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10 Secrets to Making It as a Self-Employed Individual

You might want to try self-employment after working at a job for so long. If this is your case, you could be successful if you start building up plans and strategies that can guide you.

Self-employment is a dream for many, but the reality of running your own business can be more complicated than expected. Self-employed people can face challenges like finding clients or managing finances. There are also unique personal issues that arise when you’re the boss!

This article will share 10 great tips to help you start your journey as a self-employed person.

Self-Employment Isn’t For Everyone.

Working for yourself isn’t for everyone, and you should be sure before you start your business. Regarding self-employment, there is no place to hide or complain that you’re not getting paid enough—you’re the boss!

Starting a business

Be sure to research your finances and idea well before starting because self-employment doesn’t guarantee success.

Some people aren’t suited to the lifestyle of running their own businesses. If you go into self-employment thinking that it’s going to be an easier version of working for someone else, then you’re wrong.

While it’s true that there are no longer any hours or dress code rules, your work schedule can be grueling.

You also need to deal with the emotional aspects of self-employment since it requires a great degree of self-discipline and responsibility.  

Make Sure Self-Employment Is Right For You.

While self-employment isn’t a right fit for everyone, many people thrive in this kind of work. 

If you have the skills and dedication to be self-employed, it can be enriching personally and financially.  

Self-employment is about being your own boss and establishing a business plan to guide you to success! 

Taking the time to define what sort of work you want to do, setting goals for yourself, and building relationships with clients can help make your journey successful. 

It can be challenging to work for yourself but fun and rewarding too!

Make sure your business is the right fit by asking yourself these questions:

  • Do you enjoy doing what you do?
  • Can you make enough money to survive?
  • Do you like running your own schedule?
  • What are your biggest strengths?
  • What are some of your weaknesses?
  • Do you have enough knowledge and experience?
  • What kind of skills do you need to acquire? 

Self-employment is a big commitment, so it’s essential to consider all the positives and negatives before starting.

Take Advantage Of Shadowing.


If you know someone already self-employed, then ask if they’ll let you shadow them for a day.

Shadowing a self-employed person will give you some great insight into the day-to-day tasks and responsibilities of running your own business.

It’s also an excellent way to meet other people in the same position who might become clients or partners! 

Shadowing a self-employed person is a great way to get started, so take advantage of it if you can.

The best way to learn is by watching how others work, so shadowing a self-employed person is one of the best things you can do before starting your own business. You can learn some best practices that they have picked up along the way.

Set Realistic Goals.

Running your own business can be demanding, and it can take time before you start seeing results.

Before starting, set yourself some realistic goals for what you want to achieve in the next 1-3 months. It’s also a good idea to put these goals in writing and keep them somewhere so you can always refer to them when setting new goals later on!   

Having written goals will help you stay focused and motivated throughout your journey as a self-employed person.  

Setting financial targets is important, but don’t forget about setting personal targets that will motivate you.

Even if your ultimate goal isn’t related to money (e.g., it could be for more free time or to make a difference in the world), always keep money in mind when making plans.

You need to make sure you can earn enough to maintain your lifestyle. Still, it’s important not to let financial considerations dictate all your decisions (e.g., sacrificing your life quality just to earn more money).

Set financial and personal goals.

It’s important to have both financial and personal goals to avoid losing sight of what is truly important.  

Setting realistic goals will help you stay on track when challenges arise. This is one of the most critical steps to ensure your business succeeds!

Here are some examples of realistic, achievable goals that you can set for yourself:

  • To increase monthly revenue by 10%
  • To work on your business only four days a week (and spend the rest of the time doing activities that you enjoy)
  • To get 5 new clients in the next 6 months  
  • To improve customer service so more people become repeat customers    
  • To get a monthly salary of $XXXX so you can save money for __________  

It’s also important to remember that even if you don’t meet all your goals at first, keep trying! By setting small, achievable goals and working towards them, you’re building skills and succeeding with each step along the way.   

Have A Business Plan.

Having a business plan will allow you to create goals and track your progress – this is especially important for finding new clients!   

Not knowing where you’re headed can lead to frustration and burnout, which is something that no entrepreneur wants.    

Consider taking some online business classes or enrolling in an incubator program if you feel like you’re struggling to build your business. This will help you find out what needs to change and how it can impact your bottom line.    

Start Slow.

It’s easy to be tempted by the idea of quitting your job and going all-in on your self-employment endeavor – but you should try not to rush it too much!  

Start Slow

Instead, start slow by taking on a few small projects or clients. You can then take the time to learn from that experience without risking too much.

Once you have some clientele, then you can consider going into full business mode! A lot of people end up failing when they’re too overzealous about launching their business. Don’t make this mistake!

Making slow, steady changes will help you get a feel for running a business and learning from your mistakes.  This is especially important because the self-employed life isn’t for everyone. 

You might find out that it’s not what you want to do after all – so take it slow and try not to jump in headfirst!

Be Prepared For Set-Backs.

Being self-employed means you’ll have to deal with your own problems instead of relying on others – so being able to handle setbacks is essential!

Likely, things won’t always go according to plan, so it’s good to be mentally prepared for this. If a client refuses to pay or an unexpected expense arises, then you need to be ready for it!  

You might also want to work with someone reliable and accountable because otherwise, you may have no one else to turn to when things get tough.   

Don’t go overboard.

One of the biggest mistakes that new self-employed people make is getting too excited about their first few clients – and over-extending themselves.

It can be intoxicating to get your first couple of jobs, but don’t let yourself go overboard trying to take on more projects than you can handle!

You may end up with a severe case of burnout if you’re not careful, which will only hurt your business in the long run.  

Instead, keep your workload manageable by saying “no” when necessary and avoiding taking on too many things at once.    

This will also help prevent client dissatisfaction because they won’t feel like you aren’t giving them enough attention or care about their project as much as you should.

Getting help.

No matter how well-prepared you are, you’ll probably experience some challenges when running your own business. Outsourcing can be a great way to save time, but sometimes there’s no substitute for getting the job done yourself.

On the other hand, if you’re not willing to do jobs outside of your comfort zone, it will be challenging to expand your business or gain new clients. If starting a business seems overwhelming, remember that it doesn’t have to happen overnight.

Being self-employed means having no other boss than yourself! If you feel overwhelmed by this responsibility, try sharing the workload with a partner or hiring some help.

That way, you can slowly build momentum and grow your business without feeling overwhelmed.  


Setbacks happen, and you never know when something unexpected will change your plans. This is why it’s essential to have some kind of plan B in case things don’t go as planned. 

Even if you do everything else right, some unforeseen circumstances may prevent your business from succeeding. It could be anything – maybe one of your customers leaves the country and takes their business with them, or perhaps work dries up without any warning!    

Having a plan B can help keep you afloat even during tough times!    

It’s All About Networking.

One of the best tips for success when you have a self-employed business is to network with other people who share the same interests as you. It can be very beneficial to join an industry group, such as Business Network International (BNI), and attend their meetings. This will expose you to like-minded individuals that you never would’ve met otherwise!  

Being active in your community or industry group can also help build rapport with potential customers. You never know where a new project could come from, and even if it doesn’t pan out, it’s still great practice for networking and building relationships!  

It’s important not to always work alone – especially when there are benefits available to self-employed people, like mentoring and networking.  


This can help you to avoid making mistakes and build a strong network of contacts that will benefit your business in many ways!    

Online presence.

Another great way to gain access to potential clients is by building up your online presence through social media, blogging, and other forms of digital marketing. Self-employed people usually have more flexibility when it comes to time management compared with employees, which makes it easier for them to spend some time on online marketing.  

Sites like LinkedIn are great for business networking and advertising, and blogging about your niche can be a valuable tool for standing out from the crowd.    

You could also try to find a mentor that’s been in your shoes before. They could offer some great advice and help you avoid making mistakes that have already been made.    

If possible, try to get others involved in your self-employment journey (e.g., friends and family) and ask for their honest feedback and opinions. You can’t be successful if you don’t know what your needs are or how to improve!  

Have Finances In Place.

The beauty of having a self-employed business is that you can plan your schedule and be your own boss. You also get to set the rules on how much you work, so it’s possible to clock out early some days if you want! 

But it pays to have healthy finances before throwing yourself into entrepreneurship full-time. This includes savings, an emergency fund, and a stable income. These things will help ensure that you won’t lose too much sleep worrying about bills on top of everything else! 

It might take longer than expected, but saving up before starting a business will help give it a better chance of success in the long run. Self-employment is great for many people, but setting yourself up for success is the best way to do it!  

Be prepared.

One of the biggest roadblocks to self-employment is not having enough money upfront. Make sure you have enough money saved to live for at least six months because it may take that long to get your business off the ground.  

You should also know how many clients you can count on each month to prevent cash flow from becoming an issue.      

When you’re self-employed, it’s vital to ensure that your books are in order and the accounting is done correctly. 

It may not seem like a big deal at first, but money mistakes can come back to haunt you and will cost you even more in terms of time and stress trying to fix them! 

Having all this information available online is great for entrepreneurs who work from home or spend time traveling, mainly because it can be accessed anywhere.

The best part is that there are plenty of free resources out there and software that can help entrepreneurs start their businesses, grow them into something bigger, or even sell them for a reasonable price.  

You may also want to consider shopping around for online bookkeeping software and comparing costs before you jump in with both feet!    

Manage Your Time Effectively.

One of the most valuable resources for a self-employed business is time.    

You may have more flexibility regarding scheduling your days, but there’s nothing worse than having too many jobs and not enough hours in the day!  

It might sound hard at first, but managing your time effectively will be one of the best things that you can do for your business.    


This can be as simple as planning ahead and scheduling social media posts and blog updates in advance (or delegating them to someone else) and thinking about what needs to be done first before jumping on your laptop or smartphone.    

If possible, try working during quiet times like early mornings or late nights so that you’re not distracted all of the time.  


Start your day by prioritizing the most important tasks so you can get them out of the way right away, then save side projects or other things that are less urgent for later in the day when you have more energy to get them done!    

If you’re working at home, it’s best not to have any distractions while getting work done. This includes having family members stop by, watching TV, listening to music with lyrics, and checking social media every few minutes. Having a separate home office is ideal.

Having a routine (and sticking to it) will help maximize your productivity and enable you to make money in less time than it would take with no routine in place.

Some entrepreneurs find that working from a coworking space or joining a team can help boost their productivity, especially when it comes to trusting others with projects that they may not be able to do on their own.

It can be tricky to manage your time when you’re self-employed, but some great tools are available that will help you determine how much work is too much.    

The 20/80 rule.

The 20/80 rule states that it’s best to spend 80% of your time on the top 20% of your clients because they tend to bring in 80% of the revenue for your business. 

This should help you prioritize and focus on what matters most without taking too many unplanned risks or wasting time on other projects that don’t move the needle.    

It’s important to have some boundaries when it comes to clients as well, so don’t be afraid to say no if you feel like you’re too busy or not being paid enough for the time investment.  


If possible, try to implement an automatic system that updates your customers about the progress of their projects without them needing to ask all of the time. This will save everyone involved quite a bit of time!  

Sometimes it’s best not to answer every call and respond after hours (if possible) because it can increase stress and make it difficult to focus.  

Using automated marketing and sales systems will also help streamline lead generation and conversion, which is a great way to manage one’s time when self-employed!  

Mark Your Progress With Milestones.

Making sure you track your progress as you go is crucial for success when it comes to self-employment.  

If you don’t know where you’ve been, how can you tell if things have improved over time?   

Milestones act as markers along the way to help remind us that we’re making strides and that all of our hard work is paying off. Milestones might be things like making a certain amount of money in the first week or month, hitting 10,000 fans on social media, or even hosting an event for your peers in your industry.    

These milestones can keep you going when times get tough, encourage you when times are good, and help you celebrate along the way.    

Being able to track your success and seeing your hard work pay off is a great feeling, but only if it’s something that you’re doing!     

The best thing about milestones is that they don’t have to be big or expensive, especially at first. Even small milestones like sending out five sales proposals per month or reaching out to five new potential partners can make a huge difference.   

Keep your clients in the loop.

This is also an excellent strategy for client projects because they’ll appreciate knowing exactly what they’re paying for in advance.   

For example, if you provide a service that includes monthly reports, break down your contract’s terms into milestones and use these as deadlines.  

So instead of waiting until the end of the month to send one long report, break it up into sections and send them out throughout the month so your client is always in-the-loop about what’s going on!    

Of course, this all depends on exactly what kind of work you do – but if possible, try to schedule meetings and phone calls for specific times throughout the week rather than just whenever it works for both parties.  

This will help maximize productivity and give you more control over when specific projects are started or completed.

Keep Your Personal Life Separate.

It’s easy to get wrapped up in work when you’re self-employed and forget about other important things like family or personal interests.  

However, it’s imperative to take time for yourself and do the things you enjoy so that you can remain productive and energized throughout your career!  

Personal Life

If possible, try setting aside time each week reserved explicitly for non-work-related activities such as spending time with family or reading a book.  

This will help keep things balanced and give you plenty of opportunities to recharge. Sadly, this isn’t always possible – because your business (and income) relies on full dedication.    

That being said, make sure that your clients understand what hours they can expect you to be available and try to stick to these hours as much as possible.   

Separate profiles.  

When it comes to social media accounts, make separate profiles using different usernames or handles specifically for business purposes. This reduces the confusion that can arise when you’re trying to maintain a personal life online!  

However, even if they are separate accounts, always speak professionally over social media – especially when dealing with potential clients.  

You need to take personal matters out of your business if possible. It’s challenging enough to run a successful business without bringing personal issues into it too!

For example, if you’re hoping to build a long-term relationship with a client or partner, then having any kind of drama in your personal life could hurt those prospects.

This isn’t saying that you have to be fake or suppress certain emotions – just keep work and home separate as much as possible.   

Whether you are going through a difficult family situation, dealing with an issue with your significant other, or are exhausted at the end of a long day, make sure to take some time for yourself.  

Focus on the long term.

Another important thing to remember is that it’s okay if certain days are more productive than others – focus on building up good habits over time instead of trying to maximize every moment possible.  

For example, it might be better to send out five proposals one week and three the next – as long as they’re consistently sent each month, so your sales funnel is always moving!    

Lastly, make sure to give yourself some time off every now and then. If you spend all of your free time thinking about work or business, it’s easy for things to start feeling overwhelming (which can lead to burnout eventually).  

You need to recharge periodically to be productive anyway, so try not to forget about that part of your life – even though it might seem difficult sometimes.  


The world of self-employment is an exciting one. Whether you are considering starting your own business or have been in the game for years, there are always new ways to improve yourself and your work life.

We hope you’ve found this list of tips helpful and informative. If you have any questions or want to share your personal experiences, please do so in the comments below! Let us know what you think of this article.

We’re looking forward to hearing from you!