Arguably, everyone who works is self-employed: a key difference between someone who is "employed" and one is "self employed" is that people who work for a company or organisation have only a single customer or client: their employer.
So let's explore one impression of the entrepreneurial lifestyle - a way of life that is perhaps more easily available today than ever before for people both younger and older than what we might at first expect.
23 Playful Ideas to Consider for People Thinking About Becoming Entrepreneurs or Becoming Self Employed
- Know that for pretty much anything, there's a better way - perhaps, waiting to be discovered by you. I suggest, make that our mantra, because that's why we do what we do. Solve an old problem in a new way, and you can have a lot of fun with that and create enormous value for others, your organization, and yourself. Wonder whether you can find at least three of those better ways. When you've done three, you're on a roll: why not aim for thirty-three - or more?
- Since nothing new or better can emerge, or happen, without change, develop a special interest in the playful desire to break things: ideas, the status quo, accepted limits, etc. (How to you break an idea? You can work on that one).
- Find out "what floats your particular boat". Decide what are your own primal drivers in life. If for you, that is just money alone, I suggest work for someone else, for a while at least. Sometimes what we may look for too intensely, can elude us. Yet when we focus on things that really matter to other people like helping to solve their problems, or make life better, money can just flow in naturally. I have no idea why things seem to work out that way.
- Foster a strong desire to build personal freedom and self-determination. Try to reduce reliance on anyone else for your essential life resources. Why: if it is to be, it is up to you. No one understands you better than you. But do enjoy listening, learning, contributing and sharing: it's a human thing.
- Understand what mistakes really are: simply learning hops. Get to intuitively know that mistakes are the norm, not the exception. We get it wrong, until we get it right - and that's okay.
- Make your best plans. Research well. Then commit and act. Expect to fail, but aim to fail fast, yet learn why each time. Then move on to the next stage. After three such steps, you should start moving forward. If not, pause, and work out why. If you don't fail, good for you: celebrate, and keep doing more of the same, until you start to fail, then readjust, rinse and repeat. If you can shorten typical patterns like these, hit your jackpot sooner, wonderful.
- Wonder about the idea of a living non-standard lifestyle. Who said we have to have the house, the white picket fence, the mortgage, etc.? Maybe, for you, there's a better way.
- If you decide to become an entrepreneur, get comfortable with the fact that you might need to work incredibly hard for the first few months. Then don't: or you might just burn out, or argue more with colleagues over trivialities, upset your partners, lose your perspective, and focus, and simply make more mistakes. Strive to work smart, not overly hard. Practise much self-care. Resist the lure of continuous high excitement. Why: your thinking needs to be as clear as possible, calm, laser sharp. Get enough rest, and contrast from work. Take long weekends when you can.
- Make a subconscious decision and commitment to be personally debt free within 10 years of starting entrepreneurship. You may not actually meet that goal, or you may achieve debt free living in half that time, or less. Whether you do or don't isn't as important as writing and recording the idea in both your mind and in a digital / paper file. Why: written words seem to have a mysterious magic: just trust me. Refer to your written goals regularly.
Aside from having a roof over our heads, enough to eat and drink, and simple clothes to wear, little seems to weigh many people down more than "the two-step twins" of: debt, and lack of control of our days. Resolve that to take at least one step each day to help reduce both of these toxic spectres from your life. Over time, little steps add up to a lot.
- Over time, ideally build multiple sources of income. Work out how to create different income types: some that deliver regularly, some that pay quarterly, others yearly, and some that you can turn on or off like a tap. With multiple sources of income available to you, you'll have more security than working for a single employer.
- Resist the urge to become over-awed about money. Who you know, and who wants to know you, is far more important. People are the juice that make your business work. Be patient, and persist against setbacks, barriers, and hurdles.
- Determine something that is expandable from the outset. I suggest, absolutely do not start out wanting to change the world - just your world for now. Why: changing the world is a big job, extremely tiring. It's hard, and expensive for single entrepreneurs.
We meet resistance when trying to push people to do what we want. Yet we can attract people more easily - to our ideas, or product, or service, if they are sufficiently convinced, or sympathetic to what we're saying, or to what we're selling. Yet changing your world first is doable.
- Earning respect is a good goal to consider alongside earning income. People have to at least like us - at least a little (or not dislike us) before they'll invest in our creations, products and services. Explore the limits of those ideas.
- Consider building a tribe as you create your product or service. Here's why: people need to trust today, perhaps more than at any other time. When you're starting out, you don't have trusted brand. Distrust is everywhere. Advertising is expensive - but incredibly useful. So build a free to join, opt in tribe around things that really matter to people. Ask questions. Find the missing piece in the jig-saw - then work out how to build that missing part, or be the part yourself.
- Perfect how to communicate well, clear, simply - and in an entertaining way, to pretty much everyone involved, as often as possible. The better we do this, the more easily we can reach our goals. If our seed idea for a business is the first priority, great communication surely must be the second.
- Try to develop honesty throughout everything you do. I know this can be difficult when were deluged with lies and dishonesty all around us. But in a sense, that's our opportunity. We can use that.
- Make what you do for a living fun. We can't truly help others until we're in a good place mentally. But if you find a formula or recipe that works for you, look for ways to progressively help more and more people share in the fun - and expand powered by a light way of living and personal freedom first and foremost, but keeping a close eye on those all important costs.
- Of course, we need to know the key numbers, work out how to spend less than we earn both personally and professionally. But focusing just on the money is not enough. To sustain ourselves for the longer term, we need to work on the emotion, the romance, the real reasons, the deeper values that benefit everyone concerned.
- Entrepreneurship is often too serious; too "all-or-nothing" mentality: lighten up.
- Consider getting excited about ideas, but draw the line at high intensity. Why: rabid excitement tends to have a short lifespan, soon starts getting tiring - then boring. We need to maintain and keep our energy and interest levels up.
- Look for believable road maps from others. Has someone else already done what you want to do? If so, what can you learn from them? Even though their maps - and journey - will always be different to yours, there are similarities, parallels, hints, tips, techniques, that we can all learn from, borrow, and build on. I'm astonished and gratified by how much free and low cost help is available online. Use it.
- Understand that while becoming an entrepreneur or self-employed can seem risky, yet, over a lifetime, it can be a lot less risky than not getting started and letting our inner light become crushed by the drudgery of a normal life, or bound to a specific way of working as an employee.
Moreover, once you work out how to be an entrepreneur - your way - you can be truly liberated from debt, drudgery, the need to constantly earn regular income, and from living on other peoples' terms.
- Most importantly, feel free to ignore any or all of these ideas and develop your own road map. Or mix and match: do whatever works for you. Not everyone is suited to the life of an entrepreneur, and that's just fine. There are multiple ways to the magic castle.
The strategy for the discoverers and entrepreneurs is to rely less on top-down planning and focus on maximum tinkering and recognizing opportunities when they present themselves. So I disagree with the followers of Marx and those of Adam Smith: the reason free markets work is because they allow people to be lucky, thanks to aggressive trial and error, not by giving rewards or "incentives" for skill. The strategy is, then, to tinker as much as possible and try to collect as many Black Swan opportunities as you can. Nassim Nicholas Taleb, The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable.