I didn’t leave the safety of a regular paycheck with the intention of writing personal finance articles, but that’s largely where I ended up. I have a feeling that this probably happens with many entrepreneurs and small business owners. The dream is to do one thing, but business conditions, economic trends, and skills and abilities tend to push the self-employed person toward something else altogether.
In such a situation, if the person has the time and the funding to try a different route, it might work out, but if not, they could find themselves packing up shop and hitting the bricks. This is why it can be important to buy enough time with a business endeavor to find the small business or entrepreneurial niche that works best.
Building a timeline…then extending it
The initial timeline for my self-employment experiment was one year. That was six years ago. I gave myself one year to sell my first novel, but about six months into that timeline, I started selling articles online. This confused my business plan and muddied the waters on the decision as to whether to continue working on the big novel payday or start earning more consistent income through the sale of Internet articles. This meant that by the end of year one, I had accomplished neither my goal to become a published author nor gain a full-time income from Internet writing. I needed more time to find my niche, and luckily, due to the next item on this list, I was able to buy that time.
Forecasting and budgeting
Thankfully, my chosen area of self-employment didn’t require much in the way of startup costs. However, leaving the security of a regular paycheck for the unknown of freelance work certainly required some planning since income would suddenly be at a premium, yet expenses — especially expenses related to my cost-of-living — would remain.
While I initially planned for one year, I had to extend my timeline in this area. I was able to do so because I’d done the following:
- · Create a budget for both business and household expenses for an entire year
- · Track all expenses
- · Track income
- · Retain all pertinent receipts and tax documentation
- · Evaluate year-end totals to determine profit/loss and utilize this information to forecast for the upcoming year
Building flexibility into a plan
While as I said, my plan was to give myself one year to reach my goals, I created backup plans in the event that this did not occur. Once I began to realize that my books weren’t selling and I had to change gears to focus more upon articles, it took me time to make the transition. I had to learn about this style of writing, research online and print publications and writing sites, apply for particular online writing sites, send out pieces to print publications, and generally establish myself in the industry. This took time.
I was able to buy myself time to explore this aspect of the industry as well as various niches within it though because I had built in a financial reserve to my self-employment timeline. While I’d hoped to be successful in a year’s time, I’d actually created a plan that allowed for two or more years if necessary. Had I not, I would have been forced to go back to my regular job after that first year, and I would never have fulfilled my self-employment dreams.
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The author is not a licensed financial or career professional. The information provided in this article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute advice of any kind. Any action taken by the reader due to the information provided in this article is solely at the reader’s discretion.