Life Skills Development/Module Five/Self Employment

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Being employed by someone else or being self employed, may be good for you. Your choice depends on your interests and preparedness. Some of you may not be able to gain employment at the end of your formal education. There is no need for despair. Many governments are encouraging persons to become self-employed. This may also be an option even if you can find a job in the private or public sector. This unit is designed to help you make informed decisions on the type of employment best suits you and your skills.


At the end of the unit,learners will be able to:

  1. Analyze the job market for self-employment opportunities
  2. Demonstrate an understanding of the qualities necessary for self-employment
  3. Compare the advantages and disadvantages of working as an individual or in a co-operative.

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  1. apprenticeship
  2. co-operative
  3. job market
  4. self-employment

Topic 1: Why Become Self-employed


In doing this unit, you will have already completed your formal education and need to be employed to take care of your daily needs. You have made the decision to become self-employed.What are the advantages and disadvantages to self-employment? This topic will expose to you options available in both public and private employment. This will enable you to explore the advantages and disadvantages of self employment and how you would prepare for this.

Learning Outcomes

  • Demonstrate an understanding of the qualities necessary for self-employment.
  • Discuss the necessary prerequisites for being self-employed.

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Discuss the advantages and disadvantages, record your responses on a T-Chart. A sample is provided below. {

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You should have noticed that we gave you a lot of information. Use the pointers from this lesson to formulate a questionnaire in order to interview a successful business person/entrepreneur.The interviewee must be in business for more than ten years. At the end of your interview, use the information you have collected to write a report. Make sure that the report reflects the points covered in the lesson. You do not have to give the name of the person, but you must say how many years he/she has been in business.

These are some guiding questions:

  1. How long have you been self-employed?
  2. Why did you chose self-employment instead of formal employment?
  3. How did you get started in business?
  4. What were some of the stumbling blocks that you encountered?
  5. Do you have any regrets about the choice you made? Please specify?
  6. Would you recommend self-employment to young persons today?

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In this lesson you have looked at self employment. We have taken you through some of the advantages and disadvantages of self-employment. You have reflected on the necessary training needed and you can finance your business. Furthermore, you have been given a 'roadmap' to becoming self employed. We hope that this topic has given you something to think about in being self employed and venturing into a business of your choice.


Topic 2: Becoming a successful self employer


Self employment is a challenging option. Most people who take on this challenge have well developed skills especially in the areas of leadership, entrepreneurship, project management, public relations, monitoring and evaluation and communication. Like any other life venture, it needs resources to start and to be sustained. The key to success for any employment is planning. This topic has been designed to equip you with the necessary skills as well as enhancing personal interests in self employment.

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Upon successful completion of this unit, learners should be able to
  • Explain resources needed to start up a business
  • Define essential skills for becoming self-employed

Defining Self Employment

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Revisit the definition of self employment that was given in Topic 1. What does it mean to be self employed? Think and talk about people in your community that own businesses.

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You might have heard people talking about ‘being-your-own-boss’. Do you know what they mean? Probably yes. Being your own boss may mean that you own a business therefore, self employment denotes working for oneself.

Essential Skills for Self Employment

You can always become self employed and having these skills will increase your chances of succeeding. You will probably be successful if you are:

  • Innovative and creative
  • Good in public relations
  • Self directed and show initiative
  • Self reflective
  • Committed
  • Applying good record keeping skills
  • Organized and can manage your business affairs well

Other skills are discussed in a module dealing with entrepreneurship skills.

Necessary Resources

To be self employed requires you to have resources.

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In pairs, talk about what you will need if you are to:
  1. buy or purchase equipment
  2. plan to have more than one activity/tasks to be done
  3. consider how long it will take in starting up your business
  4. keep your business up to date and in the forefront.

You may have realised having worked through the exercise that there are critical factors to be considered when setting up your business. Lets take a closer look at what you may have covered in your conversations. Maybe you have covered the following:

Human Resource

People are the most important resource in your business. How you relate with and to your employer/employee/customers/public will directly impact upon the success of your business.

Financial Resource

Money is a basic resource in setting up and running your business. Remember you will need to purchase equipment, pay utilities and workers, rent, lease or build your business premises

Time Resource

The common saying of Time lost is never returns emphasises that time is important. Think about if you have to put your business up in five days. It will require careful planning and managing of your time well in order to achieve this goal.

Information Resource

You may have heard people saying knowledge empowers. Simply this means that you need to have the right and enough information to run your business. Imagine how it would be to think of starting a business and realising your next door neighbour is running the same business. Of course you can run the same business but you need to have taken known and prepared for this competition. Gather as much information as possible in helping you to make these important decisions.

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Self Assessment

If you were to start your own business of poultry farm, what resources do you think you will need. Do a short write up of the needed resources and what you will do with them

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You have learned that to become a successful self-employer requires that you possess some skills. I hope that if one day you desire to have your own business you will be well prepared as you now know what it takes to be 'your own boss'. Also, you have been reminded that certain resources are neeeded for you to start a business. These resources, for example, finance and information are essential as no information can start without them.