Greatra Mayana

Career & Employment Opportunities

EQUITY Video Series: Self Employment


ELIZABETH: Hi everybody, and welcome to the
EQUITY video series! I’m Elizabeth. ALEX: and I’m Alex
ELIZABETH: and today we are going to talk about two self-employment options: entrepreneurship
and freelance work. ALEX: That’s right, the employment opportunities
that many people don’t even consider – but can be great ways to earn money! ELIZABETH: So Alex, when I think about work,
I think about going to a job. You know, like a desk in an office, or a server
in a restaurant, or a cashier at a supermarket. But that’s not usually what entrepreneurship
or freelance work is, is it? ALEX: No, it’s not, this is a whole different
story. With entrepreneurship and freelance work,
you get to choose the jobs you take, your own schedule, and often set how much you’re
paid. It can take more organizing and dedication
than conventional employment, in a way, but it provides freedom that many regular jobs
can’t. That means you can more easily hit the bank
or the post office when they’re open in the middle of the day, take time for yourself
if you’re feeling overstressed, or really go into overdrive when you want to earn some
extra cash one month. ELIZABETH: If you do things right, it can
even help you get ahead of the pack. So let’s explore these great options, and
what you can do to make them work in your life! ELIZABETH: Now, entrepreneurship and freelance
work are closely connected, but they are not exactly the same thing. With entrepreneurship, you start your own
business and build it up from the ground level, offering a service to the public in exchange
for a fee. This can be anything from a dog-walking service,
all the way to building up a company where you are the boss. ALEX: For example, my buddy John started a
company that helps people test tap water to see if it’s safe to drink. It took a good few years to get going, but
now it actually has investors and is really growing fast! He’s even making a decent salary now that
it’s going full speed. ELIZABETH: that’s awesome! And freelance work is a little different,
right? ALEX: Definitely, although sometimes they
can overlap. So freelance work – which some people also
called “gig” or “contract” work – is when you keep an eye out for individual, one-time,
part-time jobs or contracts and get paid for them one at a time. This could be something like freelance journalism,
where you write articles or blogs for a magazine or a website and receive money for each one. You could even help those companies improve
their websites if you know how to do computer coding! I also know a few people who do acting gigs
for commercials or little company videos, which can pay pretty darn well for a one day
job. ELIZABETH: I bet that’s a neat option for
people with disabilities, if companies are looking to add diversity in videos. ALEX: Absolutely! ELIZABETH: Now that we know the basics of
self-employment, let’s look at the steps to get started with your new jobs! ALEX: So, let’s say that you’re considering
starting a business or doing some freelance work. Step one is just to ask, “is self-employment
right for me?” ELIZABETH: That’s right. Because let’s face it, any kind of work
takes, well, work. It’s just that self-employment takes a bit
more of your own motivation, as well as handling all of your own business details such as paperwork,
advertising, and even taxes. There isn’t a boss or manager handling operations
ALEX: Or nudging you about deadlines… ELIZABETH: spoken from true experience. ALEX: You may also want to consider what it
will mean for your benefits. If you’re one of the many folks who receive
SSI, Medicaid, or other benefits, self-employment can provide an opportunity for earnings that
might not affect their income limits, which is great. And there are even government programs for
people with disabilities that can help you get your business off the ground. For example, a Plan to Achieve Self-Support
– or PASS Plan – lets you save money toward a business goal without affecting SSI or Medicaid’s
$2000 asset limit, and the Department of Rehabilitation, if you’re interested in this, can provide
guidance and even financial support for starting your own business. ELIZABETH: But either way, reporting business
income to the Social Security Administration and any other agencies that manage your benefits
is super – I mean super – important. If you don’t, you can endanger those supports. It’s also important to keep your taxes in
order, which means recording business income and expenses, then finding the right forms. We aren’t exactly tax experts, so you can
either do your own research or find a professional that can help you come tax time. ALEX: For more details about programs to support
self-employment and how to report your income and taxes, check out the self-employment chapter
of EQUITY online! ELIZABETH: Okay, so let’s say you are confident
that you can handle all the details, from schedules to taxes to reporting business income,
and ultimately keeping yourself motivated long-term. The next question is, “do I have the right
ideas and skills to make some money on my own?” ALEX: See, the basics of a business are coming
up with a product or service, selling it to businesses or the public, and taking in enough
money to cover your costs and pay for your time, or what they call make a profit. A good entrepreneur will come up with something
to sell that enough people are willing to pay for, then finding enough customers to
buy it at the right price. If they manage their own costs and create
a quality product, they can usually make money in the end. ELIZABETH: You might feel like you already
have the ideas and skills to do self-employment without a problem. If you do – or if you’re just exploring
the option – the first step to really getting the business off the ground is developing
a solid business plan. This doesn’t have to be set in stone, but
it provides a vision of what you want your business to look like, and a roadmap to success. It helps guide you along the way – and if
you are looking for people to provide finance, such as government agencies, some crowd-funding,
or even bigger investors, it can give them a reason to help you out. Let’s say you come up with a good business
idea, like a dog-sitting service for all your neighbors that go to work on the weekdays. You have a big enough backyard, and all of
the dogs will get to be friends and get to play around with each other. You plan to charge a fee that’s lower than
the other dog-sitters in your area, so plenty of people will be coming your way. Better yet, you’ll be more than able to
cover the costs of dog food and make some money for your time. A business plan breaks this down and sets
a roadmap so you can really get started. ALEX: That’s right, and a business plan
usually has 7 parts. The first is an executive summary, which provides
a snapshot of your company, explaining who you are, what you do and why. ELIZABETH: The second part is a description
and vision. This includes your mission statement, the
company vision, the business goals and objectives, and the history of the business, if you have
one. ALEX: The third piece is a definition of the
market. Basically, you might be providing something
completely new, or there might already be some businesses like it. Show who your competitors are, who your potential
customers are, and why people will purchase what you’re providing. ELIZABETH: The fourth piece is a description
of your products and services. It’s usually useful to provide enough detail
to really show the idea in full, as well as why your products or services are competitive
compared to others. ALEX: And fifth, show your business’s organization
and management. This includes everything from the structure
to legal details, any licenses or permits, a description of yourself and any other managers
you might have on board. ELIZABETH: Next, show your strategy for sales
and marketing. It’s always good to read up on marketing
strategies, especially in an age when so many people are online. Show who your customers are and how you will
reach them over time. ALEX: And finally, show your estimated finances. This includes startup costs, projected income,
expenses, and overall cash flows. If you think it might take a little time to
really build up some revenue, look forward into the future and figure out when you start
making a profit! ELIZABETH: When you have your business plan
in order, you can start looking for funding and really get things rolling. Always remember to stay organized when you
do! ALEX: So, business plans are the way to go
for many entrepreneurs. Sometimes freelance and gig work can be a
bit more relaxed, and you don’t necessarily need a business plan in the first place. Here’s a fun story: personally, back when
I was in college, I was looking for some extra cash. I always loved writing, still do, and knew
this guy from college – from a little while, we had some overlap – and he ended up going
on and working for a magazine once he graduated. I asked if the magazine was looking for any
contributors and he said yes, and talked to the editors and actually even offered money
if I wrote for them. The pieces paid anywhere from $50 for an opinion
column to a few hundred dollars for a full article. When I started tracking my time of doing researching
and writing, I realized I was making $20 or more per hour. Not bad for a college kid working on his own
time! ELIZABETH: And all you had to do was reach
out and send a writing sample, right? ALEX: Yep, that’s all it took! And of course, making sure I met those deadlines,
mostly… ELIZABETH: I’m glad you did. ALEX: So, that’s the story of self-employment. If you’d like to learn more, head on over
to the EQUITY webpage at www.WID.org/equity. ELIZABETH: Thanks for joining!

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