Tag: entrepreneurship


How to Test Out a Freelancing Career to See if It’s Right for You

Freelancing for additional income streams

My good friend Ashley just started her own small-scale bakery. She loves sweet potatoes, so all of her baked goods are made from sweet potatoes, a very niche focus. (Check out Hey Sweetie on Instagram.)

Ashley began her bakery for two reasons. One, she’s passionate about baking. And two, she knows her current job is not something she’ll be able to physically continue doing in the future.

To supplement for the inevitable, Ashley’s starting now to create additional income streams through various freelancing opportunities. This includes her new home bakery.

Start by keeping it simple

Ashley began her bakery in a simple way. First, she obtained the appropriate business license to be able to bake and sell food out of her home, focusing on baked goods sharing the same main ingredient. Then, she got connected with her local farmer’s market.

At Ashley’s very first market, she sold out of all her baked goods, even though it was the poorest attended market of the year, according to the coordinator. Her product was so successful that several buyers wanted to place orders with her for their Thanksgiving feasts. She was both ecstatic and a bit overwhelmed by the response!

When Ashley and I met for dinner a few days after her first market, she asked me for a few pointers on the things I’ve learned from having my own business. I was happy to share since I was so excited for my good friend.

Now, she’s tweaking her pricing and figuring out the deadlines she needs to set for custom orders, so she can manage her various income streams without being too overwhelmed.

Test the market

What I love about Ashley’s story is she just went for it. She didn’t wait until she had everything figured out to start her bakery. Instead, she tested the market first to see if there was an interest. Testing the market didn’t require a huge investment of her time or money.

Now, she has an idea of how to move forward, while accepting she’ll have to learn some lessons through sheer experimentation. The beauty of having her own thing gives Ashley the control to decide how much or how little of her business she wants to do. She gets a say in how many orders she’ll fulfill at one time, how many farmer’s markets she wants to attend, and how long she wants to continue baking for other people.

Get help

Independent work and “solopreneurship” comes in various forms, such as freelancer, consultant, side hustler, gig worker, or a combination of these. It’s not for everyone, but it’s becoming more common for those who work well independently.

In fact, a recent study shows 58% of workers in traditional settings, who started working remotely during the pandemic, are now considering freelancing. I’ve found this also to be true among many of my newest clients.

Is working for yourself something you’re considering for your own career? If so, check out the various resources below to help you know if it’s right for you, and to help you get started. Because there comes a time when you have to stop thinking about it and stop researching it, and you have to just start, like Ashley did!

But you don’t have to go solo when going solopreneur! paNASH has services available to assist you with starting your own thing. This includes helping you determine if it’s the right career path for you, how to create your brand, how to figure out your pricing and business structure, and more.

For assistance, click here and complete the paNASH intake form. Once you’ve completed the form, we can schedule a complimentary initial consultation.

Resources for starting your own freelancing business

How to Overcome the Intimidation of Starting Your Own Business

For my clients who’d like to start their own business, they often site intimidation as the reason why they haven’t done so yet. Specifically, the thing they say intimidates them the most is the logistics involved. Their fear is real. But the things they fear aren’t really that scary, especially once they start taking steps toward those things.

This was true for me when starting my own business. I didn’t know much about how to begin. Let’s face it, I didn’t even know the difference between an LLC and LL Bean! It all seemed very overwhelming.

But the important thing is, I started. I did a simple Google search on obtaining a business license. Then I checked out the County Clerk’s web site for instructions. Filling out the form took all of five minutes, and the fee was nominal. Done!

Next, I consulted a business coach on how to set up my business as an LLC. He showed me the steps, which weren’t too difficult. And now days, getting an employer ID number for your business is easier than ever through the IRS web site. Done!

With each step completed, my confidence grew!

It’s easy to let things like the alphabet soup of starting a business cause you to panic. LLC, P&L, and IRS can all sound very scary (especially that last one). But taking just a few minutes to research their meaning, or asking someone who knows about it to explain it to you like you’re a four-year-old, can greatly reduce your anxiety.

Tips for starting your own business

If your goal is to start your own business, you’ll also gain confidence by taking one step at a time. You’ll quickly learn you can figure things out as you keep putting one foot in front of the other.

But in addition to giving you a pep talk, I want to share some practical tips to help make the logistics smoother for you. If you already possess the necessary basic skills for starting a business, then the following advice will help you do so with less intimidation, and less headache.

1. Choose a good business name

Determine the best name for your business. Use one that doesn’t limit you from possibly expanding your products, service offerings, or location. Then check for the following:

  • Business name availability.
  • Domain availability. (Always get a dot com over a dot net or a dot info. And never use a hyphen in your domain.)
  • Platform handle availability. Make sure your business name’s handle is available on every social media platform you plan to use.

2. Select your business structure

If you already know what kind of business structure you want, get registered as such. While registering as an LLC is more expensive than registering as a sole proprietor, it’s much easier to do it upfront than to start as a sole proprietor, and then change to an LLC later.

Consult your accountant or a business coach on which structure would best suit your business.

3. Set up a bank account

Get a separate bank account for your business. You never want to mix your business income and expenses with your personal account.

4. Make it easy for customers to pay you

Set up business accounts through payment method platforms like PayPal and Venmo. This way you can receive customer payments quickly, and make it easier for them to pay you. Setting these up as business accounts under your business name, instead of as personal accounts, will make the IRS less suspicious of your transactions.

5. Keep a P&L

In the beginning you may not have the money to hire a bookkeeper, so you’ll need to keep track of your own income and expenses with a profit and loss ledger. It can be as simple as pen and paper, or an Excel sheet, with an itemized list of all your expense and income categories.

Then, you’ll want to keep a copy of every invoice and receipt to account for all the numbers you plug into your ledger. You’re required to hold onto these receipts for up to seven years in the event of an audit. (I know, the word audit sounds really frightening. But as long as you’re using your income strictly for business expenses, and you account for every penny, you shouldn’t have anything to worry about.)

Even if you don’t have the money in the beginning to hire a bookkeeper, you will want to dish out the money for an accountant to assist you with your taxes. He or she will tell you what business expenses you can write off, and which ones you can’t.

What I’ve found easiest for me is to keep an Excel P&L myself throughout the year, which gives me a first-hand picture of how my business is doing. I update my P&L monthly. Then every year, I give it to my accountant at tax time for her to have when filing my taxes on my behalf.

6. Pay your estimated taxes

As soon as financially feasible, get into the habit of setting aside 15 to 20 percent of every receivable and every revenue stream. This is the estimated amount you will owe on the income your business generates.

Use this amount to pay your taxes every quarter. Paying taxes online through the IRS web site is quick and easy.

I suggest linking a business savings account to your business checking account, so you can move your estimated taxes to it. This will help you keep it separate from your revenue. You can quickly and easily pay out of this account via ACH, through the IRS web site.

Getting into the habit of taking the taxes off the top of each receivable makes it less painful than getting hit with a large tax bill at once. Doing so can even result in a tax refund!

Take it one step at a time

While the advice above may still leave you feeling unsettled or intimidated, I promise it will reduce your chances of facing something even scarier down the road. These tips really are much easier than they sound, and they will save you a lot of headaches in the long run.

Remember, the logistics of starting a business are not obstacles. They’re simply steps. Just take one step at a time and keep moving to the next step. When in doubt, ask your accountant, your lawyer, a business coach, or someone who’s been down this road before. But don’t ever be so intimidated you become paralyzed with fear and give up on your goal.

Related resources

How to Know If It’s Time for a Career Change

It felt so good this past Saturday to eat in a restaurant again after two months of quarantine. To sit down at a table, face-to-face with a friend not contained inside a square on my computer screen. To have someone else cook for me, wait on me, and clean up after me. I made sure to leave a generous tip for the waitstaff who’ve gone two months with no pay.

The restaurant was only at 50% capacity, so it wasn’t a full move back to the old normal. But it was a nice change from the new normal of shelter-at-home life.

However, in experiencing a return of some freedom, I still sensed some fear and hesitation in the air. Any kind of change can cause feelings of fear and hesitation. This is true for career change.

But change can also be good, even in the most uncertain of times. This is also true for career change. I know this from personal experience when I left my full-time job with benefits to start my own business in 2008, right around the time of a recession.

Some people may think this is not the time to make a career change. They assume if they still have a job in the midst of everything happening, they should hold onto it. This may be true.

Or it may not. Instead it may actually be the best time to consider a career change. This could include changing jobs within your industry, changing industries all together, or starting your own thing. Let’s explore which is true for you.

Is it a good time for a career change for you?

A career change within your industry

Are you currently in an industry that’s booming due to the current state of the world? For instance, are you currently in healthcare? Or are you in an industry that manufactures, markets, or sells high-demand products like cleaning agents? In other words, does your industry meet a need now, and will it likely continue to meet a need once things settle down?

If this is the case, you probably want to stay within your industry but do something different. This could mean making a lateral move to a different department, or advancing to a higher level in your current area. It could mean shifting from one function to another, like moving from HR to management, sales to market research, or vice versa.

Make a list of the results you’ve accomplished in your current role for the company. Use this as leverage to help you advance, or to show how your skills can bring new perspective to another area of the company. Don’t be afraid to have a conversation with your supervisor and with other department heads about your desire to continue contributing to the company in other ways.

A career change to another industry

Perhaps you’re in an industry that’s struggling right now. But you have the transferable skills to change to an industry in need of more employees due to the current crisis. For instance, you may currently be in HR in the travel and hospitality industry. But, your skills may be more needed in the HR department of a grocery store chain.

Start doing as much research as you can about the industries you’re interested in. Make a list of your transferable skills and add them to your resume and LinkedIn profile. Start connecting with people in those industries via LinkedIn, email, and phone.

Starting your own thing

Perhaps you’ve been thinking for a while about starting your own thing. Could now be the time to do so? Maybe, especially if you’ve been laid off due to COVID and can’t seem to find another job working for someone else. Or you may have some extra time on your hands because you’re currently working from home.

Spend your extra time writing down your skills, along with some current needs you’re noticing. Look to see how your skills match up with the needs. Then brainstorm some ways you can deliver a solution to those needs. You may also want to use your time to read the book, Will It Fly? How to Test Your Next Business Idea So You Don’t Waste Your Time or Money, by Pat Flynn.

Conclusion

Don’t let the current market make you fearful or hesitant when considering a career change. And don’t let bad news or ominous predictions keep you stuck where you are. Instead, pay attention to the needs around you. Then, ask yourself how and where your skills and talents fulfill those needs.

This process may not be easy to do on your own, but paNASH can help! Get started by completing the paNASH intake form to schedule a complimentary initial consultation.

Related posts

Why You Need to Think Like an Entrepreneur (Even When You’re Not One)

We’ve been in a good job market recently. But, companies do continue to downsize. I know because said companies often call me to provide outplacement counseling for their former employees as part of their severance packages. In working with them, many of these employees discover they’d rather work for themselves instead of working for someone else again.

Did you know 94% of the 15 million jobs created between 2009 and 2017 were either part-time or freelance jobs?

And did you know, by next year 40% of the workforce will be independent workers? This is according to a study conducted by Freelancers Union.

If you find yourself in the near future having to look for a new job or become your own boss, whether by choice or by force, will you know how to do so? Will you welcome the opportunity as a way to finally pursue your passion?

Why You Need the Skills of an Entrepreneur (even if you’re not one)

Even if you never become an entrepreneur, you’ll still need to think like one to gain future employment. Regardless of how good the job market currently is, competition will always be fierce. Especially for full-time jobs with benefits.

Therefore, you have to really sell your skills to employers. These skills should include the ones employers are demanding which I’ve listed below. And these same skills will help you succeed if you choose to go the entrepreneur route instead.

The 8 Skills Everyone Needs to Make a Living (entrepreneur or not)

Let’s look at each of these skills and how paNASH’s on-demand courses help you develop them:

  1. Creativity. The free on-demand course 5 Ways to Pursue Your Passions in Life and Work encourages you and provides you a safe place to explore your passions and creativity.
  2. Ability to generate and execute ideas. The course Don’t Just Set Goals, ACHIEVE Them! teaches you how to set, execute, and achieve your goals and ideas. (Free with purchase of course bundle.)
  3. Communication. In Personal Branding: How to Know What Makes You YOUnique and AWEthentic, you’ll learn how to clearly communicate your “WHY” and your “HOW” of what you do. (E-book included.)
  4. Public Speaking. Also in Personal Branding, you’ll learn how to find your authentic voice and develop your message for your audience.
  5. Writing. In Resumes That Get You the Interview, you’ll learn how to write a clear, concise and effective resume that will make it through the applicant tracking system to a human. (E-book and sample resumes included.)
  6. Likeability. In The Secret to Successful Networking: How to Do It Naturally and Effectively, you’ll learn how to make networking a more pleasant experience. Especially if you’re an introvert. It’ll teach you how to network more comfortably and naturally, in return making you more likeable. (E-book included.)
  7. Salesmanship. In Steps to Acing the Interview and The 3 Super Powers of Successful Job Seekers, you’ll learn how to sell your skills and abilities in an authentic way that matters most to employers and potential clients while helping you reduce your interview anxiety. (E-book included.)
  8. Negotiation. In Make More Money Without Taking a Second Job, you’ll learn how to negotiate a larger salary offer, a pay raise, or a promotion. (Free with purchase of course bundle.)

Invest in Yourself

If you learn these skills now, you’ll be able to pursue your passions and make your own money with your own resources. Or you’ll be able to market yourself to a job doing something you love working for someone else. It’s your choice!

One way to begin is to invest in yourself. Take the money you’d normally spend on something unnecessary and instead put it toward some classes to learn the skills employers seek and some other new skills. This could include taking continuing education classes or online classes, including the ones listed above.

These courses are easily accessible, affordable (some are even free!), and allow you to work at your own pace. paNASH’s on-demand courses are designed to teach you how to market your new skills to a new employer or as an entrepreneur to potential clients. You can purchase them individually, or you can save $235 when you purchase the course bundle!

What are you waiting for?

Related Post:

How to Make Money, Stay Fit, and Be Creative: Combine Your Passions

entrepreneur

Career Advice No One Will Ever Share With You (Re-post)

As a career coach, I’m always responding to career-related questions with various tips and career advice. I recently received a question asking,

“What are a few unique pieces of career advice nobody ever mentions?”

This is a good one because there are a lot of possible answers to it, but I chose two answers to reflect what most of my clients don’t know when they first come to me.


Career Advice Tip #1:

If you work for someone else, you still need to think like an entrepreneur.

Why? Because no one’s job is secure.

You have to view your employer as your client. And if your “client” decides not to continue working with you, you have to be in a good position to quickly land your next client.

You do this by becoming a good salesperson of your skills.


Career Advice Tip #2:

If you work for yourself, then you need to think of each meeting with potential clients or potential investors as a job interview.

For instance, I have several consultations with potential clients each week. Therefore, I’m going on job interviews EVERY SINGLE WEEK of the year!

I know I have to clearly express the benefits of my skills as a career coach.


Determine Fit

In either scenario, you not only need to sell your skills.

You also need to treat the situation as a two-way street. You need to find out if your next job or your next client is going to be a good fit for you.

This is why I always suggest job seekers ask their own questions during a job interview.

These questions should be ones to help them determine if the company (i.e. “the client”) is who they really want to spend 40+ hours a week with for the next several years.

**Check out The One Surprising Tip That Guarantees a Good Interview for sample questions to ask when being interviewed.***


Be Selective

For me personally as a business owner, I’m selective in who I take on as clients.

Therefore, not only do I present the benefits of my services and make sure they’re a good fit for the potential client’s goals, but I also ask questions to find out if they’re the type of client I’ll want to work with.

I start with questions in my intake form and ask additional questions during the initial consultation.

I’m looking to see how serious the person is about my coaching program.

I’m also looking for someone with a teachable spirit, an open-mind, respect for others, courtesy, and professionalism.

Someone who doesn’t possess these qualities is not a good fit for me or my company’s mission or programs.


You need to be selective too.

If you’re a job seeker with multiple job offers, be selective.

If you’re an entrepreneur with multiple potential clients, be selective (even when you feel like can’t afford to be!).

Here’s how.

Before walking into an interview or a meeting, take some time to do an inventory of:

  1. your skills and strengths,
  2. how you uniquely demonstrate those skills and strengths,
  3. the benefits of your skills and strengths,
  4. your needs and wants,
  5. your deal-breakers,
  6. and the questions to determine any potential deal-breakers or to determine if the other party can meet at least 60% of your needs and wants (because you’ll rarely find a case that meets 100% of them! — BE REALISTIC!).

Choose only those opportunities that are at least 60% compatible with your inventory.

Keep in mind also numbers 1–3 will give you leverage to ask for numbers 4–5.

Following this advice will help you develop good habits and preparedness for those times when you find yourself at a career crossroads.

career advice