Are you a lone wolf or strictly a team player?

If you find yourself faced with redundancy, you may look upon this as an opportunity to take your career in a completely different direction. Some people have always had a secret dream to set up a business on their own. If you are one of them, you need to think about it carefully as self-employment is not for everyone. It’s very tempting to dream of being your own boss with no more days as a wage slave but the reality of self-employment can be rather different from the fantasy.

If you are trying to work out if you can make it as a lone wolf, having been a team player in the workplace so far, here are 10 points to bear in mind, whether you’re considering freelancing, consultancy, or you want to start a brand new business:

  1. If you are a motivated self-starter then self-employment may be the perfect environment for you to flourish in, as you will need to be proactive constantly.
  2. Time management skills are vital – there will be no one checking up on you and no one to report to.
  3. Networking is really important for anyone working alone so not only must you be prepared to do it, you need to be happy to do it alone.
  4. You need to be able to separate your professional and personal lives, which can be tricky, especially if you find yourself working from home. It’s vital not to alienate your friends and family by having work creep into every waking hour.
  5. Although having control over your own schedule, with the opportunity to work flexibly, may sound very attractive, you may miss the support system of a busy workforce and find working on your own isolating and lonely.
  6. You need to be able to cope with a ‘feast or famine’ working pattern – experiencing stretches of intense activity, alternated with sometimes worryingly long quiet periods. This often means your income is unpredictable and it can make planning your life quite challenging.
  7. You need to be a great multi-tasker as you will be responsible for everything from sales, legal issues, accounts, customer relations and all your IT niggles as well.
  8. You are your own boss – but that means all the responsibility is on your shoulders with no option to pass the buck.
  9. As your business grows, you may need to take on additional staff. This means you may find yourself being an employer, with added responsibilities – how will you feel about that?
  10. Although you will be striking out on your own, consider finding a mentor. Make sure whoever you choose can be trusted to be brutally honest and tell you what you need to hear, not what you want to hear!