When I graduated from a Career Development Practitioner program in 2005, I'd never have predicted I would eventually venture out on my own and launch a private career counselling business.
Entrepreneurship was never in my realm of thought; I am not a risk taker. Over the years, I have consistently scored full-strength on the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator tool as an ESFJ (Extravert, Sensing, Feeling and Judging). The letter that stands out as not typical to exploring the self-employment path is the J for judging. ESFJ's tend to prefer "a planned or orderly way of life, like to have things settled and organized, feel more comfortable when decisions are made, and like to bring life under control as much as possible."
A gradual process
Starting my own business was a gradual process that helped me manage the uncertainty of the endeavour to move beyond my "judging" trait of needing predictability and stability within my career. I gained valuable experience working at non-profit organizations to help people manage sustainable employment.
With an expanded toolbox, I began to investigate other options and identify the positives of being my own boss, such as flexibility, continual learning and a sense of pride and accomplishment. While navigating the process with our three sons, I identified a need in the community for career exploration for high school students.
Starting with a small home practice
With the knowledge and certification as a CCDP, I felt confident that I could make consulting a successful venture. I considered myself a "career tutor," supplementing the in-school counselling with additional focus and a commitment to taking the guesswork out of the post-secondary application process. So I began, one client at a time.
My home-based practice is not limited to high school students. It includes an equal number of 20- to 65-year-olds seeking career clarity, confirmation and professional advice.
My marketing tools have been minimal, which keeps the expenses manageable. It started with a website, and in the last five years, I have participated in a YouTube video, added signage to my car, attended countless networking events and volunteered with my local business association.
Self-employment: Satisfying and flexible
Most days, I continue to research, learn and enjoy the opportunity to grow. Self-employment is not for everyone—there are ebbs and flows, irregular schedules and evening sessions. It's not nine to five, but it is incredibly satisfying and flexible—and the commute is fantastic! It's another option to ponder.