I have been working for myself since 2012. It was, as with most businesses, a slow start but I’ve managed to grow my business as well as maintain several original clients over the years. Along the way, I was given some great advice by a diverse group of people. These are things that have served me well in running my own business. I thought, now that we’ve crossed the threshold into 2018, it would be a good time to reiterate some of these pearls of wisdom. Here are the top 4 things people told me that helped me successfully work for myself.
1. Raise Your Prices
Early in my writing career, a friend gave me this advice: “Keep raising your prices until someone won’t pay it.” We are so good at undervaluing ourselves and chances are your instincts are to do just that. It’s hard when you work for yourself to balance your sense of worth with what you charge. But you shouldn’t try to second guess what you’re clients won’t pay. Instead, share with them your pricing without making excuses or caveats.
2. Pick Your Battles
We always believe that we know best. And it’s true when it comes to some clients, we may feel their requests are unusual or unnecessary. But are they really? And what are you really going to lose if you just do what they’ve asked? Unless the request is illegal or unethical, if the client is willing to pay, go ahead and do the project that you might believe is useless. The client has determined it has value for them.
3. Hire An Accountant
I am not particularly good with money or math. So it was a no-brainer for me to hire an accountant when I began working for myself. But even if I felt comfortable doing my own quarterly taxes and annual tax returns, I still recommend working with a professional accountant. It’s an added layer of protection to make sure you’re following all the right guidelines. That peace of mind is well worth the expense.
4. Have An Accountability Network
When I started many people recommended that I find a mentor. Someone who has done what I wanted to do and succeeded. And while I did find these relationships useful, over time they evolved. Now, I am far more interested in accountability. I keep in contact with several other people who also work for themselves and we check in from time to time to see how we’re doing. If we can, we offer support to one another and even project leads.
Do you work for yourself? What would you consider the best advice for someone who wants to be self-employed?