Be Your Own Boss: The 5 Golden Rules For Self-employment

Deciding your own working-hours, planning your own working-day, making almost every decision yourself and being able to be as creative as you want to be: self-employment, a dream for many, the reality for few. It is one of these weird things in life that a lot of career girls would like to do, but most don’t dare to take that step or risk to actually do it. 

There are a lot of elements you need to think of if you want to become self-employed. Deciding your focus and and protecting yourself (e.g. legally) in any way possible are just two of the things on the list.

CGD gives you 5 rules for the starting self-employed, that will help you to get ahead of the game.

#1 – Make clear goals

Passion is important, but it doesn’t pay your bills. Before you start, make sure you have a clear vision on how you want to keep your business up, running and alive. Make clear goals, because without goals it is easy to lose focus and get distracted.

Know your target audience, what they want, where they are and how you can reach them. A business plan sounds old-fashioned, but can be oh-so important, especially for starters.

#2 – Organize your administration

From the very first minute your administration should be spotless! The contracts, bills, terms and conditions and all other important documents should all be so well organized that you can show them at any moment to anyone if you need to.

#3 – Start small

Especially when you have so many good ideas, it is hard to start small. Be realistic and don’t start of by renting expensive office space if you don’t need it. Try to safe and reduce costs as much as possible. You can be creative, for example by working in the Starbucks or rent a desk in a shared office. You will meet new people, build your network and maybe even new potential clients.

#4 – Stay active!

It is very important to stay active when you are self-employed. Attend network events, make yourself an everyday to-do list and evaluate every week how far you have come. Once you start being a bit more passive, it is hard to get back on track.

#5 – Learn to say no

Personally, I find this the most difficult one, while I know how important it is. Say ‘no’ to the things that have nothing in it for you, that are not relevant for you or cost too much energy and therefore will make you lose focus on the really important things.

And besides all the above, enjoy it, because being self-employed is one of the most fun things you can do!

Are you self-employed or thinking about becoming self-employed? Share your story and don’t forget to enter our 2 (!) amazing giveaways Chanel Kenzo!

Credit: dvezzp & Nasty Gal

  • I am currently trying to write a business plan and finding the whole experience both incredibly rewarding and terrifying. It all seems so alien to me.
    I graduated last year from uni with an illustration degree and was dropped into the real world completely clueless. There is nothing quite like working a dull 9-5 office job to really focus your goals. I designed my best friend’s wedding stationery and got such lovely feedback that I have taken the plunge and am making steps towards changing my life (dramatic and cliche, but true).
    This post really hit a chord with me. It feels like there are so many balls up in the air already that I haven’t even got the time to learn how to juggle! I am trying really hard to keep the perfectionist in me quiet, but it is so hard to start putting yourself out there when you feel it could still be better!
    I know deep down that I have the ability to do it, it’s just where to start!! Have you got any tips about how to establish your target audience? and anything on coming up with a mission statement would be amazing!!!
    xx

    • Lois

      Hi Lauren,

      The whole process of becoming and being self-employed is quite terrifying. I am currently in the process myself so I know exactly what you are going through.
      At some point you will come to that ‘now or never’ moment and it all will work out in the end. You will learn how to ‘juggle’ along the way and if one plan didnt work, try another one, just be flexible. The fact that you know you can do it and have the ability is really what you need. Dare to take that risk!

      Thanks for your last 2 questions, I will make sure we will discuss these 2 topics next week, so stay tuned :))

      xx

      Lois

  • I guess I am self-employed, but I always think clear goals and being active help so much!

    Lauren x
    Britton Loves | Lifestyle Food Fashion Beauty – http://www.brittonloves.blogspot.co.uk

  • Uli

    Not yet *sigh* But that’s why I read lots of tips like these so once I’ve started to be self-employed I’m super prepared. I’ll let you know when it’s happening ;) x

    FOUND SOME PAPER BLOG

    • Lois

      Hi Uli,

      Please do! We would love to hear stories from other career girls about their passion, jobs, motivation etc. So definitely let us know :))!

      x

  • Working for myself, I find it difficult to create strict working hours and non-working hours. Truth be told, I usually end up working 24/7. This is definitely something I need to work on, but other than that, I really love the ‘freedom’ of working for myself.

    http://www.lioninthewild.com

  • I am self-employed, part-time blogger, part-time author. Your last tip about learning to say no definitely hit home for me. I’m not sure why, but when I tell people I work from home, they seem to think that I have a lot of free time. I think there is a stigma with being self-employed that people think you spend all day staring at a ceiling when in reality most self-employed people work hard if not harder than most with a traditional 9 to 5 job. In fact, if I’m working especially hard on my book then my day is usually a lot longer than the normal 8 hour work day. So, when I’m offered a project (that the person thinks I have all the time in the world to do) I have to think long and hard if I’ll actually be able to do it. In the beginning, it was hard to say no because I like helping people and I don’t want to let them down, but I learned very quickly that as a self-employed person, my time is very precious. If I spend all of my time on someone else’s work then my work will suffer which means I’m out of a job and that’s something I don’t want to happen. As I keep reminding myself this, it’s become a lot easier to say no.

  • I think it’s so easy for people to get caught up in being self employed and not continuing to be active through networking events, their community, etc. Definitely something good to consider.

    Marisa

  • Hey,
    Self employment is something that I have fancied for so long and now I am self employed and I’m working from home. But since a few weeks, things are going really bad. I am not working enough. I am not meeting my goals and I do need help.
    I believe I am going to get a lot of support and inspiration from your blog. Truthfully speaking, I came across your blog three days back while I was searching for new blogs for the purpose of blog commenting. But what I can say. I just fell in love with the content on this blog. Even when I don’t have your blog listed in my blog commenting schedule, I just end up here. Hheheh
    One question – I have noticed that you post every day. Right? How do you manage that? IT would be great if you can answer that. It will do me a lot of benefit. Thanks :)

    • Lois

      Hi Manpreet,

      Thanks for your lovely comment. Unfortunately being self-employed has its ups and downs, but hold on to your dream and try to get the drive, motivation and passion back that keeps you going.

      We do 4 posts a day, but we have a team of 5 girls at the moment. Our goal is to inspire, motivate and empower career girls from all around the world, so reading your comment is just amazing, thank you for that! We love to hear from you girls!

      xx

      Lois

      • Thanks for the response. I love your vision. Great work :)

  • I’d love to be a self employed blogger one day but I’m definitely going to start of slow and small and see where it takes me
    Reinventing Neesha ♥

  • There are so many things that I need to take care after reading this post. I am enlightened. Thank you <3

  • Well said.

  • This was so helpful and very inspiring. Great read!

    Thank you!

    xo
    Sophie | http://www.thesophasaurus.com

  • Absolutely love this article and its so accurate a good old fashion SWOT analysis does the trick every single time too.

  • These are all great tips! I am about 7 years into self employment, 2 years into having an actual physical location. It’s been quite the journey but it’s so been worth all of it! Now I have my own shop and salon and am about to double the size of my location and start employing others :)

  • Hello!

    So my old manager has asked me to start doing some freelance marketing/copywriting work for her which is great news for me. However I’ve never done it before and she’s asked for an hourly rate. I guess I need to register myself to pay tax etc (not that I’ll earn much!) or however it’s done. No idea! Any real starter tips on finding these things out would be very very helpful.

    Thanks,
    Lou.

  • I recommend “Best Year Yet” by Jinny Ditzler. It focusses the mind and creates a plan for both your personal and professional life. I did it last year and the results were amazing. I’m just preparing my “top 10 goals” for this year. Well worth it.

  • Alina
  • So helpful. Love these tips!
    Kari
    http://www.sweetteasweetie.com

  • vanessa

    what a very good article!

    TheVogueWord
    TheVogueWord

  • I really enjoyed reading your post. So much to think about! I think the tip that really hit home was learning to say no. So hard to do in practice if you strive to be helpful and reliable.