The self-employment mindset: Component #1 – Persistence

When facing a challenge, do you persist? Persistence is a major component of the self-employment mindset. Do you have it?

By Jeanne Yocum

As I’ve been doing radio interviews and podcasts to promote my new book, The Self-Employment Survival Guide: Proven Strategies to Succeed as Your Own Boss, one question that frequently comes up is what characteristics it takes to succeed at self-employment. Based on these queries, I am starting a series of posts about the self-employment mindset. Today’s post talks about persistence, which I think is a key factor in whether or not you’ll succeed as your own boss.

Are you someone who is dogged about pursuing an objective? Or are you someone who is easily discouraged? When you’re self-employed, you hear the words “Thanks, but we’re not interested” quite often. You must be willing and capable of dealing with such rejections. In other words, you must be persistent in working towards making your business a success even in the face of frequent rebuffs.

Especially when you’re just starting out as your own boss, you may meet with more discouragement than encouragement. People, even well-meaning friends or relatives, may question why you’re risking everything by leaving your previous job and going out on your own into an unknown future. New people who you’re trying to meet in order to tell them about your new business may turn a deaf ear. You can’t let any of this get you down; you must persist.

[amazon_link asins=’1538108712′ template=’ProductAd’ store=’succeedingin-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’b1325bc1-59da-11e8-a9e1-67d001a3740c’]Getting paid

Persistence is important not just when you’re seeking new business, but at other times, too. Let’s say you have done a job for someone and their bill is overdue. You have to persist in reminding them that they owe you money. As I write in the chapter of my book that’s about dealing with slow payers, the squeaky wheel does actually get paid. And if you are someone who will shy away from asking what you’ve earned, self-employment can be a mighty hard road and potentially not very profitable.

This advice also applies when it comes to setting your rates or prices. Some people will try to talk you down. They will plead poverty or tell you they can get your services or products cheaper elsewhere. If you know you’ve set your rates based on a good understanding of the going market and your level of expertise, don’t let the bottom feeders talk you out of it. Come prepared with solid arguments about why your fees are justifiable.

Will everyone accept your reasons for charging what you charge? No, of course not. But do you really want to work for clients who don’t know or understand the value you bring to the table or who are just trying to get the cheapest price possible for everything? Probably not. I have found that there is almost invariably a connection between people who want to talk me down in my pricing and people who end up being bad clients in other ways, like always having emergency projects, being slow payers, and other things that will make my life difficult.

Persist in learning new skills

Persistence is also needed when it comes to mastering any new skills you might need to acquire to make your new venture a success. Very few of us know everything we need to know when we first become self-employed. You may not have had to keep your own books before. You may not have tried to build an audience on social media. You may not be great at the meeting and greeting that successful networking requires. But you must persist in gaining these and all the other skills you’ll suddenly find you need.

Sure, you can outsource some of this work, like the bookkeeping, but funds will probably be short for doing so at least at the beginning. So you’ll need to gain some basic knowledge. Fortunately, plenty of resources exist for such learning, like the small business development centers that many community colleges have. They offer inexpensive, quick courses in just about everything you’ll need to learn.

If you’re considering self-employment, I urge you to be realistic when judging how persistent you are and how you generally have coped with rejection in the past. Certainly, as your business grows and you gain more experience and credibility, you’ll meet with less rejection. But do you truly have the persistence required to get you to that point? And when roadblocks arise, like the unexpected defection of a major client, how are you likely to react? Will you throw up your hands in frustration or will you dig in and redouble your efforts to succeed? Only you can answer these questions, but answer them you must before you put it all on the line by trying self-employment.

Leave a Reply

The Self-Employment Survival Guide can help you succeed. Learn all about it here.

Self-Employment Survival Guide book cover