2 | Readiness

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Chapter 2

Self-Employment Readiness


Go to Business Owner Traits Video Video

Click the image above to play the "Business Owner Traits Video"

Focus Area 1

Introducing Self-Employment Readiness

Sticky notes in a notebookIntroduction

Self-employment is not as easy as hanging an “open for business” sign. Running a successful business requires more skills than delivering your product or service. You need to know how to market your business, keep track of your financials, and manage day-to-day operations. This chapter helps you figure out if self-employment is a good fit. It explores some common myths about self-employment. It then asks you to think critically about your ability to run a business.

Click through the tabs in this section to learn about self-employment readiness.

If you are unsure how to navigate this site, click on the Website Navigation heading at the very top of the page.

You can download a print-only version of Chapter 2: Self-Employment Readiness (PDF) for reference. You can download additional materials included with this chapter, including the Rate Your Entrepreneurial Potential Worksheet, Self-Reflection Worksheet, and Readiness Self-Assessment Worksheet.

Man holding pen looking down at deskMyths

Have you heard people say they should be self-employed because they don’t like working with others? This is just one myth about self-employment. To get a better picture of what self-employment involves, click on the Myths & Realities button below to explore some myths and realities of business ownership. Then, click on the Quiz Yourself button to check your understanding of the content.


Man standing behind a counter smiling Business Owner Traits

In general, business owners have passion, confidence, and self-discipline. They also have skills to manage money and keep track of many demands. This section explores business owner traits to help you figure out if self-employment is a good fit.

Click on the Entrepreneurial Potential button to learn about some self-assessments.


Pencil on top of notebookReadiness Self-Assessment

This section introduces the resources, skills, and accommodations you need to become self-employed. Some of the information will be built upon in later chapters.

Click on the Readiness Questions button to get started.


Glasses on paperChapter Review

Before exploring a business idea, it is important to consider if self-employment is a good fit. This chapter covered:

  • Some common myths about self-employment
  • Traits of successful business owners
  • Self-employment readiness

As you went through this chapter, you may have decided self-employment was not a good fit for you right now. That is okay. Self-employment is not a good fit for many people.

Click on the Prepare button to outline thoughts to share with your counselor about your readiness for self-employment.

Counselors, click on the Counselor Review button for additional information you might consider.  


Then, check your understanding of the chapter material in Focus Area 2 (below).  

Focus Area 2

Check Your Understanding

Question mark on paperChecking Readiness

Read each of the three scenarios and think about why self-employment is a good fit or poor fit for Ann, Leroy, and Willard. Each scenario includes a quiz about that person's self-employment fit. Check your answers as you go through the quiz.



Hands working on zipperScenario 1: Ann

Ann feels like a home-based online business would be a good fit for her sewing and alteration skills. 

  • Ann lives in a rural community with few job opportunities and limited public transportation. She cannot drive. 
  • Ann pays her bills using her SSDI monthly payment. 
  • She does not have much savings but says she can borrow money from her parents to cover some living costs, if needed. 
  • Ann pays her bills online and has good computer skills. She does not have any bookkeeping experience but would like training in this area. 
  • Ann’s disability makes it hard for her to work long days. She needs to rest before she becomes fatigued to manage her pain. 
  • Ann believes working from home will help her have the flexibility to rest when she needs to.


Dirty hand holding screwdriverScenario 2: Leroy

Leroy has an erratic work history, but is a skilled car mechanic. 

  • Most of his past jobs lasted a short time. He usually quit due to disagreements with his boss or other employees when they told him what to do. 
  • Leroy feels like self-employment would be a good option because he can work for himself, set his own hours, and call the shots. 
  • He is not trained in business accounting, but has strong math skills and could take on most of the business management tasks. 
  • He has some savings, enough to last about one year. 
  • Leroy has a mental disability that causes him to have significant mood swings. He is currently on a new medication that appears to be effective. 
  • Leroy has a criminal record related to partner violence. He currently lives alone.


Hands dropping food garnishes on a plateScenario 3: Willard

Willard is passionate about cooking and would like to start his own food cart. 

  • He has some restaurant experience but was stressed by the hectic pace and need to multi-task. He has mostly worked in entry-level kitchen positions.
  • Willard does not have business management experience.
  • He is not good at math and has passable computer skills. 
  • Willard would probably need help with day-to-day accounting activities and with maintaining inventories. 
  • He has enough savings to cover his personal expenses for six months, but is unsure of other sources of funds.