5 Self-Employment Pitfalls (and How to Overcome Them)

Here are common self-employment pitfalls — and how to overcome them.

Self-employment is filled with ups and downs. Whereas self-employment successes like securing your first client or receiving your first payment feel amazing, self-employment failures can be devastating.

Ultimately, worst-case-scenario planning is a must for self-employables. Because if you plan ahead for the worst-case scenarios, you can identify and eliminate self-employment pitfalls before they slow you down.

Now, let’s look at five common self-employment pitfalls, as well as ways to address these issues.

1. Unrealistic Expectations

Let’s face it — you probably expect a lot of yourself. Yet setting the bar too high from the get-go can be problematic, particularly when it comes to self-employment.

If you shoot for the moon, it likely will take some time before you land among the stars. The goal of self-employment is sustained, long-lasting success. Granted, there are lots of short-term gains you’ll make as you succeed in self-employment, but you should prepare for everyday obstacles as well.

My recommendation: set small goals and build from there. For example, instead of setting a goal of getting one new client, start with a goal of identifying a prospect. After you achieve a goal, establish a new one. You then will discover that the more goals you accomplish, the more rewarding self-employment becomes.

2. Lack of Time and Resources

Time and resources are limited — regardless of who you are. If you want to succeed in self-employment, you must make the most of your time and resources.

My recommendation: think about what you want to accomplish in a given day. Next, map out the steps you’ll need to take to make your goals come true and evaluate the time and resources you have to help you achieve your desired results. Additionally, time and resource management apps are available. These apps are generally easy to use, won’t break your budget and, most important, can help you optimize your time and resources.

3. Negative Thinking

Negative thinking often starts without notice and cascades quickly. If you’re not careful, negative thinking can make it tough to work. And in this scenario, you may start to question why you decided to become a self-employable in the first place.

If you’re struggling with negative thinking, you’re not alone. I doubt myself at times; I frequently question myself, my work and my life. But through it all, I try to stay focused on the positives. Because, without the positives, what’s the point?

My recommendation: if negative thoughts become overwhelming, take a break. Mindfulness is crucial, and if negative thoughts prevent you from focusing on the present, it may be time for a break so you can work through your negative thoughts. Forbes Coaches Council offers tips to help you work through any negative thoughts. And remember, once you put your negative thoughts behind you, you can return to work with a fresh, positive outlook.

4. A Not-So-Good Client Experience

not-so-good client experience can dampen your spirit and raise questions about your ability to handle client requests. At the same time, a not-so-good client experience may make you question whether now’s a good time to pursue the comfort and security that typically goes along with a “real” full-time job.

Not-so-good client experiences are not the end of the world. In fact, they provide valuable learning experiences and should be viewed as such.

My recommendation: if you face a not-so-good client experience, learn from it. Think about what worked and what did not work during the experience, and if possible, ask the client for feedback. That way, you can prevent a not-so-good client experience from becoming a regular occurrence.

5. Inadequate Self-Care

Self-employment is an opportunity or a challenge — the choice is yours. If you do not take care of yourself during self-employment, you cannot work to the best of your ability. Plus, you put your relationships with family members, friends and other loved ones in jeopardy.

My recommendation: make self-care a priority and incorporate it into your everyday schedule. If you enjoy jogging, for example, make it a part of your daily routine. Or, if you like reading, set aside time to read at some point every day. Because if you take care of yourself, you’ll be happy. As a result, you’ll put yourself in position to succeed in self-employment.

There is a solution to every problem. So, if you encounter a self-employment pitfall, there is always a way to overcome it. When you find the solution, you can prevent a self-employment pitfall from slowing you down.

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