Why? Because the very same skills you are developing and strengthening in college are the very same set of skills required of those that are successfully self-employed. So the next time someone tries to damper your ambition, hand them this article and keep on keepin’ on.
There are several crucial skills that any self-employed person must possess and chief among them is time management. In college you are juggling classes, homework, your social life, and a hundred other things. It’s easy to get off balance. But those that succeed in college know just how important maintaining that balance is when it comes to maintaining your grades and sanity.
The same applies to those that work for themselves. There are no parents or boss telling you what you have to do and the balance of work and life is completely in your hands. Distractions abound just as they did in college and it is your responsibility to know when to focus and when to take a break. This includes making time for self-care so that your mental, emotional, and physical needs are being met and balanced along with your time. So the four years you spent wildly trying to manage a jam packed calendar will make self-employment a breeze.
Nobody learns about self-motivation as fast as a freshman in college. Few things hurl you into the world of every man for himself like that first year away from home. You have to learn to get out of bed on time without your parents, to manage your time and actually study, and to eat something other than pizza before you end up in a state of unhealthy misery. For some this is a natural skill and for others it takes time and mistakes in order to master.
Either way, learning to self-motivate is a crucial skill for the self-employed. They have to chase down new opportunities, maintain current relationships, and get out of bed everyday and go to work even if that means walking across the hall to their spare bedroom turned office. And, just like in college, the person that suffers the most when the work doesn’t get done is you. After four years or more of motivating yourself to go to class, studying when you’d rather be sleeping or doing literally anything else, and simply getting out of bed in order to get to class on time- you are a self-motivating pro. You’ve got this.
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College is the place where innovation and creativity become second nature. From creating ways to study so that math formula finally sticks to writing research papers, there is almost no day in a student’s life that doesn’t utilize and strengthen the right side of the brain. This ability to think outside of the box will serve those desiring to be successfully self-employed well.
You will be able to think of business models that are original and capitalize on a need in the market. Business plans and presentations will be simple compared to some of those research papers you painstakingly wrote in college. This ability will lend itself to helping you find innovative ways to communicate with others and attract new clients. If creativity is the muscle of entrepreneurship, you have proven with a degree that you are capable of flexing it.
When you think of self-employment you don’t necessarily think of the need to be a good communicator. However, you will be communicating directly with potential and current clients throughout your career. College is the perfect testing ground for those skills as you navigate classes with different types of professors, roommates, and relationships with new people. In order to survive college you have to learn to respect people even if you don’t agree with them and you have to learn how to negotiate. The same is true of the self-employed.
Contracts won’t negotiate themselves and some clients will not be pleasant to work with. But you have lived with roommates and debated with professors. Your interpersonal skills are something that you have honed and sculpted over the years. So you can reach for those contracts with confidence and pick up the phone to call those clients with confidence. You are now a communicating machine.
It’s no small leap from college student to graduate. You have utilized your time, self-motivated and persevered, strengthened your creative thinking abilities, and learned more interpersonal skills. You have done all of this and more while earning your degree. Your dedication and hard work is to be admired. And while it’s no small leap to graduation, it’s a smaller leap from college graduate to successful self-employment.
So learn how to filter naysayers from those giving good advice and stand confident in all you have accomplished and learned. All of the skills you worked so hard to call your own will shine in your new endeavor. Now, grab that dream and leap.