Q: I have a skill that would work perfectly for self-employment, but I am scared of
financial instability. I realize unemployment is also an issue when you have a job. Because you have been self-employed successfully for a few decades, can you tell me about how you handled self-employment and financial anxiety?
A: Yes, I did three things. First, I went to a four-day work week while I started my business on Saturday, Sunday and Monday, then I put aside savings, and third, I only left my job after I was making enough money to support myself.
When I started my business I vowed to never put myself in a position where decisions I made about a therapy client, executive coaching client, speaking engagement or corporate consulting would be influenced by needing to make money. I wanted to make sure my financial needs didn’t overshadow my clients’ best interests.
In my business, including writing this column, I’ve often received comments, especially from corporate consultants, that they can’t believe I take the professional risk of saying the truthful but upsetting things that I do. My response is that the real risk is doing nothing to change my clients’ suffering.
People in my line of work should be willing to risk making clients mad when they tell them the truth about why they are having a problem. Some professionals believe they cannot afford this risk and their clients and quality of work suffer.
Because I had a job when I started and because I had savings I could afford the financial risk of clients quitting. I quickly learned that clients who quit because I told them how to fix their part of the problem were people I couldn’t help anyway. The clients that stuck around not only transformed their lives but were delightful to work with.
Many people hesitate to dive in to self-employment because no one told them to keep their job and accumulate savings before they start.
Here is another secret no one tells you. These days, self-employment, if done right, is more stable than a job. If you create a niche and build a good customer base, your financial risk is low. You may lose a client here and there, but you’ll never experience unemployment.
When I started my business, my friends with regular jobs thought I was a fearless adventurer. Now, after they all struggled with so many periods of unemployment, they see my job of thirty years with no unemployment as the cautious choice.
The last word(s)
Q: Is it possible to have a job you enjoy and make good money?
A: Yes, you only need to do two things; identify your passion and tenaciously and creatively seek out those who need what you are a happy expert at doing.
(Article written by Daneen Skube)