Many of us who are self-employed look back on our 9 to 5 cubicle days and wonder: How did I ever do that? Not because we didn't enjoy our full-time careers, but because it's just so different now: We make our own schedules, build our own clientele, choose our workspace and are 100 percent responsible for our financial growth.
Everything we do — and every decision we make — is self-directed. We are the boss.
Sure, it can be pretty daunting at first, but going freelance or starting your own consulting business is absolutely worth it if you're ready to commit. Consider these pointers from 10 pros who've made the transition:
Remember this: You know more than you think
It may sound corny, but believing in yourself and your vision of success is probably the most important step in the entire process of going solo. Part of believing in yourself means recognizing that you have everything it takes — right this very minute — to plant the seed of self-employment.
"A mistake a lot of people make is thinking that they don't have what it takes — they don't have an MBA, or the background that they think is necessary to start a business," says success strategist Carlota Zimmerman, who built her own career coaching business from scratch after working for years in TV news. "You don't need some kind of proof; all you need is to commit to your passion. Don't get hung up on all the stuff you don't know. Focus on making this dream a reality by doing everything with what you do know."
To get things off the ground, set aside some funds
Make a list of all your monthly expenses and figure out what you'll need to cover them. Abbey Ashley, founder of The Virtual Savvy, a training service for women launching virtual assistant businesses, recommends setting aside at least three months of savings.
"This not only makes you feel more secure as you transition, but also gives you enough of a buffer to cover unexpected emergencies or expenses during the times that freelance projects are slower," says Ashley. "If you are working a salaried position plus freelancing on the side, I recommend saving almost all of your freelancing profits until you have reached this 'buffer" goal.