Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Tweeting About Self-Employment

Friday is a great day for chatting for career development practitioners, especially in Canada. Every Friday at 11am PST, career management professionals and recruiters come together on Twitter to chat through the hashtag #HireCAN about relevant topics. On Friday, April 13th I hosted the topic “Talking To Clients About Self-Employment.” I posed a series of questions and different people weighed in with their perspectives. Here are the questions and a summary of responses.

Research conducted by Life Strategies suggests the amount of career development practitioners (CDPs) engaging clients in self-employment discussions correlates with the CDP’s self-employment self-efficacy; how confident they feel to discuss it. Considering this,

Do you feel confident to support clients considering self-employment, why or why not?

  • CDPs who have been self-employed feel more confident to discuss the topic with clients 
  • Those with little or no experience tend to avoid the topic or refer to other professionals that specialize in self-employment 
  • The other option is for CDPs is to take an introductory course like Look Before You Leap which covers the top survival strategies of the successfully self-employed 
  • Does the idea of self-employment need to originate from the client or can it be suggested? 
  • Treat the topic of self-employment similar to other topics that come up with clients 
  • Encourage them to do some research, complete assessments, network with other professionals, and write down ideas 

How do you assess clients for self-employment readiness?

If a self-employment program isn't an option, and the client can't afford a coach, then where can the wannabe self-employed clients turn for help?

  • Self-employment doesn’t need to be a full leap; it could be in combination with other incomes while the business grows to a self-sustaining income level. 
  • A big obstacle for some is a family member’s beliefs and fears of the risks of self-employment. May be helpful for family to go to an information session on self-employment too 
  • Skills swapping is a great way to access supports for free and build collaborative relationships 

What key resources do you refer clients interested in self-employment to?

  • Suggest a client to get a business coach, someone with business start up insight 
  • Small Business BC is a useful site smallbusinessbc.ca, as well as Community Futures bit.ly/Ihy1PM 
  • The Look Before You Leap course and the corresponding workbook guide people through the process of preparing for self-employment. They are useful for CDPs wanting to learn more about how to support clients, and for clients themselves. There is also a PowerPoint and Facilitator Guide for those who want to use the Leap curriculum to host self-employment workshops. 
  • The local Chamber of Commerce will be helpful, also Small Business Canada http://www.canadabusiness.ca/eng 
  • The Leap website and blog have lots of resources 
  • The book “Business Model You” is a good read 
  • Understanding how to use social media effectively is key to self-employment success
  • Go to Twitter!  @lookb4leaping is there and sharing resources throughout the week