Over the past few weeks, I met with a number of unemployed and unplanned new consultants / freelancers. Many of these people were simply looking for a new job but they almost all came armed with business cards for their new "consulting practice," and of course their resume. After thinking about several of these meetings it made me wonder about these people and others like them, "are you a former employee who wants to be one again or are you an entrepreneur trying to make your newest venture work." The cold hard truth is you can't be both. A man cannot serve to masters, he will love one and hate the other, the question for former employees entering 2010 is are you looking to be an employee again or are you looking to become an entrepreneur?
Some entrepreneurs have made it work once they were forced out of a job. One person that has made the transition to employee to business owner is Jason Alba from Jibber Jobber
. Jason was a programmer that was laid off a couple of years ago and has taken his skills in web development and programming to a whole new level by creating a product that job seekers and now companies want. In the mean time he has also created quite a lucrative business in blogging, writing, speaking, and consulting. Did he plan it this way? No, not exactly but amazingly he has ended up better off after his lay off than when he was "gainfully employed." (Whatever that means) You can read a little bit more about Jason's story here
If you are entering 2010 thinking you were quite comfortable being a gainfully employed and are now forced to enter the world of freelancing or consulting you might want to considered two questions about your new business:
1. Are you looking to be a long term consultant or are you only doing this to make some money so you can keep your family afloat during this turbulent time?
2. Is this a lifestyle business or a real business that you intend to grow and build over time.
Either way is fine but it will affect the way you operate your business.
Maybe you don't have the answers to those questions right now, but you will in due time. If I were in your shoes I would be doing the same thing, trying to use my skills in new ways even if I didn't plan to do it quite so quickly, or even if it was forced by a layoff or downsizing.
With unemployment still hovering at 10% we are bound to continually see people who were once gainfully employed and now find themselves in the somewhat challenging and often unexpected world of freelancing.