The number of times people are calling themselves self-employed is growing steadily in many parts of Africa. And the term self-employed is used a lot more among the youth than any other age group.
The truth is that many young people do work for themselves and if you are thinking of self-employment here are some tips
Pick What You Like To Do
If you are doing something right now out of mere interest it might be where to start. If you have more than one like, make sure you pick the most valuable. This way you will need little investment capital as you can use the resources, materials and knowledge you already have.
You may like making things with your hands, are always finding out the way things work or you may like window shopping and are good at picking out a bargain. Some things may sound like they may not offer a business opportunity but, do look carefully at all your hobbies and don’t overlook some just because they don’t fit the traditional definition. A hobby is ultimately anything you enjoy doing. So find that which you like and match it with something that’s marketable.
Remember just deciding on a hobby, doesn’t mean it’s a marketable business idea. You may have to adjust it a bit to produce a product or service that people want.
Taking small steps may mean starting a business that doesn’t require a lot of materials, equipment and storage. And it may also mean that you target friends and family as customers and then branch out from there to social media contacts and people you follow and placing your product or service on the relevant groups.
Small also means that you do not have to register a company straight away but only later when and if your business starts to gain ground. Registering these days is very easy, quick and not expensive but it is a path for much later. For now you should concentrate on what the business looks like on the ground and not what it looks like on headed paper.
Save Where You Can
Do not rush to print banners, pay for a mention in the media or to look for a trading space outside your home. Prices for printing, mentions in the media and the rents and the locations may be prohibitive. Start a small business where you can work from the comfort of your own home. Home-based businesses help save you a lot of overhead costs. No office space lease, no extra utility charges, no transport costs etc.
Do note that just because you are working from home does not make your business ‘not’ a business. It is a business albeit a small home based one. And as you are at home do not think that you can cut corners. Hold yourself to a standard of behavior and a standard of business. Be honest and caring. And keep your word to the customer…whether they are friend, family or foe!
People deal with people so you need to interact with people online. If you are using social media then you know there are a lot of people online. Use the platform to build your network. This network can help you finding new customers, suppliers, mentors and like-minded people. And can help you to pass along helpful information about your business.
As you add on more links to your chain you will be able to extend your influence to more and more potential clients and new opportunities. Interacting on line if done properly can be one of your greatest tools for expanding your business.