Q: I am a qualified accountant, and have been employed for 10 years. During this period, I have worked in four organisations, and risen to middle management. However, I am not happy. Deep inside, I want to start my own business, but I’m hesitant because I’ve seen many start and fail. I have been at my current workplace for only one year, but I am already bored. How can I attain self-employment?
Four employers in 10 years means you average about three years in every role. This is commendable, especially given your tendency to lose interest quickly. It is also admirable how this short tenure has driven your career growth to management, as you have an opportunity to market your competencies afresh at each new role. There are many employees who, though restless in their roles, lack the courage to venture out to a new employer. They end up stagnating in one role for many years, paralysed by fear. You are asking the right questions because at this rate, in 20 years you will have worked at ten different places, and perhaps even less assured of job satisfaction. Venturing into self-employment may provide the stability you need while creating employment for others.
To be successfully self-employed, you need a business plan. Think clearly about whether you want to pursue a business that is related to your current field, or whether you want to pursue a different line of interest. Look at the industry you are keen to join and take into consideration its challenges and opportunities. Think about how you would differentiate your product or service so that you stand out.
Be clear about the skills and key competencies you need to get the business going. Take stock of what you already have, and what you need to improve on, and purpose to bridge the gaps. Every business requires financial investment. You need to have some savings to kick you off. Self-employment does not mean you do it alone, you could look for likeminded people and pull your ideas and resources together before venturing off. This will lighten your financial burden, and allow you to focus on the business. Starting on a low budget and growing as your learn is a better decision. You could use spare space in your home as a temporary office, or look for co-working space to suit the business you choose. Make sure you comply with the required regulations.
Many times we are advised to start a side hustle while still at work, get it up and running, and quit employment after it picks up. In many cases it remains just that. A side hustle. Be clear about what you want from start and purpose to give it full attention.
Mwikali Muthiani - Managing Partner, MillennialHR
@MwikaliN; [email protected]