Whether you've been toying with the idea of stepping out on your own or worried about job cuts at your workplace, here are seven things to do now before you go solo.
1. Update you resume. A modern resume needs to clearly show the results that your years of work have delivered. "Managed a sales team which brought in $20 million in sales in 2013." "Oversaw the management of $175 million infrastructure project." If your only education listing is that of secondary school from 20 years ago, it should not be given prominence. Rather, highlight what you've achieved in the role with the organisation.
2. Create a web presence. Even if you do not know what type of business you want to run, begin to position yourself as an expert in your areas of interest. Purchase a domain name with your name such as nerissagolden.com. Your website should include a blog in order to share articles about the issues that matter to you and which you are qualified towrite on.
3. Get on social media. LinkedIn is essential for those leaving a corporate environment and going into consulting or other project-based work. Twitter is a good way to share short tips that can be retweeted and linked back to your website. Facebook and Instagram are essential if your work is very visual such as fashion or graphic design, photography or tourism based.
4. Gather testimonials. Get a few clients and company representatives to speak to your professionalism and skill in your area of specialty. These can be used on your website and on LinkedIn to show that you are not new to the field.
5. Write opinion pieces for local and regional media on current issues that you have knowledge of and can offer solutions about. Offer to collaborate on special radio and television programmes which will help to increase your public and professional profile.
6. Compile presentations you've created into viewable formats such as in a downloadable PDF or with slideshare. If you are planning to be a professional speaker or trainer, look at how the presentations can be made more appealing, repackaged for different audiences or become the basis for a whitepaper or book.
7. Save. It is recommended that you have between six months to a year of funds to live on until your business takes off. Having a financial cushion will reduce your stress level and allow you to focus on planning and promoting your business.
Preparing for life changes puts you in the power position and helps to build your confidence in the future. It will enable you to be more selective of the projects you can take on when you step out on your own.
Nerissa Golden is an award-winning Media Strategist, Business Coach who helps her clients accelerate their business growth by leveraging high impact communications solutions and income generating strategies. She is the author of Like Follow Lead: Mastering Social Media for Small Business and The Making of a Caribbeanpreneur: Strategies for Overcoming Fear and Building Wealth. Get tips on starting and growing a business at www.trulycaribbean.net. Follow her on Twitter @trulygolden.