may feel that if you don’t actively build hype around your business, products, and services no-one will.

While this may work out from time to time, it’s simply much easier to just be yourself. Authenticity is a wonderful thing, and when your self-employed you’re selling yourself and your skills along with your products and services. So make your authenticity and personality part of the package.

3. Don’t wait for perfection to arrive

Most of us are reluctant to launch into something new and substantial until we’ve got everything planned out to the nth degree. But oftentimes waiting for perfection to arrive isn’t the best approach in business, because while you are painstakingly edging towards perfection, real opportunities are passing you by every day. Another business owner may even launch a competing product or service while you’re chipping away at perfecting your offer.

It’s perfectly fine to start your business working from home; a business premises can come later. Likewise, a company website, business cards, and marketing collateral can be worked once your business has been launched. The important part is just starting and getting your name out there.

4. Keep it lean

Lean, small, hungry, nimble, and flexible are key traits for self-employed individuals, especially in the early days of their business. Together, all of these traits will mean that your overheads will remain manageable, which means you don’t have to aggressively chase new business to make ends meet. It’s perfectly fine to start small and without big expenses; it’ll take the pressure off while you’re building your business at a more manageable pace.

5. Don’t overwork yourself

As a busy and passionate self-employed individual, it’s easy to feel like you have to constantly be chasing new business. But this is where it’s easy to come unstuck. Just because you have a home office and your clients have your mobile number on speed dial, doesn’t mean you need to be on the job 24/7.

The trick here is to set time limits, and stick to them, as you would if you were an employer working for somebody else’s business. Set hours of business that work for you and be upfront with clients regarding when you are available, and when you are not. We all have our limits, and it’s important not to risk burning out.

Recommended reading: Work-life balance: How to work smart and stress less

6. Develop an enviable reputation

In business, and especially for self-employed business owners, a great reputation is worth its weight in gold and can unlock doors that would otherwise be slammed shut.

As well as marketing your business to potential new clients, put the time and effort into maintaining great relationships with your existing clients. Give them a call or drop in and see them, even if you’re not selling them something.

Doing so will help you and your sole trader business to develop a reputation for solving problems and delivering great service. This will not only make it easier to keep your existing clients on side, but it could also very likely lead to increased referrals.

7. Learn fast and don’t be afraid of failure

Failure is not the end of the road in business. It’s simply the beginning of another opportunity to learn, improve, and grow. Adopt the approach that failure won’t deter you from succeeding with your self-employed business.

If you hit a snag or a big deal doesn’t get over the line, or you lose some clients, learn fast and keep pushing forward. And when you do make it, don’t get complacent. Always be on the lookout for opportunities to learn and improve.

8. Know when to grow

Even if you plan to be the only full-time employee in your self-employed business, at some point there may simply not be enough time in your day to get to everything you have to do on your own. It’s important to know when – and how – you can grow your business. And the ‘how’ may involve expanding your team.

While you may not have planned to employ staff, that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t employ individuals when the need arises. This is especially true if doing so enables your business to capitalise on new opportunities that you couldn’t service on your own. Remember that your time is your most valuable resource, so decide the most productive way to use it, and outsource tasks when needed.

As you tinker and refine how you run your self-employed business, it’s also worth considering how to reduce the risks to your business. A great way to do that is to invest in self-employed insurance such as insurance for sole traders* or insurance for the self-employed.

At BizCover we have developed a truly quick and easy way to get your small business insurance online. Visit BizCover.com.au or give us a call on 1300 920 864 to see how we can help you protect your small business.

*This information is general only and does not consider your objectives, financial situation or needs. It should not be relied upon as advice. As with any insurance, cover will be subject to the terms, conditions and exclusions contained in the policy wording. © 2022 BizCover Pty Limited, all rights reserved. ABN 68 127 707 975; AFSL 501769

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