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Truly transferable skills overlooked by employers

August 16, 2012

Setting up or running a business of your own takes a certain set of skills, and you might think they’re the same ‘transferable skills’ that employers look for in top-class job candidates.

But that’s not always the case, and you can often find that, while you’re not well suited to working for somebody else, you’ve got exactly what it takes to succeed in business for yourself.

Remember the old adage that some are born to lead, while others are born to follow – and while there’s nothing wrong with being a ‘follower’ in the world of employment, that might not be your true calling.

Here are just a few of the ways in which you might currently be infuriating a manager, when you could be your own boss.

‘No Man is an Island’

Naturally, in business, you can’t exist in total isolation – you need clients, customers, suppliers and so on.

But if ‘being a team player’ is leaving you without the opportunity to shine on your own – and dragging down your standards as inept colleagues make mistakes – switching to a self-employed could serve your more insular instincts well.

As your own boss (and, in a sense, your own employee) your priorities are your own too. You can work at creating exactly the kind of business ethic you approve of, promoting yourself and your services on your own terms, and generally being the best you can be, without the limitations of other people’s rules.

A One-Man Ideas Factory

Or a one-woman ideas factory, for that matter. Regardless of age, gender, or any other characteristic that might leave you overlooked on the conventional promotion ladder, setting up in business for yourself lets you put your ideas into practice and find out if they work.

In contrast, being just one more employee in a large firm can feel like whistling into the wind – you’re left struggling to make your voice heard, while your ideas can be lost amid a sea of suggestions from colleagues all clamouring to make a good impression too.

Work When You Want

Depending on the business you’re launching, you might be able to work more flexibly.

Clearly this doesn’t apply if you’re a retailer or need to be open to client calls during normal office hours, but in some instances, you can put in the hours when you choose, rather than being held to a fixed timetable.

You’ll need motivation and self-discipline – and many freelancers in even the most flexible industries stick to a 9-5 working day just to give them some structure – but if you find you work best at night, when there are often fewer distractions, this is one way you can structure your working life to suit your own strengths.

Sell Yourself

Finally, if you’ve got a genuine love of marketing, working for yourself can mean promoting yourself, too.

Rather than being on a fixed income and negotiating for a measly annual pay rise, your earnings are limited only by your own imagination, sales abilities and the total size of your target market – and that last point is rarely the limiting factor that comes into effect.

Identify all of your strengths and promote them to your potential customers and clients – and you might just find that your unique approach is exactly what they’ve been looking for, even if it wasn’t enough to satisfy your former employers.