When you’re in business for yourself you have to change your mindset quite radically. You’re now responsible for your own future and you’re even more responsible when it comes to safeguarding the future of your family. When you work for somebody else a lot of the pressure associated with paying the bills is alleviated. Of course, these days there’s no guarantee that the company you may work for will continue in business, or even continue to employ you. But, generally speaking, you will have that regular salary or wage coming in.
This is very different when you are self employed. You may appreciate the freedom of being your own boss and to a certain extent setting your operating hours and work load. Yet many, especially new, entrepreneurs fall into the trap of settling, instead of pushing ahead at full steam. In other words they settle for what they feel to be a reasonable amount of business income. A lot of this approach can be put down to subconscious conditioning. This is what you need to guard against.
If you have worked as an employee for another organisation for a significant period of time you used to to receiving a set amount of remuneration in exchange and this becomes your subconscious “value.” You’re used to earning a finite amount of income and somewhere along the line you set this as a norm, internally. Yet surely when you become self-employed the objective should be to considerably better your prospects and your income. This is why it’s very important to focus on setting your goals a lot higher and consistently tell yourself that that’s what you need to achieve.
The mind can be very powerful and your subconscious mind, unless you train it, will set its own limiting glass ceiling.
A good rule of thumb is to set a target that is 50% higher than the amount you earned during the last financial year. This should be your goal for income in your first full year of self-employment. It’s best not to go overboard and try to convince yourself that you’re going to triple your income in one year. That doesn’t mean you can’t do it, but you don’t want to set a target that’s so high that you once again subconsciously convince yourself that it’s impossible.
Divide your new annual target by the number of weeks in the year, the number of working days and the number of hours per day that you can realistically attribute to your business work. This is going to vary from person to person according to your other commitments, family issues and so on. Remember that it’s unusual for a typical solo entrepreneur to be able to allocate a solid eight hours of billable time in a given day.
The goal is to calculate what’s realistic in terms of the number of hours that you can bill to clients. Using your annual income goal you can then determine how much you need to bill in order to achieve and then break that new goal.
Once you have a goal you need to measure your performance against it. Get into the habit of checking your performance once a quarter. A goal should be something that you adjust as your business changes over time – but make sure you continue to push yourself to achieve.