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There is a big difference between working for someone and being the big kahuna, the head honcho, the boss! Are you the sort of person more suited to working in a salaried financial planning position, or do you see yourself calling the shots, with all the extra demands and responsibilities that brings?

I wrote an article for IFA magazine where I pointed out that if you go it alone, it is not simply that your position will change from doing what the ‘mother ship’ dictates to making your own rules. No, after years of working to be a model employee and striving to be at the top of the pile, working for yourself can be daunting, exciting, or both.

The flexibility and autonomy may seem great, but don’t forget you will also be responsible for those around you, not to mention the bottom line. So what are the key points to consider before deciding to break out on your own:

1. Start with some honest soul searching – Dig deep and work out why you really want to work for yourself. Do you have the same knack for business ownership as you do for being a planner? Do you have an employee or employer mindset? If you ‘cut the cord’ and make the mental and commercial shift from employee to owner, you are much more likely to be successful.

2. The buck stops with you – Don’t forget the financial implications of going out on your own. Your regular income will not be guaranteed, and you will be responsible for all the overheads. The photocopier won’t fix itself, plus there are your IT needs, rent, phone, etc. You may be lucky enough to purchase a client book providing an income stream from day one, but this is not always the case.

3. If you fail to plan, then plan to fail – You need to have a vision and a plan – a business plan. Not some lengthy document that gets put in a bottom drawer, but something dynamic and practical that is reviewed and updated regularly. It doesn’t have to be long, but it has to be relevant.

4. People power – One of the areas many new business owners struggle with is managing their most important asset – their employees. Managing clients and staff are two completely different prospects. From the outset you need to set expectations and engage staff in the success of the business. Their roles and responsibilities must be well documented and understood.

So before you set out, look inside, plan and don’t forget that there is plenty of help out there, from your licensee and independent service providers. We hope you enjoy the success you seek.