Self-Employment Do and Don’ts: Create the Right Balance

do and don'ts

When you are planning to start your new business and become self-employed, you need to know about the things you need to do. But that is not all. You also need to know about the things you need NOT do.

Properly Balancing Do and Don’ts

Customers – Too Few or Too Many?

It is true that the chances of failure of a new business increase when it cannot generate sales. However, it is also equally true that the chances of failure also increase when you target everyone as a potential customer.

Suppose you work as a self-employed Web designer. If you try to convince everyone you know to create a website, it would take up much more time than the core business task, the creation of website designs. Moreover, it would be a waste of effort when you try to convince someone who has no idea about how a website works. It is not necessary to give an affirmative response to a business proposal if it would only be a headache right from the start.

The right thing to do is do your research about your target customers and build a plan to attract the right ones. If you do not know your customers, you have a slim chance of success with your new venture.

Funds – Too Much or Too Little?

Do you need to invest in the latest software? Do you need to buy a high-end desk for your new home office? Do you need to get help from an accounts expert? Your business and your budget determine the right answer to these questions.

If you have a Web-based business, you may need to invest in the latest software. However, if it is too much for your budget and you can do without it for the present, you can get it after your business starts to generate cash flow.

High-end furniture is, in most cases, a splurge for a newly self-employed individual. It may impress the people who come to visit you, but in the long run, it is of no use for your core business. Opt for functional furniture instead.

It is always a good idea to outsource certain tasks to specialized service providers. This would save you time and effort. Do not outsource any tasks related to your core business area, as it may have a negative impression on customers.

Belief – Too Optimistic or Too Pessimistic?

It is a bad idea to lie to anyone, a business associate or a customer or anyone else, when you begin your new business. However, this does not mean that no one would lie to you. A common mistake that a new entrepreneur makes is to rely on contracts. They think that just because it is in a written format, it is inviolable. A contract is important; however, it is seldom the last word on how a business relationship will work.

You need to focus on the relationship behind the contract. If the relationship works out, chances are the deal will work out too. If the relationship heads into trouble, no contract may be able to save the deal.

Every self-employed individual needs to understand that lies do not make the task easy. Do not display the show of a big company, with a number of employees, when you are actually on your own because it can backfire.

Attitude – Too Formal or Too Casual?

Too formal and you can be dubbed a fake; too casual and no one may ever take you seriously. The right thing to do is have a balanced attitude. Most importantly, do not lose your individuality just because you are now the self-employed owner of a business.

People lose patience with long, monotonous business proposals. Large corporations and their head honchos may take the formal approach because it suits them. A new-age, self-employed entrepreneur needs no such pretensions.

If you think that this means you can have a client meeting in your pajamas, you are obviously a little too casual. It is still a good idea to be a bit formal, at least in your attire, for client meetings, especially if they are with the large corporations.

Do not let the common perceptions dictate your attitude or your attire when you start your new business. You need not behave in a particular manner just because others do. Focus on your instincts. They will guide you in the right direction.

Purpose – Too Value-focused or Too Profit-based?

What is the goal of your business? This is the first question you need to answer before you give up your job and become self-employed. It is important to learn how to create the right balance between value creation and profit making.

If your business does not create value, for yourself and for your customers, it has no chance of success in the long run. You need to zero in on how your product or service can add to the value of yourself and your customers.

For example, your Web design business will create value for Web-based businesses to attract more customers and generate more profits for them. However, that is not all. You need to ensure profits for your business too. You may not be able to make profits immediately with a new business. However, you may be able to create value with it. Your next step would be to take apart the business concept and enhance it in ways that may contribute to profits.

It takes time, but with the right balance of key elements – you will succeed.


Richard White Richard White works as an editor at Yellow Brick Path. He enjoys varying his work and researching new and different approaches. He shares an interest in career counseling and recruitment.

8 Reactions
  1. The biggest challenge for me has been having the right amount of self-motivation. You have to manage yourself with deadlines to stay on target, even when there isn’t a “boss” to keep you on task and focused.

    • Yep Robert, it’s not always easy being your own ‘boss’! Thanks for your insight. It is sure going to help other beginners.

  2. Thanks, Richard,

    I’d like to gently suggest an addition to your paragraph on “Funds – Too Much or Too Little?”

    For those of you that are considering your self-employment options, stash some extra money for marketing.

    You don’t want to be cheap there.

    The Franchise King®

  3. Well, Joel, nothing’s better than stashing as much money as possible when you are starting a new venture! And the amount an entrepreneur uses on marketing is always money well spent. Thanks for that great addition.