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?
- It’s not a CDPs job to assess the self-employment idea because they are not business experts, rather CDP’s can guide clients to assess their own readiness, research their idea, and access resources
- Self-employment success is a combination of knowledge, skills, and attitude. Online self-assessments are helpful for clients to consider their preparedness:
- Entreprenuerial Readiness Inventory,
- The Look Before You Leap workbook also contains a self-employment assessment among other tips
- Informational interviews with self-employed individuals is a great way for clients to find out about the realities of owning a business
- The Career Wheel is useful for assessing how self-employment will fit into clients’ lives ow.ly/agAWM
- Brainstorm how the business idea may fit into current economic climate, encouraging market research
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