Universities don’t usually provide much guidance on becoming self-employed. Let’s face it – they mostly train students for life in organized structures. Yet being self-employed is becoming more common with each passing year. And there are certain undeniable benefits to being self-employed, enough that you might consider it as a career path after graduation.
Jobs aren’t as secure as they used to be
In many industries and career fields job security is quickly fading. Employers are making greater use of contract, temporary, part-time and even overseas workers. This is gradually wearing away at both the number and quality of jobs available.
Having your own business – even if it’s only a side venture – can be one of the very best alternatives in the event of a future job loss or career crisis.
Greater control over your futureWhen you work for someone else, the course of your future will largely be determined by others. No matter what you think may be the best use of your talents and skills, your superiors may not agree and your career can take some unexpected turns.
When you have your own business, you have far greater control over your future. Not only can you choose your own course, but you will be in complete charge of how you go about it. You can take your business as far as our talent and determination will allow.
Greater control over your lifestyle
In addition to having greater control over your future, by being self-employed you will also have far greater control over your lifestyle. For example, you may not be a “9 to 5” type; if you work in an organization, this can be a serious problem. But if you work for yourself, you can set any schedule that works for you.
Work location is another potential issue. When you work for a company, you must live in a location where your employer has a facility – if that location has a position that matches your skills. If you are self-employed, you have far greater control over where you live, especially if your business is “portable”. You can choose to live at the beach, at a ski resort or even in a foreign country.
The internet has changed everything
The internet has opened up incredible opportunities for the would-be entrepreneur. You can enter businesses that you’ve never even dreamed of, and do it more easily than would have been the case a few years ago. It has been said – and it’s true – that the internet is a business equalizer. It can make little businesses look like big businesses.
The internet is also the very place where you can develop that portable business that will allow you to live anywhere you want, or even change the location at a later date as you see fit. For example, you can have a business as a web designer, blogger, internet marketer, or even sell tangible products through the web, tapping into global markets as you do.
Get prepared while you’re still in school
If you see a future in self-employment you might want to get it going now. The sooner you do, the greater the chance of success you will enjoy when you jump into your business on a full-time basis. Here are some steps you can take now even though you are still a student.
Adjust your curriculum. Universities typically don’t offer majors in self-employment, so you will have to adjust your course curriculum as you see fit. Courses in marketing are a good fit since it will be highly relevant to any business you will go into. You should also take courses in what ever specialty you plan your business to revolve around. For example, if you want to have a business in computer graphics, you’ll want to take as many related courses as you can.
Get connected with entrepreneurs. You’re probably already familiar with social networking, and at least vaguely aware of the uses of networking in finding employment. But now is the time to begin connecting with entrepreneurs in your business of choice. Linked In can be a rich source of contacts, but Twitter is worth considering since it can be easy to connect with business people simply by responding to their tweets.
Consider business options. You should have some idea as to what business you plan to go into well ahead of your launch date, if only so that you can do as much preliminary work as you can beforehand.
Start your business now if you can. It may be difficult to devote time to a new business start-up when you’re still deeply involved in your studies, but anything you can do now to get a business moving forward will make it that much easier when you graduate. Businesses have ramp up periods that can take anywhere from a few months to a couple of years. Lay the ground work now so that it will be that much easier when you commit to it full time.
Have you considered being self-employed after you graduate?
(photo by Michal Marcol at Free Digital Photos)