Wayne Bettess looks at the traps tradespeople can fall into when they start out as self-employed, and whether there should be more training for the business side of the job…

When you’re a competent, skilled tradesperson you’re in high demand, so inevitably many will want to become their own boss and set up as self-employed.

You’re great at your job, so the time has come to venture out under your own name. That’s when the ‘Success Trap’ starts to kick in.

While most would have spent years training to learn their craft, the attention was on the technical skills you need work on the tools.

Most tradespeople would never have even thought about the ‘Off the Tools’ part of it all.

Doing the work is mostly the easy part, it’s the business side of things that I see many people struggling with. This simply comes down to the fact that we were never educated on the subject. You only know what YOU know.

You take the leap

When you become self-employed, life begins to change. Many seek the freedom that self-employment can bring. The ability to have control of your working life and make your own schedule. Sadly for the majority, this rarely becomes the reality.

Once you leave employment, you lose the structure that allowed you to thrive in doing the job. Now that is all gone.

On the face of it that’s a good thing right? NO IT’S NOT! Unless you have very strong self-discipline, many will start to fall in the same traps that come with quick growth.

You’re good at your job, people like you and the work you do, so they inevitably start to recommend you. Then you start getting so much work you can’t handle it on your own, so you decide to get some extra hands to help.

The jobs are coming in thick and fast, but slowly it starts to catch up with you. When that phone rings you begin to dread it. You soon realise that not every tradesperson has the same standards as you do.

The Pain Starts

Customers start to complain because you’re not getting back to them as quickly as you used to.

You start to resent going to work, you’re missing time with your family. Money seems to fly in the bank but fly out just as fast, you feel trapped, unmotivated and alone.

Well my friends, you do not have to fall into this ‘Success Trap’. The first step is to start to seek out education on running a business. This will start to build some core foundation knowledge for you to build on.

I’ll close this article with a famous quote: “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail”.

Wayne started his career as a Corgi Registered gas engineer at the age 19, and went on to launch his first business at the age of 22. Most recently, he co-founded ‘Off the Tools’ which is dedicated to empowering tradespeople to achieve more in business and life.

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