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10 Benefits Of Being Self-employed

10 Benefits Of Being Self-employed

Leaving behind the comfort and familiarity of a regular job and a reliable paycheck is a daunting prospect for many budding entrepreneurs. Indeed, the fear of becoming self-employed often scuppers many great, profitable ideas. Yes, there is no denying that being self-employed has its challenges and that not everyone has what it takes to grow a successful business. But if you feel that you have a great idea, are persistent, determined and resourceful, then being self-employed offers a potential lifestyle you’ll never realize as an employee. What follows is a list of 10 of the biggest benefits of stepping out of your comfort zone and becoming self-employed.

1. You control your life

Many entrepreneurs are the type of people that like to take control and make decisions. As a self-employed business owner you have the freedom to make decisions that shape the present and future for yourself and your family. Your destiny is in your own hands. As an employee, however, your financial status is intrinsically linked to the success of your employer.

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2. You get to choose your hours

Being self-employed means you get to choose when you work. Rather than being contracted to set hours, you can start as early or late as you want. Although this inevitably provides a much desired level of flexibility, the self-employed entrepreneur must be disciplined in order to run a successful enterprise. Balancing work and family life can be difficult, but running your own business affords you the ability to take time-out when needed. As long as you’re realistic and don’t award yourself too many vacations, a well-run business provides many lifestyle benefits you simply don’t get as an employee.

3. You get to work with people you like

When you’re an employee, you work with people you like and others you very much dislike throughout your career. As an employee, you don’t get to choose whom you work with. If you don’t like your co-workers, tough. But that’s not the case when you own your own business. You get to make the decisions about who to hire and fire, and you can build a team aligned to your personality and goals.

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4. You get the rewards

Sure, as an employee you’ll get paid overtime for putting in the extra hours. But you’ll rarely get a share of the profits generated from that work. Whereas when you’re self-employed, you get to see the financial results of your hard work. Yes, starting a business is never without risk, But if you get it right, the rewards far outweigh that risk.

5. You can follow your passion

If it’s just about the money, forget it. The most successful business owners are rarely purely motivated by money. Invariably, they love their product or service or just love building a business. They want to make things better, cheaper or easier. Being self-employed helps you escape the trap of working in a job you hate and allows you to turn your passions into a business.

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6. You get to live a varied life

Honestly, I don’t think I could ever go back to punching the clock for an employer. Arriving and leaving at the same time each day. Knowing exactly what each day will hold. Is that in any way exciting or inspiring? Being self-employed is often like being on a roller coaster. No day is ever the same. You’ll get used to dealing with orders, accounts, sales, complaints, celebrations and bereavements all in the course of your working days. It’s rarely dull…

7. You create

Being creative is uniquely satisfying. The very best entrepreneurs are often creative people with a desire to solve problems and make life better. In fact, the actual process of building a business is creative in and of itself. When you own your own business, you get to shape the dreams of yourself and others. You’re always building.

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8. You get to help people

Being able to help people is one of the main benefits of being self-employed and running a business. Even a very small local business helps people by creating jobs and supporting a community. Maybe you’d love to create a program that improves education among children? Or create a service that improves the lives of local families? Owning your own business can help you achieve these goals.

9. You can make a stand

Being self-employed means you can stand up for what you believe in. Not only do you get to build a business that provides a product or service that benefits others – you are also able to create a vision, goals and an ethos that inspires those that you employ and serve. You can truly change people’s lives.

10. You are rewarded with self-fulfillment

What if you never took that step? What if you let a fear of failure condemn you to a life of mediocrity? If you find yourself dreaming of running your own business and of making a difference, you must not let anything stand in your way. The lessons you learn and the pure sense of self-fulfillment trump any fleeting fears or failures. It’s a journey truly worth taking.

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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Published on September 18, 2018

17 Proven Tactics for Motivating Employees and Building a Stronger Team

17 Proven Tactics for Motivating Employees and Building a Stronger Team

Have there been instances when you noted a drop in your team’s productivity or observed a behavioral change in someone who used to be an excellent performer?

Before you blame the team for not being motivated enough or worse still, choose to ignore these warning signs, look inwards and ask yourself if YOU are doing enough to keep your team motivated in the first place.

Motivating employees is extremely crucial. As the leader of the pack, it is your responsibility to ensure each and every member of your team feels valued, driven and motivated.

After all, you cannot expect a bunch of disengaged and demotivated people to deliver results and grow your business, can you?

Here are 17 surefire tactics for motivating your employees and building a productive team:

1. Show your appreciation

In the whole race to achieve external business goals, leaders often forget to value their most important assets — their employees.

The least you can do to boost performance and morale is to appreciate your employees, recognize their efforts and give them credit when it is due.

Whether it’s sending a personalized note, recognizing achievements publicly during team huddles or even rewarding top performers at the end of every month, you will be surprised to see how these small acts of appreciation can go a long way.

2. Communicate effectively

Effective communication can do wonders in motivating employees. Who is a strong communicator? Someone who knows what they are talking about and are able to convey their message accurately.

Communication is a lot more than just language and talking. Factors such as eye contact, active listening, hand gestures and postures also say a lot about a person’s communication skills.

3. Be open to dialogue

Gone are the days when leading through fear and putting on the tough, distant leader act would work.

New age leadership is all about instilling trust by being accessible and encouraging discussions. Your team needs to feel comfortable speaking to you and you need to set the tone for such a camaraderie.

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In spite of having a busy schedule, you can still show you care through simple, effective acts.

For instance, having an open door policy, showing genuine interest while interacting with your employees or even greeting your team members helps breaking barriers and projects you as an accessible leader.

4. Provide constructive criticism

Giving negative feedback is always tricky — you don’t want to hurt feelings nor do you want the feedback to be taken lightly.

So, what do you do? The idea is to offer criticism such that it inspires change and delivers results.

Firstly, take criticism behind closed doors because nothing breaks self esteem the way calling out employees in public does.

Have a one-on-one discussion with the concerned person and make your feedback very specific. Be clear about your expectations and offer guidance on how they can improve.

Most importantly, give them the chance to explain their side of the story too instead of jumping to conclusions.

5. Conduct one-on-ones

Yes, you conduct weekly meetings with the team but how well do you know them on a personal level?

While you may think this isn’t an important practice to follow, it is one of the best ways to engage with your employees and identify what drives them.

Conduct a one-one-one session every month and use it to understand how your employees are doing and if they are facing any roadblocks.

More than reviewing performances, consider this as a relationship building tool to ensure you are aligned with your team and are working towards a shared, common goal.

6. Build training programs

In this ever-changing business landscape, it is important to ensure your employees are updated with the latest, relevant skills that can help boost productivity and performance.

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From imparting technical and soft skills to offering mentoring programs – investing in training and development significantly helps in motivating employees and keeps the learning going.

While conducting training programs, remember to keep them engaging and interactive. They need to ultimately drive value and reinforce learnings.

7. Offer growth opportunities

Every employee envisions a different career path for themselves and demotivation strikes the day they feel they have reached stagnation. As a leader, you need to first be aligned with their goals and offer ample growth opportunities that constantly keeps them engaged and motivated.

Growth opportunities go beyond just financial growth. While money is a huge driving factor, what makes most people tick is making progress in the company and going up the career ladder.

Being faced with new challenges and responsibilities lets them push the envelope and broaden their knowledge and skills.

8. Reward them

Go beyond verbal recognition and reward employees for their notable work. You can start an incentive program and reward top performers. This ensures increased productivity and brings out the best in them.

If you don’t have enough budgets for that, you can also reward top performers with movie tickets, a paid vacation or something as simple as giving them the option to work from home.

Rewarding employees promotes healthy competition and motivates them while meeting business goals.

9. Encourage team outings

Employee motivation also stems from how connected the team is. Invest time in team building because a team that works collaboratively is likely to deliver better results.

From bowling nights to hosting team dinners – team outings are a great way to get to know each other and bond. Assign someone from your team to be in charge of organizing these monthly outings and make sure you join them too!

10. Involve them

Involve your employees in decision making because when they are involved, they feel more valued and part of a larger cause.

Seek your team’s opinion and encourage healthy debates within the team. This boosts employee morale and challenges them to work harder as they know they are in a position to make an impact and will be taken seriously.

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11. Set meaningful goals

In the beginning of the financial year, make sure you sit down with each employee to set meaningful and realistic goals. The goal-setting conversation is an extremely crucial one and needs to be a two-way street.

Whether your employee feels burdened or doesn’t feel inspired enough by the assigned goals – this is the time to come to a consensus and assign goals derived from business objectives that foster individual development while keeping in mind their strengths and weaknesses.

12. Empower them

You cannot expect employees to be motivated for long if you micro manage the team and do all the talking.

Trust your employees and empower them to take decisions. Mistakes will happen but that is the only way they will learn.

Be open to discussions, delegate effectively, set your expectations and give your team the freedom to do it their way.

13. Deal with conflict

A conducive work environment is one wherein there is open communication and trust, but every once in a while, you do encounter people in the team who indulge in office politics and spread negativity.

How much ever fulfilled an employee feels with their work, gossiping co-workers are bound to ruin it for them. Workplace gossip if not tackled hampers productivity and soils working relations.

As a responsible leader, you need to maintain a conducive work environment and act as a mediator in such cases. Don’t be the leader who is locked up in his/her cabin and is unaware of what is brewing within the team.

14. Implement a flexible work culture

Flexible work cultures are a growing trend and are here to stay.

Whether it is offering flexible working hours or allowing employees to work from home once in a month – a flexible work culture promotes work-life balance and aids in employee satisfaction.

It shows that the management is sensitive to employees’ schedules and is thereby highly appreciated.

15. Host engaging activities

All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy and we cannot agree more! So, why not devote one day of the week to employee engagement activities?

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From hosting baking competitions to introducing wellness programs in the office – let your team have some fun beyond work. This keeps the environment engaging, light-hearted and interesting, giving them all the more reason to look forward to coming to work.

16. Maintain a positive work space

Your employees spend more than half their day at work and in order to keep them energized and motivated, it is important to maintain a positive and inspiring work space.

Have a recreation center where employees can unwind after a hard day’s work, offer free snacks and beverages and invest in an open office design that promotes socializing and conversations.

These are simple yet effective ways to create a space your employees will love coming to.

17. Avoid discrimination

Any kind of discrimination, be it due to age, gender, religion or race hugely impacts employee motivation and performance.

In order to avoid such cases, you must lay down rules against discrimination and take strict action against accused employees. Lead by example and make sure no one in the team is a victim of bias and discrimination.

The bottom line

Don’t underestimate the power of motivating employees. Understand that the more engaged and motivated they are, the better their performance will be.

It is also a good idea to send out a survey and get feedback from your employees on the company culture, work environment and their motivation levels.

This will help you be more aligned with their expectations and further improve your efforts in building a stronger, engaged team.

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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