I currently work as a maintenence electrician at a local open pit mine, but I will soon have met all of the requirements to perform electrical work as a contractor. One of the reasons that I am doing this is to challenge myself, to see if I am really capable of succeeding on my own. Another reason, and perhaps the main reason, is that I like the work that we do. It is challenging both mentally and physically, and I have grown to enjoy it. My biggest concern is causing injury to someone by making a mistake, or faulty installation. This is why I believe that electrical work can't and shouldn't be rushed, lives are at stake. Has anyone else had this fear of the trade?
Lets put it this way, if you do not feel this way when you are working, I would seriously be wondering what was your malfunction? To me I use the feeling as a gauge. I'll do something, I double check it and sometimes I tripple check. It is not I doubt my skills, I do not allow complicacy to slip in on me on my work. There is no room for it in the electrical trade.
ricker, I too came from an industrial background. I never needed a license to work in a plant or factory. One day I ran into a helper that I had trained and he told me he got his electrical masters license and contractors license. That very day I called the vocational college and the rest is history. I have a masters and a contractors card in SC. I was fortunate enough to get about 10 years in construction before I got into industrial. I still carry both cards but never have really used them except for resumes. Now that I am disabled I still keep both up to date. If you have met the requirements for testing and licensing, go for it! You will be able to saturate your current knowledge with your new found qualifications. Even if you don't ever use your accreditations, you will always have the satisfaction that YOU improved your technical ability. You will have the qualifications and have the papers to prove it. Along with this forum there a couple real good ones that you can use as sounding board. Many contractors ask questions when they are not sure. We will never know everything and we learn something new everyday. So savor this opportunity, as very few people can acheive what looks to be within your reach. When you are concerned about any job or project, you can easily get help from any of the forums and the AHJ in the jurisdiction. Good luck and keep in touch.
A great way to avoid working in "fear" is to gain confidence through researching the work you are faced with that you're not sure about.
This forum is an outstanding resource for that confidence, but do whatever you need to in order to achieve knowledge. Someone here has (more than likely) been through whatever new thing you are facing, and we are all happy to help when asked nicely.
No matter how long you have been in this field, and many of us here have quite a few years behind us, you will occasionally be confronted by a challenge - it's part of the fun of this job.
Don't be afraid to ask, and to ask the same questions of several different people. Weigh the answers you get and figure out what you think will best suit your situation.
I was once told "if you always do everything the right way, you'll never do anything the wrong way." I think that means just don't get rushed or careless.
Whatever you do, don't leave your old job before you have everything in place to have you business up and running.
We could have a 40 item list for this but it's main items would be company name (inc - to protect yourself), a website (and register close names to it to keep the competition from rereouting people to theirs), a easy to remember phone number, a logo, all licenses in place, all insurances in place, Invoices and business cards printed, a truck (preferrably paid for), some ads working for you and perhaps join the local chamber of commerce to mingle with other business people.
My first move was to buy the book "how to start a small business" from amazon.com.