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Ashley PoynterSep 36 min read

5 Tips to run your self-employed business

Updated: Sep 3

Being a self-employed business owner has many advantages. Many people find it appealing to be their own boss, set their own schedule, and focus on the work that interests them. Whether you’re starting out with a side hustle or diving head-first into self-employment, it can be a very satisfying experience if you have the necessary skills and drive needed for entrepreneurship.

As the freelance and contractor market continues to boom, it can be a lucrative time to consider running your own self-employed business. Many businesses are actively seeking out flexible workers that can deliver specialized skill sets. There are also plenty of challenges and several considerations to take into account when preparing yourself for entrepreneurship. Here are some tips to help you build a successful, fulfilling self-employed business.

1.Plan for lifestyle changes

No matter which way you slice it, life will be different as a self-employed business owner. Not only will you be your own boss, but you’ll also be responsible for managing your work-life balance. While self-employment offers freedom and flexibility, it also comes with some unknowns. For example, income, vacation time, and retirement savings can be vastly different for self-employed business owners than for people employed by a company.

For some, the lack of steady income means overhauling finances to ensure that bills continue to get paid and that their lifestyle can be maintained even when there are dips in business. It also means looking at how to handle business hours and client demands. When you work for an employer, hours can be more regulated. People tend to work within the 9-to-5 window and enjoy weekends off. While this may be possible as a self-employed individual, it may not always be the case.

Those who have families should also discuss financial considerations as well as retirement goals to ensure that everything remains on track. It can be helpful to work with a personal financial advisor and to hire a bookkeeper for the business to keep finances organized.

Don’t forget about health insurance! As a self-employed business owner, you’ll be responsible for procuring health coverage for you and your family. Great news on this front: for those living in Austin, Texas, we offer three unique health plans that have been designed around the needs of the self-employed population. Our affordable, comprehensive plans are perfect for those looking to transition into self-employment without the added stress and burden of sorting through dozens of pricey, complicated plans. Keep it simple and get a free quote today.

2. Build a business plan

While some may be able to easily transition from full-time employment to being a full-time contractor with clients in place, others will need to build out a more concrete business plan to ensure success. Even if the transition looks like it will be simple, it can be helpful to create a plan that includes market research, marketing strategy, financial considerations and projections, growth forecasting, and metrics for measuring success.

A business plan is a blueprint for success and can help you keep tabs on how your self-employed business is performing over time. It can also be updated over time so that, as you grow, you can set new goals, predictions, projections, and strategies for the business to ensure optimum performance.

3. Prioritize Marketing

While you may be lucky enough to have a few clients in the bag when you start, you’ll need to consider how you’ll maintain and grow your business over time. This means thinking about how you will reach your target customers and earn their trust and interest in your products and services.

To start, reach out to friends, family, and your existing network to let people know that you’re hanging out your shingle. Ideally, you can do this before you actually launch, which can help you gain clients more quickly. Friends and family can also be ideal people from whom you can gain early feedback to help shape products and services moving forward.

You’ll also want to map out longer-term marketing goals. These may include inexpensive tactics to start but can blossom into more complex strategies as you gain your footing as a self-employed business owner. Think about how you will use tools like a website, email marketing, social media, and paid advertising to broaden your reach and earn new business.

4. Build your reputation

In addition to marketing your business to prospective clients, you’ll also want to focus on keeping current or existing clients happy. This means developing a set of best practices and principles by which you do business. Ensuring your current clientele remains satisfied will not only help you retain those customers but could also lead to strong referrals.

There are key principles that the best self-employed business owners live by, which include:

  • Creating a reputation built on integrity and honesty
  • Owning up to any mistakes or missteps
  • Providing customized attention to each customer and remaining in close contact to address any questions or issues early and often
  • Under-promising and over-delivering

You may even want to consider listing your core business values on your website to let people know how you operate and to instill trust that you are a person of integrity.

5. Know when to grow

Even if you plan to be the only full-time employee in your self-employed business, you may reach a time when you realize there simply aren’t enough hours in the day to do everything. While you may not be keen on hiring a full-time employee, you’ll likely find that there are certain administrative or non-core tasks that you can outsource to other contractors.

As a self-employed business owner, you have to be a Jack or Jane of all trades. That doesn’t mean you can’t get help in some of those trades if you find yourself drawing in responsibilities. Perhaps you are taking a lot of time managing social media profiles for your business or making updates to your website. Consider contracting those tasks out to specialists in those areas. Not only does that free you up to focus on more essential activities, but it ensures that those things will get done right.

Running a self-employed business can be extremely satisfying when you set yourself up for success. Following the tips outlined above can give you a healthy head start to getting your business off the ground and running smoothly. One final tip: don’t forget to have fun!