To succeed at self-employment you need to have a viable business idea, enough capital to get you through the initial stages of your endeavor, the ability to market whatever product or service you have decided to provide, and the discipline and initiative to strike out on your own. Education in basic business principles is also important.
Any one of these elements is not sufficient in itself to enable you to succeed at self-employment, but taken together they create a synergy that can lead you to build and run a successful business. With these components, your business can be either a supplemental or primary income for yourself and your family.
If you are especially good at making or doing a particular thing, and if you can identify the clients who will want to buy what you make or make use of what you do, then you have the gem of a viable business idea. But it isn't enough to just know how to do something. You also need to be able to do it in a cost effective way, and to create systems so that your product or service can be delivered by someone else as well. Even if you don't plan to hire employees right away, this is an important consideration which will help you plan for a business that has real potential to grow. Having good systems makes your business easy to run, even if you're doing everything yourself.
It almost always takes money to start a business, so if you are planning to derive a second income from your business, you should also be prepared for your primary livelihood to support your fledgling company, at least until you get it off the ground. You will need start-up money for licenses, and also for materials and equipment. You will also probably have expenditures related to marketing your business, especially at the beginning. Be willing to spend as much as necessary, but also be careful not to pay more than you need.
To succeed at self-employment you also need to keep accurate records reflecting every aspect of your company. Track your income and your expenses, so you can calculate your income, and pay your self-employment tax on time. Also keep thorough payroll records, and pay your employment taxes conscientiously.
Stay abreast of the legal requirements for employment benefits and employee rights. You can learn any applicable state and federal laws by taking online business courses for new business owners. Making sure your workplace is safe and treating your employees with some measure of consideration and taking care of them financially is not only a legal requirement for successfully running a business, stipulated in OSHA regulations and unemployment tax benefits and deductions, it also makes good business sense. If your employees are happy and feel that you are taking care of them, they will make sure to come through for you as well.