The workplace is broken. It was once a guaranteed escape from poverty and a place where you could preserve and restore your self-respect, your senses of worth and of value. But with employee engagement levels at record lows and low-wage pay policies dominating the employment landscape, many traditional workplaces are becoming mere refuges from the economic cold, rather than places employees truly want to be.
If you are not already a high-flier or rapidly up-and-coming star, your options within the traditional employment scene may be uninspiring. This is one of the reasons that many workers are looking to a third way: starting their own businesses or going it alone as freelancers. Research from The Freelancers Union states that 33 percent of working Americans are already working independently and predicts that this figure could rise to 50 percent by 2020.
While freelancing is a viable alternative to the day-to-day grind and dead-end jobs, the manner and style of freelance work isn’t for everybody. That’s why it is vital that you ensure you are ready to leave your secure job for the relative independence of an entrepreneurial or freelance career before you do so. To help you do just that, here are four signs that you are ready to quit your day job and go it alone.
1. You Think You Can Do It Better Than Your Boss
Are you the kind of employee that looks at their manager’s efforts and thinks, “I could do better than this — much better”? Do you sit at the back of meetings, secretly/openly considering better alternatives to what is being proposed time and time again?
In the early days of your career, this kind of superior outlook could be considered a little arrogant, given your likely limited experience level. But if you are having these thoughts with 5-10 years of experience under your belt — or less if you are especially precocious –this could be a sign that you genuinely have the skills to do your manager’s job better than they can. It could be a sign that you are either ready to step into your manager’s role or ready to go it alone.
2. You Find Yourself Moaning About Many Aspects of the Business and the World
Simply being an out and out moaner does not mean you are ready to pack up your bags and set out on your own to be the next Steve Jobs. However, this raw discontent or disillusionment with the status quo is the starting point for many entrepreneurial journeys.
Frustration can be the mother of invention. An article from Fast Company lists several inventions and enterprises that were born of frustration. Xerox came from a lawyer who was frustrated with messy carbon copies; The Body Shop emerged from Anita Roddick’s frustration with the lack of ecological ethics and awareness around her; the list goes on.
So, if you are a moaner almost existentially discontented with their employer’s business and the world around you, you may be in a prime position to channel that frustration into invention.
3.You Are Really Passionate About an Idea
Thinking that your boss is unfit for purpose and being discontented with the world will not build you a Fortune 500 company. It may just land you into a bar, drinking beer and feeling sorry for yourself every night until 2:00 A.M.
No, in order to pull yourself out of the bar, deal with the many naysayers, and overcome the many setbacks and obstacles that may occur, you’ll need a heartfelt business goal. Research from Leadership IQ’s Mark Murphy shows that you’ll need to feel a burning desire to succeed if you are to turn your dreams into reality. If you don’t have this level of emotional attachment, you might not be ready to go it alone.
4. You Are Genuinely Competent
Contempt, frustration, and passion are the starting blocks, and they may even be enough to get you over the first few hurdles. However, you need competence in your area if you are to truly succeed.
Research shows that 46 percent of businesses fail due to incompetence in pricing, planning, finance, budgeting, etc.; another 30 percent fail due to lack of managerial experience; and a worrying 11 percent fail due to lack of experience in the specific product or service area.
If you feel that you can tick all these competency boxes in addition to having the anger, frustration, and passion, you are likely ready to go it alone and start your own business or move into freelancing.