When’s the right time to take that leap into self-employment?

Lots of people toy with the idea of going it alone for years. Some never do it. It’s not right for everyone and is daunting for anyone, so how do you know when it’s time to hold your breath and jump in the deep end?


Whether you are taking a franchise opportunity, going it alone, or going into business with a partner, having the right financial arrangements in place is crucial.

Regardless of how successful you are, in the vast majority of small businesses it is quite some time before you are able to pay yourself a good salary, and you are bound to have upfront expenses before you even have one client. So you need to be very realistic about that, and be sure that you can manage without a decent salary for a while, and have finance in place to cover business expenses.

If you aren’t in that situation, then it’s not right for you, at least not right now. If you are keen to do it, start looking at what you can do to change that.


The financial aspect is one reason why redundancy is often a good time. If you’ve been toying with going it alone but never quite summoned up the courage or had the necessary upfront finances to do it the way you want, then being made redundant from a job can be the perfect time to take the plunge. Often you have a redundancy payment giving you a financial cushion, and are also “feeling the fear” of being forced to take action anyway. Redundancy prompts many people to re-evaluate their career, their ambitions and their work-life balance, which is no bad thing.


I first decided I wanted to run my own business several years before I actually did it. This was partly because of the financial situation not being right, but actually was largely because I didn’t at that stage have what I feel are the senior experience and high level knowledge I think are essential to be credible in self-employed consultancy. (Not that that stops some people..!)

So if you think honestly you could do with a bit more experience, perhaps in a more senior role, or experience in a different sector, or improved knowledge, then make self-employment your long term goal and make career decisions now that will help you achieve that goal later on.

Family circumstances

As well as wanting more experience anyway, one of my main drivers for the decision to go self-employed in the first place was fitting work and career around having a family. So I started trading a year after having my eldest.

After maternity leave is a good time as often people have adjusted to managing without a full time salary anyway, and in the face of having to perhaps return to a long commute and a full time job with a small baby, are prompted into making a decision to leave that behind.

Whatever your reasons, do your research, understand that it’s often about the long game, make sure you are realistic, and then take the leap if it’s right for you.

If you think you’re ready to take that leap into self-employment, with bags of support, download our prospectus to find out more about becoming a partner with face2faceHR.