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Another 24 myths that plague the self employed

March 26, 2015
Myths for the self employed Australian

Myths for the self employed AustralianThis one isn’t quite out of the system yet- oh no, we’ve got another 24 myths to tackle when it comes to being a self employed Australian. Missed the first lot? Dig into this little link to discover the 24 self employment myths people love to trot out. 

Which ones are keeping you awake at night? Check them out and see!

  1. You have to spend your nights networking. The jury is still out on the effectiveness of networking events. It works to an extent, but it only works if you enjoy networking. Also, networking events see most people in “sell mode”. What you want are people when they are interested in “buy mode”. Try and see, but don’t bet the farm on it.
  2. You need lots of money to start your own business. It depends on the sort of business you want to run. But most skill based freelancers start their adventure with a couple of grand in the bank and shuffle from there.
  3. You have to do everything all by yourself. Delegation is an art you need to learn to be successful. You can’t expect to do everything. You need to build a network where you can share the load.
  4. All your friends will want freebies. Yes and no. Some friends may not understand that this is your livelihood. Others will be supportive. One thing is certain, friends are a great source of referral and championship of your business endeavours. Helping them understand what you do will increase your word of mouth. Making friends with your fellow freelancers helps, too.
  5. Customers are always right. Customers are as irrational as they are right. It’s up to you to work out how to respond to the situations on a case by case basis.
  6. Self employment is really complicated. It looks difficult from the outside, but the trick is to keep an open mind and keep learning. Make sure you draw on places like the ATO to set yourself up properly and seek out opportunities to learn from others.
  7. It’s hard to get credit history and loans if you are self employed. Self employment is the biggest employer in Australia. Some banks have more respect for that than others. Shop around.
  8. You have to be super disciplined to succeed. No argument here. You will need to look after your customers, your marketing and yourself. If you have trouble staying on task, get a coach or join a group that helps you crack the whip.
  9. You can’t give freebies. Never completely discount the strategic value of a well placed favour. Every bit of free work you do should have a direct aim that will reflect on your goals and business. Forget the “you can get experience” people. They’re full of crap. What do YOU get out of doing something for free?
  10. You should let the customer dictate the pricing. Oh hell no! Own your prices and payment terms just as much as a restaurant or a clothes shop. If they have a limited budget, you can provide a level of service that matches the budget. But they don’t get to barter you down.
  11. You need to be strong to face off with competition. Being the big bully or the top dog as a self employed person is for people who have idiotic fantasies to satiate. You aren’t working in business to get glamour shots of you next to movie stars on magazine covers. Be competitive, enjoy the thrill of competing, but remember your competitors are your peers. And you do a lot better with friends among your peers than people snickering at your delusions behind your back.
  12. Unless you have a website and social media, forget it. Yes and no. You definitely need to get into the digital age and have websites and social media so that new customers can find you and old one’s can rediscover you. But some businesses do well using other means of communication. Mind you, they work just as hard at those connections as others work on their digital marketing. Bottom line- whatever means you use to keep in touch with your customers and to find them in the first instance needs continual work and attendance. It is easier to build a wider, far reaching presence if you have online assets, though.
  13. You can run your business off a social media platform. To a certain extent, yes, you can begin the testing for your business idea with social media. But you don’t own that platform and therefore could lose everything if they close or like Facebook, change the organic reach game to a paid model. Your aim should always be to establish a list of customers where you, not some third party platform, retain the ability to market to. Building an email list is a very bright idea.
  14. Email is so yesterday. Think about email in relation to Facebook. With Facebook, you can like several pages simply because you are waiting for a late bus and got curious. With email, you’ve made a choice to invite someone into your inbox. Which customer would you rather have? The bored bus person who may never interact with you again or the person who has given you personal contact details?
  15. Business plans are boring. In the hands of a boring person, maybe. But you need a business plan to succeed. Chart out your goals and critically look at your strengths and weaknesses. Know what your potential threats to success are. And create targets and milestones you can follow that can guide you to greater success. It doesn’t have to be a big, convoluted process, but it does need to be done.
  16. Marketing plan? What marketing plan? It doesn’t matter if that puppy is written on one page in bulletin points or you drag PowerPoint right back into 2015, you need to have a marketing plan.
  17. If I love my business idea, other people will, too. Passion helps you succeed, but clear communication is what will get people engaged. After all, someone can be passionate about their pet parakeet. Doesn’t mean you want to share that passion, does it?
  18. Self employment doesn’t lead to having a big business. Tell that to the two guys who started Amazon in a garage or Naomi Simpson who started Australia’s Red Balloon Days. Your business can be as scalable as you want it to be. It’s YOUR business after all.
  19. Only extroverts make it as a self employed person. The two biggest challenges you’ll face in self employment are finding the next sale and not spending too much time in your own head. Extroverts may be better on knocking on doors for those sales, but they struggle with being alone. Introverts handle their own company much better. So it balances out.
  20. Lots of self employed people fail. Lots of people fail at lots of things. The trick is not letting failure defeat you.
  21. No boss, so nobody breathing down your neck. It’s wonderful to think that all the problems disappear when you don’t have a boss. The reality is you’ll have clients, competitors, creditors, suppliers and a whole other bunch of things to contend with. Your biggest critic will also still be present (that’s you, kid).
  22. If you build it, they will come. You have to market what you do consistently to allow people to discover you are there- and to build rapport. Nobody turns up and offers money simply because an idea exists.
  23. Working for yourself isn’t about profit. They hell it isn’t! Profit pays for you to live and to ensure you aren’t on a pension in your old age. Profit is about business. If you are allergic to money, go work at a not-for-profit.
  24. The clients will pay…eventually. You do need to hassle and hustle for payment. Don’t be afraid to email and pick up the phone. Get your clients to a point where paying you is less painful than leaving the invoice unpaid. Forget the crap about the poor old agencies and their pay cycles. Hassle and hustle for what you are owed.

When you’re self employed Australian the myths may abound, but so does the joy. The trick is going into your small business, freelance or solopreneur adventure with your eyes wide open.

Want to know more? Join the 100 days of Freelance Trek. The next round for participation kicks off May 1st.

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