Why millions of Canadians are considering choosing self-employment and how to make this transition


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Leonard is already a Calgary-based freelance writer and journalist.

We’ve heard a lot about ‘the big resignation’ over the past year: the widespread tendency of workers to quit their jobs during the COVID-19 pandemic. But there is another trend that seems to be on the horizon: Canadians are creating their own jobs. Accounting software company FreshBooks says 30 percent of traditionally employed professionals plan to transition to self-employment within the next two years. The results are his very first Canadian Self-Employment Report, which analyzed data collected online from a representative sample of over 3,000 self-employed and traditional Canadians. This translates into an estimated total of seven million Canadians making the transition to freelance work or starting their own businesses in no time.

Tara Robertson, Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Consultant, made the jump to freelance work earlier this year after working as Global Head of Diversity & Inclusion at technology company Mozilla.

“Doing D&I in the tech space, especially over the past two years, has been really intense,” she shared.

“I wanted to apply what I learned internally and help other companies, in different industries, make systemic change. “

She said work-life balance was also a factor. “I was traveling a truly unbearable amount – both for me as a person, but also in terms of the environment,” she says.

According to the report, the top two reasons people choose to pursue self-employment are more control over their careers (37%) and better professional development (36%).

Karla Briones, a business coach who specializes in working with underrepresented entrepreneurs, says she has seen her business triple since the start of the pandemic.

Due to massive layoffs and job insecurity during this uncertain time, “people realized that the jobs they held were not secure,” Briones says, and many began to consider becoming workers. independent.

Making the transition is not easy, however, and Robertson says she was afraid to go into entrepreneurship.

“The idea of ​​starting my own business and starting a business was really foreign and scary to me. So I had to unwrap some of those feelings, ”she says.

This fear is not uncommon. Briones says a big part of her offering is about overcoming her clients’ fears and working on their mindset by questioning their doubts and “also being a cheerleader with a strategy in mind. “.

Briones and Robertson say figuring out where to start is one of the most difficult parts of self-employment.

Briones has three tips for people considering the transition, whether they’re looking to start a small side business or a full-time business.

  1. Don’t do it alone. “Surround yourself with people who are already doing it,” she says. Briones recommends joining local networking groups or your local economic development agency. They often have free resources and you can meet people who are on the same path.
  2. Understand your “why”. “I want to make sure the person has a ‘why’ … if it’s just to make money it’s not good enough and won’t support them in the long run or when the going gets tough , which she will do, “she said. actions. “Then I want to know what problem they are solving for a potential client. “
  3. Create a plan. Creating a business model canvas, which is a tool used to visualize all of the building blocks when you want to start a business, is a great place to start. “There’s this idealized version of the business in our heads; we see it and it is bright and shiny. But it takes a long time to get there, ”she says.

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