Ready to be your own boss?
“I should be self-employed.”
This thought creeps up on everyone with a steady job now and then. You crave something besides the 9-to-5, something that doesn’t involve answering to a higher-up or checking in each time you want to stray from a predetermined process or operational goal. What would being your own boss really be like? It’s got to be better than what you’re currently doing, right?
Yes and no. Self-employment can be a wonderful step to finding a fulfilling career, but it’s also not as simple as just setting out and deciding to change the world through your particular product or service. We’ve put together some strategies to keep in mind while you figure out how to be your own boss.
You are the CEO of your life
According to marketing guru Jay Abraham, seeing yourself as the CEO of your own life is one of the best ways to take control and become 100% accountable for where your decisions lead you. Do you necessarily need to be your own boss to act as the CEO of your life? No, but you may want to be after you see the enormous benefits of taking proactive control of creating a meaningful existence.
Jay explains that being the CEO of your life means you’re the top dog, chief visionary, master strategist, ultimate decision-maker and ace of accountability. You define what is possible, achievable, needed and wanted, then you create a bridge to what you need to do to make it happen. This mindset will help you strengthen critical leadership skills in every area of your life and leads many to strike out on their own so they can exert even greater control over their destinies.
Your business is not about you – it’s about your clients
Being your own boss means putting your clients ahead of yourself. Take pride in your product or service, but don’t fall in love with it – because the more you love it, the less willing you will be to make changes. Your clients are ultimately the ones you are answering to, and it’s them that you need to keep happy. Once you realize your customers’ lives are at the heart of your business, you’ll understand that their needs come first. If they want changes in what you produce, you need to listen to them and implement these changes.
Being your own boss means you are on the hook for producing the work and keeping up with changes in your field. Are your nearest competitors doing something different and offering greater value to your clients? Committing to constant and strategic innovation is one of the keys when learning how to be your own boss. You better adjust your practices, or even your most loyal clients will leave you for someone else.
Keep calm and carry on
Want to be your own boss so that you get to pick your clients and what you work on? While this is definitely a perk, it comes at the cost of a regular paycheck. Depending on what you arrange with your clients, you may not receive money every two weeks; it might be every month, or at the successful end of every project. There may be times when you’re flooded with work and flush with cash and there will be other times when the gigs and the money dry up and you’re casting as wide a net as you can. You’ll have potential clients tear apart your work or decline to work with you at all, but you’ll also have those who sing your praises and make you feel on top of the world. When you commit to being your own boss, you have to accept there will be days when you long for the security of the day job even if you are pursuing your passion.
When learning how to be your own boss, you need to be in charge of your own emotions. You’ll need strength to make it through these challenges and getting upset or anxious when these situations happen will only damage your ability to do your work. Instead of focusing on how concerned you are about client reactions, focus on getting your current assignment done to the best of your ability.
Diversification is a word you’ll have to become very familiar with if you want to learn how to be your own boss. Much like diversifying your portfolio, diversifying your freelance projects prevents you from being dependent on any one client. Resist the urge to depend on a single client, no matter how consistent the work or how large the commission. If you devote the bulk of your time and energy to them, what will happen if they abruptly struggle financially or stop using your services? Depending on your schedule, you should set aside a few hours at least every other week and devote that time to finding new customers and clients. That way, one client’s disaster won’t necessarily mean disaster for you – and as an added bonus, you’ll likely diversify your skill set, too.
Invest, invest, invest
If you want to know how to be your own boss, you have to get comfortable with investing. Tony Robbins has said investing is the most important financial advice he can provide to the self-employed. “Take advantage of the power of compounding,” he suggests, and let one small investment grow into a money machine over time. This money continues to accrue on the side, no matter what you’re doing; it can be your Dream Bucket money, your retirement and your emergency fund all at once. It can also help you achieve financial freedom so you no longer have to work a day job to fund your ideal lifestyle.
Don’t limit your investments to the financial arena. Being your own boss means constantly investing in yourself. Read books about leadership or new developments in your industry. Watch inspiring videos or take online classes. Create a personal growth plan that addresses career advancement a well as enhancing your relationships and promoting inner strength. The more you invest in yourself, the more likely your clients will be to invest in you.
Keep your portfolio updated
Want to find out how to be your own boss? That means you’re your own sales person, too. You need a record of what you provide, whether you’re a landscaper, a plumber or a freelance writer, and you need to be able to get this information to potential clients quickly. An easy-to-navigate website with specialty areas highlighted will usually suffice. How often you update your website or portfolio depends on how busy you are and how much client turnover you have, but aim to look it over at least once every three months and continually add examples of new projects you’re especially proud of. You should also post new blogs and articles on your site, as success at being your own boss is heavily influenced by what you publish.
If you don’t have strong design skills, work with a website designer who can do the work for you so your site is professional and effectively conveys your brand identity. Many of your prospects will look at your website before they ever contact you personally, so it needs to make a good impression.
How to become your own boss
Ready to take the leap but not sure how to be your own boss? Here are the steps you should follow:
1. Don’t immediately quit your day job
Just because you’ve decided that being your own boss sounds like the right choice, it doesn’t mean you should turn in your notice. Keeping your side venture while you slowly scale up relieves pressure and helps provide financial support while you figure out how to turn your passion into profit. You may end up working some nights and weekends to build your business, but it will be worth it.
2. Know your number
Before you learn how to be your own boss, you have to know how much money it will take to live on and build your business. Though money may not actually buy happiness, having enough to be comfortable is one of the keys to relieving stress and having an overall positive state of well-being. What are your monthly living expenses? How much of a budget will you need for marketing, equipment or other necessities? How much do you need in the bank before you feel comfortable going all-in with your new venture? Having solid answers to these questions will help you determine when the time is right to turn the dream of being your own boss into reality.
3. Put the infrastructure into place
As you work toward being your own boss someday, begin putting the infrastructure in place so you are ready to commit full-time when the time is right. This includes creating a loyal customer base, researching potential networking groups and figuring out where your permanent office space will be. You also want to make sure you have all the equipment needed, including hardware and software, for you to turn your side-gig into a career.
4. Work with a coach
Jay Abraham stresses that being the CEO of your life means recognizing you can’t do it alone. He states that one of the best things you can do as your own CEO is to find a coach who won’t settle for less. Though we are raised to think we should not have to ask for help and that we should know all the answers, the truth is that it’s our responsibility to find the right people to help us succeed. If you’re ready to be your own boss, get involved in Results Business Coaching and find a mentor who can help you through the process.
Jobs where you can be your own boss
There are plenty of lucrative jobs where you can be your own boss. Which one is right for you? It all depends on your skills, experience and what will make you feel fulfilled. Here are some options to consider:
- Freelance writer
- Marketing consultant
- Personal chef
- Graphic artist
- Website designer
- In-home child care
- Life, business or health coach
- Pet sitter
- Real estate agent
- Party or wedding planner
- Personal trainer
Whether you want to work independently or recruit a team, there are hundreds of jobs where you can be your own boss. You’re only limited by your imagination and willingness to put in the work.
In the end, the only person responsible for your happiness and well-being is you. If the 9-to-5 leaves you longing for more out of life, then taking the leap into self-employment and learning how to be your own boss may be the most rewarding decision you ever make.
What kind of boss are you?
Discover your inner potential and deepest talents with Tony Robbins’ Business Identity quiz. Uncover your gift and leverage your strengths to reach new levels of success.