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The Mindset of a Self Employed Person

By: Maggie Lonsdale BA (hons) - Updated: 15 Dec 2012 | comments*Discuss
Self-employed Boss Networking Business

The mindset of a self-employed person is really nothing like that of an employee. In order to succeed in being self-employed, it is imperative that certain skills and ways of thinking and behaving are learned quickly, rather than simply continuing to act in a way that suits an employer. When you are your own employer, you simply have to get to grips with aspects of running a business that you may find unpalatable, but as there is no one else to do it (until you earn enough to pay someone else!) you have to learn.

Be Prepared to Chase Invoices

Let’s go straight for the task that most self-employed people hate! Chasing up invoices is horrible for all sorts of reasons: you think the company might think you’re unsuccessful as you need to chase money; you worry your client might be put off using you again if you chase them up; you don’t want to sound desperate…there are hundreds of reasons why chasing up overdue invoices is the bane of a self-employed persons day.

But you have to do it! As the saying goes, the squeaky wheel gets the grease. There is no shame for needing and wanting to be paid for work that you have provided, as long as you have done the job well and you have set out your payment terms clearly. Don’t chase a 30 day invoice seven days after you’ve sent it though, or you’ll just look junior.

Always Be Looking for New Opportunities

Successful self-employed people are always looking for new opportunities, whether that’s new clients, new business ideas or new products. When you’re self-employed you rarely, if ever, get that lovely feeling of being secure in your job, so it’s better to get used to it rather than moan.

You will need to work out what is suitable and relevant to your business, but essentially it’s about networking, making contacts and keeping your eyes open to ways in which you can exploit your business potential.

Always Say Yes

When you’re employed, it can be a little too easy to say no – if a client calls just as you’re leaving for the evening you might just let the answer phone take it, or you might just snuggle down when you feel a cold coming on instead of making yourself get to your desk. When you are your own boss, the answer is always yes, whether it’s a difficult request, a tight deadline or a conference call when your eyes are streaming.

Feast or Famine

Few self-employed people earn the same amount of money month in month out. It is best to keep your fixed outgoings as low as possible in order to keep your stress levels down when times are tough. The upside of that is that when you’ve had a good month, or a good year, you can really appreciate the financial bonanza! A self-employed person is far more likely to have beans on toast for two weeks in a row and then a juicy steak when a big project gets paid. Learn to enjoy the rollercoaster of being self-employed and it will be the best thing you ever did.

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