How to Work For Yourself

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The idea of working for yourself appeals to a lot of people because it represents freedom, the potential to make a lot of money, and self determination. Although you don’t necessarily need a formal business education to be successfully self employed, there are several personal qualities and skill sets that will increase your chances of creating a profitable, financially viable small business.

  1. Motivation: Inner drive and a strong desire to succeed can come from a lot of different sources. Sometimes it’s a matter of economic necessity. Others may be motivated by a competitive nature, a desire to prove all the naysayers in your life wrong, or simply an entrepreneurial spirit that compels you to seek out challenges and pursue opportunities. If you’re fortunate enough to have a strong work ethic and at least a moderate amount of self discipline, then you’re already miles ahead of many of your potential competitors. Belief in yourself and the value of your business idea is another cornerstone of success. Setting realistic goals, focusing on solutions rather than problems, and being committed to a high standard of quality are also closely related to building and maintaining momentum in a business startup. BTW… If you’d like to download a free goal-setting worksheet, click here.
  2. Planning and Organization: Some businesses are more complicated than others — especially if you have employees to manage, inventory to keep track of, regulations to comply with, customer problems to resolve, supplies to replenish, installment payments to keep up with, schedules to juggle, and other miscellaneous priorities, distractions, and problems. Even if you’re just a one- or two-person operation (as many of us are), it’s still necessary to plan and implement a marketing strategy, meet deadlines, reply to phone calls and emails, keep your files and records well organized, and handle dozens of other business management tasks. If you miss client appointments, incur excessive debt, or fail to meet client expectations, nothing good can come from that!
  3. Marketing: Every business is different, but all businesses need customers, the ability to be found on the Internet, and an effective sales process that converts prospects into satisfied customers — preferably ones who provide you with referrals, positive online reviews, testimonials, repeat business, and word-of-mouth advertising. While various forms of social media marketing can help generate public awareness, inquiries, client relationships, and even sales, there are two challenges to overcome: 1) Learning how to effectively use social media and discovering which social media channels (or combination) provide you with the best results and the most interaction with customers and prospects. 2) Achieving a balance between the amount of time you invest in social media marketing and the quality (and quantity) of results you achieve. To put it another way: It’s easy to waste a lot of time on social media sites without deriving that much benefit from it. In some cases, it pays to hire a freelancer, Internet marketing agency, a recent college graduate, a work-at-home parent, or even a tech-savvy college student to help you expand and manage your social media presence. Obviously, it has to be an individual or agency that’s competent, knowledgeable, competitively priced, and dependable, but there are a lot of people out there who know their way around Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Linkedin, and WordPress. (As an example, I write blog posts and website content for businesses that don’t have the time or writing skills to do it themselves. However, when it comes to social media marketing strategies, I’m still learning the ropes! I just recently started an Instagram account to promote an online tee shirt store I created. Instagram doesn’t work for all businesses, but it can be an effective way to gain visibility for your products, programs, and services, and network with other business owners and potential customers online.)

Getting Started Working for Yourself

If you’re thinking of starting your own online store, Shopify offers some free business startup guides, resources, and tools that can make starting a business a lot easier. In addition to their competitive ecommerce package — which is worth looking into* — here are some free online tools and articles to help kick-start your business growth and get you started on the right foot:

Free Marketing Tools:

  • Business name generator
  • Logo creator
  • Slogan maker
  • Business card maker

Free Business Templates:

  • Gift certificate template
  • Purchase order template
  • Shipping label template
  • Bill of lading template

Other Handy Business Tools

  • Profit margin calculator
  • Business loan calculator
  • CPM calculator
  • Barcode generator
  • Refund policy generator
  • Privacy Policy generator
  • Pay stub generator
  • Image resizer for product photos

You can access all of the above-mentioned marketing tools, templates, and calculators by visiting Shopify’s free business startup tools page.

Business Guides and Startup Tips

Here are the business startup guides Shopify offers, which can help you achieve your goal of starting a small business and working for yourself.

  1. A Marketing Checklist for New Entrepreneurs (How to get your first sale in 30 days)
  2. Seven Ways to Start a Business… without quitting your day job.
  3. How to find a product to sell online
  4. The Ultimate Guide to Starting an online T-shirt Business

Books on Starting a Home-Based Business:

affiliate marketing success book

Work for Yourself Ideas:

If you’re looking for additional ideas for starting your business and working for yourself, here are some options to consider:

  1. Cleaning business (residential/commercial)
  2. Pressure washing
  3. Window washing
  4. Consulting
  5. Photography and/or video production
  6. Landscaping
  7. Lawn care
  8. Catering
  9. Food truck
  10. Dog walking, pet sitting, dog training, grooming
  11. Construction, remodeling, handyman services, carpentry, siding installation
  12. Electrical services
  13. HVAC: Heating, Ventilation, Air conditioning service, maintenance, repair
  14. Roofing: repair, installation replacement, etc
  15. Plumbing services
  16. Swimming pool services: installation, repair, cleaning, monthly maintenance
  17. Website design and/or graphic design
  18. Event planning: wedding planning, party planning, corporate event planning
  19. Tutoring
  20. Vending machine leasing and sales
  21. Jewelry design and sales
  22. Making and selling crafts
  23. Interior and exterior painting
  24. Real estate sales and/or investing
  25. Rental business
  26. eBay business
  27. Home health care
  28. Baking and selling cupcakes, cookies, cakes
  29. Baking and selling dog treats
  30. Bookkeeping, tax preparation, accounting
  31. Medical billing
  32. Transcribing services
  33. Virtual assistant business
  34. Courier and/or delivery services
  35. Transportation services: Taxi, limousine, party bus rental
  36. Personal training or gym business
  37. Wholesale business
  38. Import/export
  39. Pest control services
  40. Franchise businesses
  41. Daycare services
  42. Medical transportation
  43. Photo booth rentals
  44. e-book publishing (Tips and strategies)
  45. Freight brokering (Details)
  46. Buying and selling cell phones
  47. Business coaching (Training/certification available)
  48. Buying and selling used or government-seized vehicles

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Thanks for checking on my latest blog post on how to start your own business and work for yourself. I’ll be updating this post in the near future.

–Joel
Business blogger, freelance writer, entrepreneur

*Disclaimer: I am a compensated affiliate of Shopify, Clickbank, and other programs, products and services featured on this blog. I earn a commission when referrals from this Web page result in a sale.
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