The skills required to be self-employed for 30 years – Part 3

When I met Roy I was a qualified hairdresser, at the time I didn’t think that would hold much bearing in the big scary business world but 30 years later I find out that I had a few skills that they don’t teach you at business school. 

1. Compassion

You’ll have to be able to communicate with your client and really listen to what they have to say and then you’ll have to have the desire to make things better for them. Can you imagine a hairdresser that didn’t listen to your instruction very carefully? Two inches could become blue fringes just like that. The same for being in business if you’re only in it for the money and you lack compassion then I can’t imagine it working for very long. Business is a partnership with your client.

2. Passion – why?

You have to be passionate about your subject area. It has to light you up from the inside out and it has to be big enough to get you out of bed every morning. You want to jump out of bed excited every day, for the next however long don’t you? You can drag your butt to any ole office but if you’re going to take the big risk and go it alone then you want to make sure it’s something that makes you happy. I’m not passionate about motorcycles, I don’t even ride but I was passionate about making my husband happy and that’s where I hung my reason “why”.

3. Self-belief that is strong enough to sell

Are you worth the price you’re asking? The price is always going to be questioned and if there is a hint of blood in the water the sharks are going to eat you alive!!! If you do not have a strong belief in yourself and your worth, then I’d recommend you employ a frontman that does.

4. Work ethic

Do you possess the ability to set and achieve your goals and complete daily tasks, every day? Are your tasks moving on to tomorrow’s list?

Wait… What… You don’t write lists??? Game over, don’t go into self-employment!

Working for yourself doesn’t have to be flogging yourself day in and day out but you do have to stay organised and be committed. I found that if I planned my work and broke it down into sections and I followed the routine then I could achieve all I needed to, for example:

  • I only check my emails three times a day. It is closed for the rest of the day so it does not distract me. I will do a send receive, answer the incoming and schedule what needs to be done.
  • I do the things I don’t like first and build the anticipation for the jobs I do like.
  • I only do things once, if I go to the post box, I open the mail and enter it or file it directly.

The best saying I ever heard was “Touch it once, do it now”, don’t put it down if you have to pick it up again…

So, in recap, what have we learned? Hairdressing taught me to build a rapport with my client, always be authentic and compassionate, keep a note of the details and follow up! If you possess a few of these skills then you might just have what it takes.

One last thing, always remember to ask for help when you need it.

Renae Kunda, Co-founder and Director, Cape York Motorcycle Adventures