Although the world seems to be emerging from the grip of the pandemic and life is getting back on track, one trend is not slowing down: many people have had time to think about their priorities and aspirations during the long months of quarantine and are still determined to quit their jobs and become self-employed.
It has been a little over a year since I quit my previous job and I can safely say that the experience has been like a roller coaster. I was lucky enough to have coaching in my life, which has helped me to solve a lot of issues, both working with coaches and coaching clients. It’s incredible how much you can learn about yourself while coaching others!
In this article I want to share some of the inhibiting thoughts and fears that I faced and still face from time to time before and after becoming self-employed. In coaching, some of these thoughts are also called limiting beliefs. Here are the most common ones and what to do about them:
- To work for someone is all I know how to do. If I quit, I won’t know what to do instead. This reaction is perfectly natural and it is not surprising that the thought of leaving a safe place is somewhat frightening. What has helped me is giving myself time to search and think about what I want to do in the future, you could call it a transitional period. When you take a break and allow yourself to rest, fresh thoughts come without any distress. Working with coaches is also an invaluable help in finding your direction;
- I can’t afford financially to quit my salaried job. First of all, such a change in life is a really big step and needs to be planned responsibly, i.e. to take care of your financial base until self-employment starts to bear fruit. Everyone’s needs are different, of course, but in my opinion, you should build up enough savings to last at least 6 months. If this is not possible, self-employment can be started alongside existing employment until it grows to the point where it is possible to leave it;
- Self-employment means an unstable income, whereas with an employment contract I always know how much I will earn and when. This is absolutely true, but I invite you to shift your focus from what you will lose by changing your activity to what you will gain. Maybe it is more rest, more freedom, more satisfaction, more time with your loved ones, and so on;
- I don’t know how to start self-employment, I’ve never done it, I don’t know where to start, maybe it’s not even worth trying. When we were just babies and we started to learn how to walk, we had never tried it before, right? And we didn’t stop at the first failure, did we? And so starting to be independent might not always go smoothly, there is a lot to learn, and often some steps will fail, but that doesn’t mean you can’t do it. It is not a failure, but an opportunity to learn. There are also many peer support groups and communities on social networks where people support each other and share experiences, so feel free to join them;
- I am afraid of the reaction of others, I don’t want negative opinions and comments. How do you know that this will necessarily be true? Have all the people who have started out on their own really received negative opinions? I am still amazed at how many people are supportive. In all this time, I have not had a single negative reaction;
- I don’t want to and can’t sell my services, I don’t like the sales process. Think about this – how can I make this process enjoyable for myself? Or maybe I can give it a different meaning? Maybe it’s not about selling, but about helping people solve their problems? Or maybe I don’t have to do it, maybe I can delegate it to someone else?
- I have started to learn a new field that I want to pursue for my future, but I don’t have enough knowledge, I don’t feel confident enough to ask for money. I think that most people, even professionals, are always looking for room for improvement, so feeling that I don’t know everything yet is again quite a natural state of mind. Just ask yourself the questions “ when will I know that I already have enough knowledge and am ready, based on what criteria? What level am I at now and what do I need to move up one step?” Practical advice – if you still need practice before you can start providing paid services, offer free services or do it in exchange. Just answer the above questions for yourself beforehand and set the number of free services/time/etc.
It is not easy to take such a big step as changing from working for someone else to self-employment. It requires a lot of preparation and serious weighing up of the pros and cons. If you are however about to do it or are already on the way, I hope you have found some useful information in this article. Remember that you are not alone in this process, just ask out loud for help and you will be surprised how many people around you are willing to help.
With best wishes for growth,
Your thinking partner online, in France (Savoie), Switzerland (Geneva region)