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Where do you start when you want to take the plunge from employee to self-employed?

dog glassesSo you’ve decided you want to take the plunge from employee to self-employed. But where do you start?

This is a question that comes up fairly regularly so I thought I’d share the steps I took, which  might be useful to you.

When you’re totally responsible for bringing home the bacon – it takes lashings of self belief and trust in your own capabilities to successfully take the plunge.

Even as an associate or freelancer working with a consultancy, where the marketing is done for you, and there’s a flow of work, it’s not necessarily frequent, regular, or well paid work.

10 years ago, when I made the move to start my teambuilding, coaching, amd training business, I remember feeling terrified and excited at the same time. I felt like I was standing on the edge of a diving board, wondering if I should jump and whether I would sink or swim! A few coaching sessions later, I handed in my notice, waved bye bye to my 17 year NHS career and made the leap. I spent the next two weeks frantically trying to find work!!

Unless you’re a crazy risk taker, you don’t have to go for a ‘big leap’, or ‘take the plunge’. When you’re moving from being employed to self- employed, you can make the transition gradually, one step at time.

A good friend of mine, Caroline Talbott, seasoned coach and author, told me that she started the transition 10 years before she made the move . She used the time paving the way for success by talking to other people who worked for themselves, and meeting people who might potentially give her work further down the line. She’s shares this in her book (in which my story is also featured 😉 ) called Essential Career Transition Coaching Skills

These are the steps I took:

  1. Become self-employed – In April 2007 I left full time employment- with no business skills, no tech skills, or any other useful stuff you might need to run a business!
  2. Set up the business: The most common choices here are to set yourself up as a Limited Company or Sole Trader. You can do this online at HMRC. It’s also a good idea to find a good accountant…ask around for recommendations from other business people. Working as a coach you will also need professional indemnity and public liability insurance. It’s worth shopping around for this as rates and cover vary. This year I’ve found a good rate and cover with Oxygen Insurance .
  3. Find work. Use your network. Tell everyone about your new venture. Make some phone calls to key people. Use your skills and knowledge. I spent the first 2 weeks of self-employment scanning the Health Service Journal for jobs! I had left full time work before I was fully qualified to coach and didn’t have a clue what I was going to do to pay the mortgage (crazy risk taker!). I figured that if push came to shove I could start a ‘Dog Related Business’ or something similar to keep the wolf from the door. (I’ve been asked to train other people’s dogs for income, and I used to take a class at a local dog club, but I prefer to just train my own dogs. This may sound like a frivolous waste of time but I have a really good reason for it other than just wanting to. More on that later! ) Fortunately I managed to secure a role as a Management Consultant in a hospital where I had worked before and where people knew me from my 17 year’s NHS background. I was contracted to work 4 days a week, as an interim manager, a similar role to my old job, but from a self-employed perspective. I gradually reduced my hours as my coaching work grew.
  4. Coach Training: I did my coach training alongside my consultancy work, and I contracted and coached my practise clients as if they were paying clients. Act As If!
  5. First Corporate Coaching Contract. Keep links with former colleagues and employers. My first paid coaching contract was with the NHS – coaching doctors at the end of their training to help them prepare for leadership roles. This came about from a couple of phone calls with key people from my previous life.
  6. Lift off. Within 18 months I had stopped the management consultancy work and continued working with the NHS, coaching doctors and facilitating leadership development programmes as an associate member of faculty for The Wessex Deanery. I was also running my private coaching practice, and designing and delivering Coaching and Leadership Programmes for my other organisational clients.

So that’s how I did it. I’ve spent the last ten years exploring and sharing Executive Coaching, NLP, Clean Language, Leadership, coaching successful professionals to achieve their potential, and training other Coaches to do the same. I’ve had the privilege and joy of impacting thousands of people over the years.

I don’t beleive there is a single ‘right’ way to make the shift, but whatever steps you choose to take, flexibility, expeimenting, reflecting, adaptability, keeping links with former colleagues and employers were my keys to success.

And you’re not done yet. There’s other stuff to do, but I think this post is long enough. .

What’s your story? 

I’d love to hear from you in the comments section below.

 

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What Can We Learn From Inspector Morse About Mid-Life Career Change?

Inspector MorseGuest blogger, Mike Rawlins, writer, musician, business coach wrote this interesting piece on what we can learn about career change from Inspector Morse

As always with any coaching scenario the most important step is to work out what the goal is – and to feel able to take the time to do so. What is it then about the ‘over forty’ bit that is relevant and that will help us to work out what we are aspiring towards?

This may seem like an odd diversion but trust me. As an afficionado of the type of programme that now seems to make up most of the scheduling for ITV3 – Morse, Lewis, Midsummer Murders, etc. – I know that in any detection process the two key factors are opportunity and motive.

Now, I am no Morse, but I understand that being (well) over forty was a big factor in both those aspects of my own crime against my previous career. And in both cases there is an obvious and a more subtle aspect.

Motive – the obvious one for me was that I had been with the same company for 30 years and, while moderately successful, I knew I had gone as far as I was going to go both in terms of my capabilities and also, legislation not withstanding, age profile. So I could sit out the next 10-15 years and sulk or go and do something different. But it turned out there was a further angle, and one that I could not have become aware of without taking the plunge.

Through all the self reflection that developing as a coach requires I have become aware that there were other things working within me that would drive – which continue to drive – my life and career and it is the maturity and capacity to reflect that seems to come with being of a certain age that helped kick start that process – the urgency created by a sense of time passing that was able to unlock doors long closed.

Opportunity – there is a practical side to this. My age and years of service meant that I was able to take advantage of yet another reorganisation to leave with a bit of capital behind me and I would be the first to admit that I would be a good deal less gung ho about my career change without that security. But again, age, experience, whatever, these factors conspired to create a foundation on which I could start to build something new. 30 year old Mike would have done something very different – and much less exciting – with a pot of money and some spare time.

So – my advice is to recognise the extraordinary capacity for change that comes with the energy and experience we all retain after 40 – to work out what drives you (and to recognise that takes time and you may have to start the process before it really kicks in) and go for that career over forty – whatever it is.”

Thank you for sharing Mike!

Angela x

 

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9 Tell Tale Signs That You’re Ready For A Career Change

Career Change – 9 telltale signs that you’re ready

Apart from dogs, one of my lifetime passions is personal development. So much so that I walked away from the security and comfort of full time employment and immersed myself in a programme of personal development. Then I started my own business using the personal development tools and techniques I had learnt along the way.

It took years for me to realise that I needed to radically change my lifestyle and  career, even though all the signs were there.

Here’s my list of telltale signs that it was time to get off my midlife butt and move:

1.  Even though I’d worked hard to get to where I was, and had made a long term investment in my career, my job no longer fulfilled me. I’d hopped from role to role in the name of career ‘development’.

2. I had secretly started planning my exit strategy.

3. My ears would prick up listening to people tell their story of how they had ditched their job to follow their passion and start their own business.

4. I yearned for change, but felt stuck and didn’t know what I wanted. I’d heard of thing called Coaching but didn’t have a clue how to get into it.

5. I didn’t just hate Monday mornings, I really hated Monday mornings. I felt like a caged bird with it’s wings clipped.

6. I was an expert job hunter and continuously searching the usual job adverts but nothing appealed.

7. I took a good long look at my career and realised that what I enjoyed most about my work was helping people to grow, learn, and unleash their potential. But I didn’t feel that I was achieving my own potential.

8. One day I got a postcard from a former member of my team,  living on the other side of the world, thanking me for encouraging her to make the move and follow her dream! And I hadn’t shifted.

9. One day, I sat in my living room, watching crap on TV, nursing a bottle of wine, and realised there had to be more life! That was the moment things changed.

Do any of these resonate with you?

How did you know when you were ready to get your shift together?