Self-employment for Solo Professionals: Business Setup Logistics Made Simple. (USA)

When consultants, coaches, and other service professionals are getting set up for self-employment, I notice they often worry, as I did at first, about all the business logistics and mysteries you think you should know.

Maybe you’re even worried you’ll get in trouble for something you didn’t know.

I’ve seen many people let worries about these things really get in their way, thinking it’s something huge to tackle. They think they can’t do anything else before getting a business name, some kind of incorporated entity (e.g., LLC), etc.

I’m a self-employed business coach and I had to learn this stuff too, 11 years ago. Even though I understood a lot about marketing and business, the business setup stuff was new to me, having been an employee until then.

Business setup stuff felt like a big mystery to me, behind a curtain like in the Wizard of Oz.

waiting for the keys

It turns out it’s not that huge, especially for solo service providers like us. Important, yes, and sometimes tedious, yes. But much of it can be easier and is often not as urgent as you might think. In my case, I did it over time.

Let’s have a look. I’ll share some basics as well as what I have done as a coach.

There are plenty of things you’ve done that are harder than this. Don’t let business logistic worries stop you from going for your dreams.

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Career Ideas for Introverts and HSPs – The 2020 Update for Meaningful and Viable Work

I’m sure you’ve noticed that things got shaken up quite a bit so far in 2020. That’s an understatement.

So much shake-up that our work decisions need a fresh look. What will be in demand now and in the future will be different in some ways. Some things will remain, some things will rise strongly, and some things will drastically change or go away.

As a result, I decided it’s time to update my career and self-employment ideas for you, to account for this twist in the road.

turning

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My View from 10 Years In as a Self-employed Coach

You know how they say you can call yourself an expert after ten years of doing something? I’m right here at the ten-year mark since I had my first paying coaching client in November 2009. I’m taking this moment to look and see what it feels like at this stage, at the end of a decade.

Val Nelson

I’m looking calmer than I used to feel. Haha.

There is certainly an interesting and different feeling at this stage than even a couple years ago, and a vast difference from the early days.

One thing for sure, ten years in feels amazing for me.

There’s a level of security, ease, and trust in my work life that I’m so appreciating. A settling in. Leaning more and more into a natural flow.

I think that ten-year mastery idea, and part of why ten years in feels so amazing, is about the concept of Flow.

When you’ve done something you enjoy for a long while, you are more likely to get to a state of delicious flow, where things “just happen,” or move through you, and you barely know how it’s happening.

It just feels.. natural.
Like I was born to do this.
Like a spiritual experience that I can’t explain in simple terms.

I call this feeling “natural flow” and when you get to know me, you’ll see that natural flow is a favorite topic. I want everyone to have this.

There’s a joy, a trust, a deeper knowing beyond what’s right in front of your eyes… if you allow this energy to move through you. It’s a mindfulness practice whose internal benefits build on itself year after year.

I don’t think it’s about “expert” or not (and I have issues with most uses of the word expert).

The ten-year mastery idea is about being able to fully rely on your wisdom and heart to lead the way, and even let yourself stake your livelihood on that! That’s a big trust. One that now feels easy. I feel so much gratitude for that ease as I write this.

It wasn’t easy at first. I had to learn to live on faith, and self-employment is a great teacher.

I’ll explain how it has evolved and continues to evolve, such as what I’m learning now. I even wrote a poem about it, in this post. It just showed up. Continue reading

How To Host a Simple Focus Group So You Can Attract Your True Clients

When I first was starting my coaching business and thinking about focusing on introverts, a colleague suggested I host a focus group for introverts to explore this idea further. Me: “Huh, focus group?”

Can you relate? My self-employed clients usually have the same quizzical response too. So I will unveil the mystery of this very simple action that can give you SO much. I’m providing a complete cheat-sheet here for hosting a focus group.

I bet you’ll even enjoy focus groups! Especially when you see what a difference it makes in your work.

My Focus Group Hosting Experience

My colleague helped me plan my first focus group. I just invited some introverts to a free discussion for about 5 people. Once there, I could see how easy and natural it was to host a meaningful conversation for a handful of people, on something that I and they cared about.

That’s all it is, really. A meaningful conversation that you and they will likely enjoy. It’s a win-win. We all enjoy the connections, and I learned a lot.

Focus group discussion - how to

A focus group is simply a meaningful conversation that you and the participants will likely enjoy.

It turned out people wanted more of these gatherings and so I hosted some more. What I learned helped me to create a solid foundation for my offerings and my marketing. I’ve since done it other times when I needed more input.

________________________
I now believe that first focus group was one of the
smartest things I ever did to get my business going.
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Is It for You?

In reality, not everyone likes hosting small group discussions like I do. If you’re feeling any dread about the idea, start with reading more here about what it is and then decide if it’s for you. You can also get help to do it.

In this post, I’ll give you a cheat-sheet, with the when, why, how of focus groups. This is a simple model designed for service professionals like coaches, consultants, and healing arts professionals.

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Self-employment Myths and Reality. It’s OK To Be Wobbly.

When the topic of self-employment comes up, I hear two common responses:

  1. “That’s too hard so I won’t even try.” or
  2. “I should be able to get something going within a few months, or else it’s a failure.”

Neither is grounded in reality. There’s such an odd mythology around self-employment, perhaps because people don’t talk about what goes on behind closed doors.

Here’s what I think is true about self-employment, in a nutshell.

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