Hazards of the Self Employed to Avoid

Congratulations if you are self-employed as the great thing about being self-employed is that you report to you and only you. However here are some hazards and common job mistakes which you should aim to avoid

  1. Poor self-management

As a self-employed person because you think that you have no ‘manager’ to watch your comings and goings; you take too much personal time. For instance, stopping mid work to get something for your wife or child, heading for lunch before lunch, or spending hours chatting to a ‘contact’ that you have not seen in a while. This is poor self-management.

As a self-employed person you need to take personal responsibility for your comings and goings. As you choose when to show up and you set your own timetable be focused and put in the needed hours of work. Understand that what you do, or don’t do, today, will have an impact on your success a month later or even years down the line.

  1. Doubting Your Decisions

Self-employed people have an opportunity to create something from nothing, in a way that’s not possible working for someone else. But this means making big decisions about what must be done, when and how. You and only you are the one looking at the reward versus risk scale when making decisions. You’re responsible for all decisions – good and bad.

When taking a decision alone it is much harder than when taking a decision with a team or a boss but you can’t wait for things to happen, or for someone to tell you what to do, you must make them happen. To be successful in your ventures you must also understand that opportunities may be short-lived, and so develop a sense of urgency that will help you achieve your goals.

Analyze both short and long-term visions simultaneously and be forward thinking.

  1. Being a “know it all”

Admitting to not knowing can be a very difficult thing to admit to but, you must. And do not take on work you are not able to do because this leads to mistakes and mistakes lead to a bad job done. A bad job will land you with a bad reputation and no future work. So do not be averse to saying,  “I do not know”.

It is always a good idea to maintain an open line of communication with all of your clients to make sure their expectations are being met. Let them know when you don’t know how to do something and if you can; recommend someone else. This will help build solid relationships with all of your clients. In the meantime work on upgrading the skills you lack because being self-employed means wearing many hats and involves learning many new skills (unless you have the cash to outsource what you’re not good at or don’t want to do).

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Kwachalelo, be successful, be well.

About Balekile Gausi

A prolific writer covering work, money and lifestyle that passed through university coming away with a very good grasp of public administration, money and banking, international relations. She was a civil servant that quickly opted for self-employment. And as a trained and published writer she has been freelance feature writing for several decades but has also published fiction in Drum and The BBC Focus on Africa Magazine. Now settled and living in Lusaka after many years of living in several cities in Africa and Europe; Balekile is also an avid bird watcher, is married with 3 adult children and has an extraordinary fondness for chikanda ( the Zambian delicatessen that vegans and non-vegans world-wide are putting on their bucket list!)

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