How to successfully work for yourself if you’ve only got an engineering background and zero experience of business

I still remember when I quit my job and started working for myself.

I was a coder, a programmer, a developer.

I had zero experience of business.

And eventually things got so bad at the place I worked that I just leapt into the dark.

Looking back on it, it was terrifying. And possibly stupid.

I made it through, but it’s been a rocky road at times.

And if I were doing it over, there’s one thing I would tell past me.

Do your research

Choose an audience.

Specialise. Pick a niche. A narrow one.

This is actually terrifying and it feels like it’s hard to do.

But once you do it, it’s one of those things where you feel the relief flood over you, as everything else becomes easier.

Research your audience

The reason you need to pick a niche is you then need to research your audience.

If your niche is too wide, you won’t find consistent data – at least not data that’s consistent enough for you to use on a small scale (it’s different for organisations with huge budgets – they can afford to throw money at a problem).

And the things you need to learn?

Where do they hang out, what problems do they talk about, what solutions do they pay for and what language do they use to discuss those problems?

Help people

Now you know where your audience is, you can go there and help them. Discuss their problems, suggest solutions and, because you’re using words that they know and understand, you will become an expert in their eyes.

Because, ultimately, everyone wants to work with the expert. Everyone pays more to work with the expert. The expert gets more done in less time. The expert is more likely to succeed.

But you can’t be an expert in everything, you can’t help everyone.

So stop putting it off and choose an audience. And if you still can’t choose, take a look at my free “Hacker’s Guide to Quitting your Job