Helpful tips to make the move from employee to business owner


So you’re thinking about starting your own business. Making that transition from employee tradesman to going out on your own can be exciting, but it’s also daunting. We have put together some pointers to help smooth the way.

Tips to help a Tradie make the transition from employee to business owner

Firstly, some food for thought; according to the Small Business Administration, only half of all new tradesman businesses will survive into their fifth year. Making the shift from a consistent work life and the mindset of a full-time employee, to that of a business owner, along with the added responsibilities and numerous unpredictabilities, requires a determined mental switch.

Here are some tips to assist you in a successful transition:

  1. You’re no longer a Yes-Man. As an employed tradie, you’re used to following instructions and saying ‘yes’. As a business owner, you need to say ‘no’ more often than not, and focus on your priorities.
  2. Getting things done is better than perfect. As an employee in a large company, you had the time to make sure things were done to perfection. As a business owner starting out, you won’t have the time or resources for everything to be done to perfection. You need to focus on the high impact, high priority tasks and projects, and learn to accept 80% for everything else.
  3. Say goodbye to 9-5. When you’re running your own business, time to ‘knock off’ doesn’t happen when the clock strikes the hour. Most likely you’ll be working until midnight some nights, but now you’re working to build your own dreams, not someone elses’.
  4. Learn to wear multiple hats. As an employee builder, you were used to doing your job and handing off to someone else. When you have your own business, you have to think about being a builder, to marketing your business, to accounting, to requirements for your own employees, and much more.
  5. Keep to some kind of schedule. Many people start their own business because they’re tired of working to a routine set by someone else, however, being the boss doesn’t mean you can start at 10am and have long lunches. Setting a schedule and sticking to it will ensure you’re disciplined, and therefore productive.
  6. Set up an expense account. The day to day running of your own business is largely having the right mind set, but there are also practicalities to consider. You’ll be leaving the security of being a salaried employee to not knowing when your next pay comes in. If possible, before you leave your ‘paid’ job, try to set aside three to six months worth of expenses. That will allow you to focus on building your business, rather than worrying about money.