No matter your current position, whether you’re the CEO of a multinational corporation, an apprentice, or a new graduate with a part-time job, making the transition from employee to self-employed business owner comes with one heck of a learning curve.

But if you’re so convinced you’re sitting on a viable business idea that you’ve already drafted a resignation letter, there are several things you can consider or put in place right now, that’ll make the early stages of your entrepreneurial journey far more manageable.

Remember: it doesn’t have to be a drastic leap

It’s a fantasy that almost every employee has entertained at some point: marching into your supervisor’s office, slamming that resignation letter onto their desk, and waltzing back out, ready to take on the world with nothing more than a laptop, a hot idea, and the Wi-Fi of the local coffee shop.

And of course, if you feel mentally, emotionally, and financially prepared to do just that, we’re with you all the way. Go print that letter!

But remember — the transition from employment to self-employment doesn’t have to be carried out in one fell swoop, particularly if doing so feels like a bigger risk than you’re comfortable with.

It’s absolutely okay to tackle the shift in stages, perhaps reducing your overtime so you have more time to work on creating your business, or going part-time so you still have some financial security while you build your customer base.

Talking of financial security…

Again, it’s important to assess the level of risk you’re happy with.

If you have a hefty mortgage, children or elderly relatives to support, or other significant financial responsibilities (and even if you don’t), you’ll want to consider how you’ll manage financially during the early stages of running your business.

Can you afford to give up your employment entirely or would a slow transition make more sense for you? Will your start-up require some serious funds to get it off the ground? Do you have enough money in your savings account to cover your expenses if it takes longer than expected to make any profit?

If you’re not convinced you can make the transition work financially though, don’t despair. This is the ideal time for you to explore options such as business grants, loans, or investor options.

Don’t assume you have to know everything

You’re the boss now — or you’re about to be — and that can come with the expectation or fear that you need to know everything.

After all, in your business there’s no supervisor to check in with, no one to insist that you sign up for your 6-monthly CPD sessions, no one to consult when you want to sense check a new idea.

But that doesn’t mean you’re on your own.

There is a tonne of help out there, from free resources like the Clear Books blog or webinars and events hosted by organisations like Business Gateway, to great value online business building membership sites and local networking groups.

Most established business owners remember the stress of the start-up phase and are more than willing to share their experiences and expertise. So don’t be afraid to ask others for help, no matter what stage of entrepreneurship you’ve reached.


Seek accountability if you need it

One of the toughest aspects of going from employee to self-employed is self-discipline. With no one setting deadlines and no one to answer to it can be tempting to procrastinate — particularly on the tasks you least enjoy.

So if think you’ll struggle with the motivation to make sales calls, update your business social media feeds, or stay on top of your bookkeeping, be sure to seek some accountability.

Try finding a fellow start up entrepreneur and offer each other support and a gentle nudge if you’re putting things off. Find a membership group that offers accountability sessions. Or invest in contracting a professional sales person, social media manager, or accountant to help you out.

Keep track of your wins

Surprising as it may sound, many entrepreneurs miss the annual review and its potential for keeping their career progression on track while in employment.

As a self-employed person, you can replicate the benefits of a performance review by recording your wins, no matter how big or small they might be.

Whether you’ve finally managed to suss out how to update your blog, plucked up the courage to do a live video on Instagram, or just had your first successful sales call, take a note of it. Then six months from now, look back at everything you’ve accomplished, remind yourself of the progress you’ve made, and use the info to set some goals for the next six months.

Learn how to work outside your zone of genius

Until now, you’ve likely been working in your zone of genius. You’ve had a relatively short list of tasks to take care of every day and whether through natural aptitude, training, or plain old repetition, you’ve gotten really good at working your way through them.

However, ence you’re a business owner, you won’t just be a business consultant, a logo designer, or the creator of high-end celebration cakes — you’ll also be an accountant, a bookkeeper, a marketer, an admin assistant, and a sales person.

And while some of that will come naturally to you, much of it won’t.

You can mitigate the stress of wearing all of those different hats by doing some prep now. Think about what might make your self-employed life easier; perhaps enrolling in some free bookkeeping or marketing courses, reading up on the sales process, or exploring free or inexpensive tools like social media schedulers, email marketing software, or online cloud accounting software, like Clear Books.

In fact, many of these software options, including Clear Books, offer free trials so you can get to grips with how they work while the stakes are still low.

The buck stops with you (and that’s a good thing)

The biggest shift to take on board when transitioning from employment to self-employment is this:

The buck stops with you.

Now, we know that might sound just a teensy bit terrifying…but it’s also incredibly liberating. So whether you’re on the cusp of starting your new business, have already taken a few tentative steps, or you feel ready to go all-in and quit life as an employee altogether, be sure to enjoy it.

The adventure starts here!

Clear Books Online Accounting Software

Clear Books is an award-winning online accounting software for small businesses. Thousands of business owners, contractors, freelancers and sole traders across the UK use our easy-to-use online accounting software to manage their business finances. All users benefit from the outstanding free telephone and email support. Clear Books was launched in London in 2008 and offers a free 30 day trial with free ongoing support and bank feeds. We’re rated as ‘Excellent’ on Trustpilot.

Get a free 30-day trial of Clear Books online accounting software here.

Posted by Clear Books