By: Ryan Malone
Image via Unsplash
In today's world, it's critical to start your career on the right foot. PDH Now shares some factors to consider as you weigh taking the traditional route or going solo.
Traditional jobs and internships typically offer stable scheduling, such as a 9-to-5 workday. This stability allows you to have a more predictable work-life balance, but you also have to specifically request time off and make sure you get your tasks done during your contracted hours.
In the gig economy, your time is yours. If you want to do client work at midnight, you totally can. But the flexibility you enjoy as an entrepreneur is only as good as your time management skills, as it's on you to complete your work in a timely manner.
One nice thing about a traditional career is that it provides a comparatively stable income. In a typical job, you know what your paycheck is every week, and you can budget and plan accordingly. You may even have the chance to earn more money working overtime. But while your income is consistent, it's bounded until you can negotiate a raise or promotion.
In contrast, the gig economy means you have greater potential for higher earnings. You aren't limited to a set salary, and you can theoretically earn as much as your time and talent allow. However, when you're a solopreneur, your income isn't guaranteed since you have to find clients yourself.
You also need a really good grasp of your finances, so you know exactly how much you need to cover the necessities. If you are starting your own business, there are grants and loans available to get you off the ground. Keep in mind, however, that those institutions will look closely at your personal finances when determining your eligibility.
When you're just starting out, you may not be thinking about what your career is likely to look like 40, 20, or even 10 years from now. However, it's never too early to think about where you want to be and how to get there. A traditional career path probably offers you a clearer picture of the shapes your professional life can take. You're around more established professionals who can mentor you as you develop your career. On the other hand, you may find it trickier to explore new career paths while balancing your traditional job or internship.
A benefit of entrepreneurship is the ability to forge your own career path. You have more room to explore what you want and what works for you. However, a potential downside is it may be harder to identify opportunities for furthering your career since your career trajectory isn't as obvious.
Going solo means it's all up to you. You don't have a boss to remind you about deadlines or keep a project on track. To stay organized and focused, use task management tools, such as Jira or Trello. Additionally, look into finding software to track your billable hours and easily send invoices to clients. Finally, ensure you have multiple methods of communicating with clients quickly and efficiently, especially if you need to flag delays or issues. Having a clear and organized system for working bolsters your confidence and your rapport with clients.
The great thing about your career is that it's not static, and you can make a change at any time.
This article is brought to you by PDH Now, which provides quality continuing education for professional engineers based on a NCEES Model Rule that defines a course as one with a clear purpose and objective that will maintain, improve, or expand the skills of knowledge relevant to the licensee’s field of practice. For more information, please contact us today!