3 challenges of self-employment


If you are facing redundancy or a career transition, your initial reaction may be to brush up your CV and start seeking out job opportunities relevant to your experience – but employment isn’t the only option. One of the alternatives that people consider when going through career transition is working for themselves.

The number of self-employed workers is growing rapidly and it’s now estimated that 4.8 million people in the UK are self-employed. This means the number of self-employed workers now accounts for around 15% of the working population. This increase owes itself to several factors such as flexibility and control, an autonomous and better work life balance and economical factors such as the rise of the gig economy/portfolio careers.

Nevertheless, according to a study from the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) “One-fifth of sole traders in self-employment don’t survive one year, and the majority don’t survive five”. Key reasons behind this statistic include businesses with insufficient market research, lack of direction, inadequate business planning and weak or non-existent marketing strategies.

There are a lot of challenges associated with setting up and running your own business. Right from the onset from establishing a brand and marketing your offering, to winning work and sustaining a profitable business. Whether you are looking at becoming a consultant or setting up a business, here are three key challenges with suggestions on how to navigate them and improve your chances of  success.

Lack of strategic vision and business planning

A well written plan is a crucial step in establishing your own business. It articulates your objectives, strategies, sales, marketing and financial forecasts. A business plan will clarify your business idea, spot potential problems, map out your goals and measure your progress. It should include details of how you are going to develop your business, when you are going to do it and who is involved. A strong plan will help you measure the success of your business and can help to secure external funding.

Poor brand and social media presence

 Social media can be a great way for small business owners to connect with prospects and customers. Marketing doesn’t have to be expensive these days. Social media accounts don’t cost money to maintain, but they do cost time. Does your business plan account for time spent on marketing? Consider which social networks will be the most effective at spreading the word about your business. Are you confident in posting and sharing content on these networks? Do you know what types of content work, and what doesn’t? Research similar businesses and see how they engage across the different social media platforms.

Pricing and Cost Issues

Setting your charge rate is one of the most important decisions that you will make for your business. It’s vital you know your worth so take the time to estimate your value. Familiarise yourself with market conditions and research market value. Talk to contractors in your areas of expertise to get an idea of what the current market rate is for your services. In order to be successful, you need market your quality, service and long term value for money, not undercut your competitor’s prices. If you set your price too low, it may prevent you from winning quality conscious clients and you may end up with an unprofitable business.

Renovo is the UK’s leading outplacement and career transition specialist. We work with both organisations and individuals to support all their career transition requirements. If you would like to understand how Renovo can help you, please call 0800 612 2011 or email info@renovo.co.uk

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