“Learning to Say Yes, and No”

When I say that self-employment equals independence, I’m referring to an independence which applies to many areas of our lives. Self-employment is not only “job security”, but it also gives you the time to be with your family, to determine who you will or won’t work with, etc. I know there are a lot of self-employed individuals who may take exception to this assertion, but I’m 100% positive that I’m correct in this regard. I suspect that those who are slaves to their self-employment have simply established their customers’ expectations in such a manner in which they are slaves to the customers more than they want to be.  To help you maximize your independence in your self-employment choice, I suggest that you start out right. To do so, consider the following suggestions when determining what self-employment path you are willing to take. I’ll save the “how to do what you want, when you want, at the price you want” for another article in the future. So today, we’re going to give you the list of considerations, and then tomorrow we’re going to finish this series with the direct financial benefits that self-employed persons can enjoy. The most important step that you MUST take in order to determine what you want to do for your self-employment pursuit is to FIRST decide what you do NOT want. The reason being is that entrepreneurs are easily distracted with what I call “bright shiny objects.”  Their vision is easily distracted simply because a willing entrepreneur can be good at a whole lot of things. And once they are recognized as being an entrepreneur, then a whole lot of opportunities get thrown at them.  This isn’t a bad thing. It certainly should not be misconstrued as an insult.  Instead, it’s just the nature of the entrepreneurial community. We are drawn towards other entrepreneurs; where you wouldn’t expect people to have a 9 to 5 “J.O.B.” (“Just Over Broke) to talk passionately and almost non-stop about how they spent their working hours, you can expect that kind of passion from an entrepreneur. It’s not what they do, usually. It’s who they are. I don’t know about you, but I’ll take a passionate Amway salesperson at my dinner table over a person who’s miserable and stuck at a “real job” any day. In fact, I’m so conditioned to this type of world, I literally find myself feeling sorry for those folks who punch in at a time clock doing something they don’t enjoy.  I know. I’m warped. But I’ll take it. OK. Back to my point. What I’m trying to make clear is that is it imperative that you first decide what you will NOT do, then narrow things down to what you want to do.  Your “yeses” mean nothing if you can’t say no. For example: you don’t want to travel, have to carry huge amounts of inventory, or have to hold parties. Ok. That eliminates a lot.  If you’re currently in business for yourself, evaluate what it is that you are doing that you don’t like, or that isn’t profitable.  Tweak it so that it is enjoyable and profitable, or get rid of it. Someone who loves what they are doing will always be more competitive than someone who hates what they are doing. The prevention of money hemorrhaging is just as important as avoiding doing something that sucks all of the life and joy out of you. Next, take an accounting of what you are really good at AND what you really enjoy. Yes, this is a time to be brutally honest—for the good and the bad.  My mother always told me that the only thing worse than being alone is being with the wrong person. If you’re not cut out for a particular type of work, and yet that’s what you invest all of your spare time investing in, then you will feel like you are married to the spouse from hell-O! In my opinion, this is why a lot of self-employed persons get frustrated and quit. They focus on the money they can make rather than the joy that they have doing it. Money never replaces joy.  I know this for a fact!  Give me a client who loves what they do, and I can definitely turn their business into a successful one. But give me a client that hates what they do, and I refuse to take them on as a consulting client.  Go ahead and make a list out of all of this. Make a list of all of your talents OR passions. I find that what someone lacks in talent can often be masked with the right measure of passion, and that the talent follows. Next, determine how much you need to earn monthly in order for it to be worth your time.  Like I shared in the last segment of this series, I was surprised at how easily a “real job” could be replaced with a little bit of work ethic and talent.  I was able to earn MORE money working for myself than I was sitting at a computer punching in meaningless digits all day long.  I firmly believe, after consulting with entrepreneurs for 4 years now, that the same can be had in virtually every other type of self-employment opportunity. You need this number though because Reality must have a say in what you pursue.  Use this number to consider various opportunities that you may consider. Next—yup, this self-employment thing takes time and consideration—determine the criteria that you definitely want to be a part of your life. Benefits such as “time to go camping whenever I want”, or “whatever I sell, it’s got to help people long-term” or some other considerations like that.  In spite of the fact that my husband is so multi-talented, he wasn’t able to really focus until he made his list of criteria and was willing to stick with them. He wanted to make sure that whatever he did would help people be better prepared, safer, and able to enjoy more genuine patriotic freedom.  I’d say he hit the nail on the head. Is what you’re doing helping other people or just making money for some main company? Are your efforts quickly and fairly rewarded so that you can take care of you and your family? Does what you’re doing coincide with your own moral compass?  For example, many years ago I had the opportunity to audition for Sony Records. Yes, THE Sony Records. I auditioned, and it went great. We were ready to move forward.  But just about that same time I finally met a man that I would considering marrying. He and I discussed it. And while having a record label was a longtime dream, being a focused wife and mother was more important to me. And I simply did not want to do either of those duties poorly as the result of a corporate contract. (By the way, I’ve never regretted that decision.) Now, see how you can do something that can fill a specific, narrow niche. Believe it or not, the more narrow your niche is that you cater to, the more money you will make. I guarantee that! The more NICHED your product or service can be, the more successful you will be and the more money you will be able to charge for your service.  For example, while getting a puppy groomed at Petco may run about $35, one could easily charge $50-$75 for actually traveling to a person’s home and performing the service there. Even better is if you SPECIALIZED in poodles or some other unique type of breed.  In fact, the same person could specialize even more closely by specializing in the grooming of pure breed show dogs only.  For example, my husband and I both teach Utah Concealed Firearm Permit classes. And such classes have been “pimped down” to as low as $40.  But I only teach women AND I teach them more than just what they need to get “permission”  from the state of Utah. I teach them vital skills as well. As such, my classes are $150 and I have plenty of women willing to pay that so that they don’t have to mess around with testosterone in the class and it allows them to leave the class feeling like they can actually handle a firearm.  This narrow niche approach makes sense and CENTS in all areas of business. Last but not least, go for it, but go for it professionally.   The smallest little attention to details makes a world of difference to your customer base: Know them by name, be personable, be responsive, etc.  Take the time and effort to promote and present yourself professionally. There have been countless times in my life in which I was able to charge as much as 100 times more for my product or services than my so-called competitors simply because of the professional image I put on what I presented.  Note, I did not say “PERFECT.” I’m not telling you to wait until you have a big advertising and marketing budget and PLEASE don’t wait until you are perfectly polished. That will come with time and you’re leaving a lot of money on the table in the meantime—more importantly, you’re leaving a lot of independence outside while you wait for everything to be “perfect.”  I’m telling you to do whatever it is that you do, do it professionally.  Do it personably—yes, as rugged and rough as your personality may be, it’s what people are craving nowadays—REAL PEOPLE.  It beats a toll free number and a computer any day.

Self-Employment Equals Independence

Self-Employment Equals Independence II

Self Employment Equals Independence III

Self Employment Equals Independence IV

Self Employment Equals Independence V

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Lynn · June 8, 2010 at 2:51 am

AH ha! Another great one.

My husband and I have been doing much “discussing” lately about whether we should add another “service” to our business for customers. I can’t WAIT to show my husband this post. I totally agree with “narrowing it down”…concentrating on just a few things and doing those things well.


Connie · June 8, 2010 at 10:10 pm

I am all for self-employment. We are going to retire from the job and go back to our self-employment job of farming/ranching. We enjoy it so much more. No bosses. Hard work, yes. But more time with the family and other enjoyments. thank you

david · June 8, 2010 at 10:43 pm

Well said. You seem to have many talents… glad you get to express some of it here.

RenegadeTimes · June 9, 2010 at 11:55 pm

As always, perfectly stated. 30 years self employed.

Randy · June 12, 2010 at 9:03 am

I have spent most of my adult life self-employed and I love it. Talk about freedom and independence! Yes, the work is intense, but I can truly decide what I will or will not do. I can and have been at all of those truly important family things that I wanted to support and yet be fulfilled and make money.

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