Self-employment is on the rise as a result of reduced availability of stable, secure and permanent full-time jobs. More and more of us are finding relative solace in being masters of our own destiny, as self-employed professionals, rather than being at the apparent mercy of corporate whim. This is backed up by studies reported in NBC News and the BBC, which show sharp rises in self-employment levels in the U.S. and UK since 2008.
As a result of these changes, we can expect to see more and more recruiting professionals choosing to strike out of their own. To help this process, in the first part of this article, I outlined five crucial priming questions that recruiters should ask before deciding to start their own recruiting firm. Below I have set out the final five consolidation questions to ask to help you make that final decision as to whether it’s really worth giving it a shot:
1. Are you willing and able to wear multiple hats?
Working on your own means that you will need to be wearing multiple hats. While in your current day job you might have an accounts team to chase payments and manage contracts; a marketing team to devise your campaigns; even a new business team to aggressively win new business; an office manager to handle the admin; and a HR team/manager to handle employee issues. In the early days, before you grow a team (assuming you choose to expand), you will have to perform an extremely wide range of roles that will require you to exhibit a range of qualities. For example, the qualities required to manage finance and contracts are very different to those needed to go out and win business. You need to be sure that you can wear these multiple hats comfortably in order to successfully strike out on your own.
2. Have you assessed your strengths and weaknesses?
This is linked to the previous question. You really need to be brutally honest with yourself about your strengths and weaknesses. For example, are you better at chasing new business, but not so good at keeping current clients happy. Whatever you do, don’t ignore your weaknesses. You may need to budget in for some training to improve your skills; or budget in to outsource certain areas; or try and find a business partner to focus on the areas you are not so good at.
3. Who will your customers be and who could eat your lunch?
These $1 million dollar questions are, of course, not easy to answer. Develop your prospect list so you can see what the potential is, but also develop your competitor list to understand what you need to do to draw these clients away from your competitors. Ideally, you should have some strong, warm prospects, i.e. firms you have some prior affiliation with, such as friends or associates, who could easily become clients. However, if you really are starting from stone cold, you should consider having a separate form of income to supplement you.
4. Do you have a sympathetic support network?
Starting out on your own can be terrifying, stressful and, at times, lonely, but these hard times will be much more manageable if your family is supportive of your ambition. The situation will be compounded if your family is working against you. So try and inform your family of the benefits and risks and also of what you need from them, which might be nothing more than a little cheer leading. Adopting this approach means that your family can be on board and know what to do to help you. You could also consider an external business mentor.
5. What’s your exit strategy?
It will be foolhardy to enter an entrepreneurial venture without a plan B or at least a sensible exit strategy. You need to have a credible alternative option should your business venture not work out as planned. This means to make sure that you don’t burn bridges with former employers or colleagues during the course of your venture and to make sure that you nurture your network. You may want to keep hold of any part-time role you may have until you know the business is fully consolidated. An exit strategy will help to ease the fall should things not work out.
Good luck with your new recruiting venture!