The Challenge of Self-Employment

I belong to the army of self employed – although I prefer non-self employed. In October, 2008, I gave a one day workshop at the Bodhi Garden in Brighton, Sussex, England on Right Livelihood and self employment.


Here are my notes for the workshop


Saturday October 19, 2008 10 a.m to 5 pm. Brighton.


Are you an artist, carpenter, gardener, masseur, therapist web designer or yoga teacher? Are you engaged in any livelihood that you would like to develop and expand?  Are you considering moving into self employment? Are you running a small business that you wish to expand? In this one day workshop, we will share our experiences of self-employment or running a small business. We will explore practical ways to develop our range of clients, make new contacts and examine the potential for networking. The day will include a talk on the ethics and expansion of right livelihood, sharing of our experiences, small group discussion and finding practical steps to develop our income and services.  We will also look at our relationship to work, money and peace of mind. All are welcome. Open to all.


It is a major challenge. In this financial crisis, client may cut down on services affecting more and more people.




Four ways to communicate your skills.


  1. Advertisements  (flyers, business cards, notice in shop windows, handout on streets, paid ads, news items, quotes from satisfied clients)
  2. Communication  (word of mouth,  invitations, telephone calls, referrals, cold calling, announcements at meetings,)
  3. Written and Visual – posted invitations, logo, flyers through the door, websites, e-mails, proposals, e-newsletters, news items, You tube, Flickr, articles, letters to organisations in the public and private sector, follow up after offering service.
  4. Offers, samples, including the arts, creative initiatives, wild ideas, discounts, memberships, small gift or special thank you to someone who brings you a new client.


It takes a lot of work to bridge the gap between the coach (in whatever capacity) and the client. We have to “mind the gap.” If there is not a fulfilling flow between oneself and other (s) we have to name the gap and work to bridge it.  It is easy for some people to complain about the lack of interest in their services.  Please remember that you have to work very hard to establish a network of clients. This work never stops. After more than 30 years, I know from experience. We cannot rest on our laurels. An indispensable aspect of work for the self-employed is ensuring regular information goes out to potential clients and old clients. This is part of the job!


Try to avoid the language of “selling yourself.”  You are offering a service.




Referrals are the best way to develop the number of clients.

Keep in touch with your network of contacts

Is there a real opportunity in the area where you live for your service?

Are you willing to diversify so that you are not reliant on a single skill?

Do you need to concentrate on a particular skill?

Clear message of skills needs to be delivered effectively.

Prepare as full a list as possible of those who you know. Seek their support.

Do you have contact with others working in a similar field with whom you can share what works or doesn’t work for you?

Do others recommend you and do you recommend others?

Do you practice to expand your skills and inspire others to join with you as you develop?

What is the essence of what you want people to remember about your programme?

Make sure your brochure and website answers the who what where when and how questions.

Brainstorm regularly alone or with others putting the wildest ideas to paper.

Communication is the link between coach and client.




What can you do for them?

When do you do what you do?

Why will the client benefit from contact with you?

What makes your work interesting?

Why is your work important?

What is a one line statement that you can express to encourage a client to see you again?


You have much to offer. Keep faith with the service that you make available.

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