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What is it Like to Be Your Own Boss? Cheryl MacKenzie, Business Coach at JobSkills

About the Author

Cheryl is a Business Coach with the Youth Entrepreneurship Program at Job Skills. This program helps youth get a start in business over a 6-month period of time. Cheryl brings her experience as a business owner, and studies in social work and psychology, to the group. She works with their objectives and helps them set goals to reach their potential in business.

Although it's very appealing to answer to no one, the reality is you must answer to your customers if you expect them to part with their hard-earned dollars to buy from you. The sales process starts with developing a relationship and this takes hard work. You are essentially your own motivator, problem solver, and deal closer when taking on self-employment.

Entrepreneurship means forging your own path and destination. Do you have the passion and stamina to continually develop new ways to reach your target market and increase sales? It takes creativity, a willingness to learn from mistakes, and fearless decision-making to succeed in today's business environment, where change is constant and technology is a tidal wave that can crush or sustain you.

Social networking can be done for free to some extent but you have to know how to use it effectively or you may not be reaching your critical target market. Who are you trying to reach? What is their age range? Where do they live? You must be the solution to a problem or need your potential customer might have.

One method of staying afloat in self-employment is to develop and nurture a network of business associates with whom you can sub-contract, refer business, and gain support. With the most successful businesses I have worked with, this is the key to early and sustained financial success. Don't burn bridges with those difficult people who often cross our path. Be friendly with those you meet, even if they don't seem to be able to positively affect your revenue stream.

Social skills and the ability to build a rapport with someone else will often make or break your business in the long run. Practice developing a comfort level with those you wish to get to know and you will develop mutually beneficial relationships both personally and professionally. Remember your friends, neighbours, people in line-ups, and even at summer barbeques, could be your future customer. Your ability to develop a relaxed conversation with almost anyone anytime is a powerful asset. It is often the key to sales and business longevity.

If you want smooth sailing you have to learn the skills to navigate your ship in any kind of weather. For assistance, investigate the Ontario Self-Employment Benefit program, the Youth Entrepreneurship Program and your local Business Enterprise Centre.

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