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I have 100 different things going on in my head right now, I could use some honest advice as to what I should do now. I have been there for several years as head SEO guy, very successful but there are too many differences between me and the owner so I think its time to move on.
I do not have any college degree or fancy diplomas. I prefer not working at another company just yet, try to calm the water and maybe try the freelance field.
I really could use some advice. Thanks to everyone in advance for your honest input.
I need a SEO person at the moment, so start building your portfolio
Not sure how you do that. It's easy for people to say "I did this..." "I ranked this client for X rankings" "I increased the traffic by 500%"... I'm not a very experienced guy in the looking-for-new jobs field. I'm pretty young and don't have any other office experience so I never had to do the suit and suitcase thing.
I think setting up on your own in a rush, could be a very bad idea, better yto be sure that you are doing things the way you want to, and work for someone else in the mean time.
First of all continue your day job just to get by and whilst you are doing this set up your own business in what you really want to do. With internet business it all takes time, so continue your business like a hobby. Little by little you will get clients, make contacts. Hopefully in 1-2 years you will have the opportunity to give up the day job and live how you want with your rules!
I did this 5 years ago, and I havenīt regretted it.
If you assume you won't have steady money coming in for another year or more (not at all unlikely these days), you'll be amazed at how much more you can tolerate any differences you might have with your boss.
While you are still there, quantify as much as possible the results that your have produced. In the meantime, build up your SEO portfolio on the side. You won't be the only ex-full-time SEO person out pounding the pavement. You'll need more than just the experience from your previous company to give you a leg up on all the other "one company wonders" as well as compete with all the SEO freelancers who have several clients already.
Remember that as a freelancer, people aren't hiring you as an employee. You won't have the luxury of getting to know the company and start fitting into the corporate culture. As a freelancer, people will be hiring you to start providing tangible results right away.
I prefer not working at another company just yet
With the current economic environment, I suggest holding onto that steady paycheck as long as possible.
I can certainly see Asia's point on this. If you don't have a lot of experience or live paycheck to paycheck right now going cold turkey into the self-employment arena can be a tough road to hoe, especially in this economic climate. However...
There is another side to this coin. If you are good at what you do and you are willing to hustle, have some luck and a reasonable network of people, being self-employed in a climate like this might be your best protection.
I have been self-employed for over 4 years now and for the moment I am still busy with both existing and new client work. I have set up multiple streams of income and because my income streams are diversified I don't ever have to worry about all of my income being shut off at once with an argument with a boss and subsequent receipt of my walking papers.
I am a bit of a zealot on this issue, but personally I don't think there is anything more safe than being self-employed. With self-employment you have a lot more personal responsibility, but with that comes a lot more freedom and control over your economic destiny.
Incidentally I am talking about self employment as opposed to running a business where you employ other people. That's a lot more risky.
I have no plans to ever add employees.
I hate to pry into personal decisions, Fortune Hunter, but may I be so bold ask to why? Doesn't that limit potential growth? and greatly limit growth, at that? I do not mean to be negative, but there are limits to what one person may acheive when acting alone.
I am sure we all have different end-games in mind; and we get our kicks from different sides of the business. I realize for some the fun is in the start-up phases and the uncertainty they hold. For others it is the sale of a profitable business, etc. But my blinders (maybe I have tunnel vision?) have me tilting towards stages of growth...first a "one man show", then a small business, then a mid-market cap, and straight until dawn...each stage requires more people and greater specialization. Maybe it's the economist in me...
Would a growth strategy for you mean you take on "partners" -- other self-employed contractors whose skills compliment your own and allow you to bid jobs you cannot do alone? What does your future look like without employees working for you at some point?
I am sorry for my naiveté and apologize if I am prying. I understand if you do not wish to respond!
You generally need to wade through 10-20 resumes to find one to bring in for an interview. Then it's interviewing several people before finding a good match. Then all the paperwork involved in the hiring (especially if it's your first employee). Then you have to train the person. Then you have to constantly manage the person (some less than others). Payroll involves more busy work (or cost if you farm it out). Then once the employee decides to go elsewhere, you have to go through the entire search/hire/train/manage process all over again.
Throw into the mix lots of problems if you mis-hired someone and get stuck with someone who's not working out or is causing problems.
Yes, in many cases, hiring someone to take over some of the work load DOES work out. But you have to expect a period of time where the amount of time/money you spend to find/train the person will negatively affect your your overall productivity.
Life ain't fair. Never has been. What is fair is being smart enough to roll with the punches.
Would a growth strategy for you mean you take on "partners" -- other self-employed contractors
You are dead on. I hire independent contractors for a lot of what I need. I have programmer I have been working with for 3 years and 2 different graphic designers. I bring them in when I need productivity and don't when a project's margins are small or I can handle the work myself.
Then all the paperwork involved in the hiring (especially if it's your first employee).
Asia is dead on here. He must be speaking from first hand experience. If you have any doubt simply check with your accountant. You will be shocked at all the new taxes, paperwork, and stuff you have to keep up with once that first employee comes on board. While it is true you have someone to help with productivity you also have a drag on cash when work is slow as well. It is a double edged sword. You have to keep them busy and productive and earning money for you when things are tight as well, which isn't always easy to do.
Independent contractors don't cost me money when I don't need them and the productivity is there when business is going well. The paperwork and tax issue is non-existent, or at least much diminished. To me this is the best way to run a business. When this economy starting tanking I didn't have to worry about covering large payrolls or overhead. I simply pared down a few expenses and for the moment I am riding this out just fine.
For others it is the sale of a profitable business
Remember when someone is buying a business they are buying the brand, accounts, cash generating capabilities, and other assets, such as intellectual property, web sites, a system for doing business, etc. What they are NOT buying is expenses and employees unless those employees have a very specialized skill set that cannot be easily duplicated. When I decide to retire (loooong way away) I can either close up shop and call it day or find a way to package up my assets and sell them. I don't need employees to do either.
Very much so but this is not a problem when you are happy with your lot and have no desire to grow your business
I did not mean to imply that happiness and business growth were inexorably linked or that growth was the only goal! Just curious to know how others go about their business and what sort of strategies are employed.
Thank you both for your insights!
I did not mean to imply that happiness and business growth were inexorably linked
I appreciate this and I was just speaking from a personal viewpoint. I will be 60 next month and have been working since I was 15 years of age. (Remember when we used to leave school at 15 in the UK?). At this stage all I need is a reasonable income.
I will say that if I were 20 years younger I would have considered growing the business but not now. All I want is enough money to buy beer and holidays for me and my good lady. ;)
@Jeykey--If you haven't lost your job I would advise you to start designing websites on the side so you can build up a portfolio. If your contract with your boss doesn't allow you to work elsewhere then offer your services for free to non-profits. If you do loose your job then you can work for other designers until you get enough clientile built up for a portfolio. You might also consider working on a referral basis with other designers who have checked out your work.
You mean 1099 outside contractors over employess on payroll, correct?
Yes, that is what is meant by contractor (freelancer) vs. employee. An employee is on your payroll. You are responsible for paying wages, taxes, unemployment insurance, worker's comp, benefits, and a whole long list of expenses. With a freelancer you hire them, they quote a price if you accept you pay that price and when the job is done you aren't responsible for them any longer. You don't have to worry about their taxes, unemployment, or any other expense of a traditional employee, which is why they are so great.