Ever dreamed of starting your own business and being your own boss?
To be free of another’s command and control, to be able to pursue your own choices, to build on your dreams instead of following another’s?
It all sounds so glorious and empowering, doesn’t it?
Here’s the thing about being our own bosses, though.
We are not always the best bosses of ourselves.
We can be such taskmasters. Or infuriatingly wishy-washy. Or terribly judgmental about our work. In fact, we can be as maddening as the bosses that we love to hate.
It was a steep learning curve for me when I jumped into the crowded entrepreneurial pool in 2014. I won’t sugarcoat it—building my own business from scratch is one of the hardest things I’ve ever done in my whole life.
Nonetheless, there isn’t anything else I’d rather be doing (and that includes laying around on a beach somewhere in Fiji, downing drinks with umbrellas on them).
No surprise here, the number of things for which I am now responsible as a business owner has shot through the roof. That bit about having to wear multiple hats when you own your own business? It’s dang true.
And of those hats, one of the hardest I have to wear is… wait for it… being my own boss.
Yes, it’s glorious alright. But it’s also challenging and at times, downright excruciating.
After having my turn at it for just about a year now, I’ve learned these five truths about being your own boss. If taking on the world on your own is on your dream list, you definitely want to take note.
Truth #1. You have to figure out what you want to do.
For real. There’s no one else around who will tell you what idea to pursue, what kind of business you’ll want to create, or how you’ll want to serve your clients and customers.
If you ended up with something that you’re not exactly thrilled about, well… that would be on you. You’d have built it.
Truth #2. You have to know how to motivate yourself.
If you’re used to having external validation, this may be a tough one to crack. There isn’t going to be anyone else who will pat you on the back, give you glowing performance evals or promises of promotion.
Especially in the beginning stages – when you won’t have thousands of customers lining out your door, waiting for the release of your new service or product – 100% of the motivation will have to come from within. Which means you’ll have to be in tune with your own triggers and your own process for getting yourself psyched.
Truth #3. You have to know how to prioritize all the things on your plate.
There will never be a day when you’ll have nothing to do. Your to-do list will be pages and pages long. It comes with the territory of wearing multiple hats.
No one else will be around to give you directions, telling you which project has top priority and which ones to put on the back burner. So, you’ll need to learn how to prioritize fast or you’ll end up killing yourself.
There will be things to which you’ll say “Hell, yes” and “Hell, no“, or even “Hmm, maybe.” Guess what? You get to figure out which ones go into which bucket.
Truth #4. You have to come up with the ideas yourself.
Do you remember when your boss gave you your team’s annual goals? Or when the CEO announced the company’s new strategic direction? Or when R&D came up with new product lines?
Well, look in the mirror. That’s all you. You’ll have to create the vision for your business and decide on your strategy. Perhaps you won’t have to make the products yourself, but you’ll still need to develop the ideas for the products and services that you’d like to offer the market.
Truth #5. You have to figure out how to execute on those ideas.
The one thing you won’t be lacking? Information.
There are books. Courses and programs. Experts up the wazoo. The Internet will serve you hundreds and thousands of sources of useful (and useless) data. Data that you’ll have to sift through and understand to find the golden nuggets.
Ultimately, and hopefully armed with relevant information, you’ll have to figure out how to execute. How to deliver to the world the thing that you want to world to see, or experience, or benefit from.
“Well, I won’t have to do it all myself.”
Perhaps you’re thinking that you won’t have to do it all yourself. And you’re right.
Sure, you can hire experts along the way to help you figure things out. You can outsource some tasks. Even decide to have a business partner so that you can share the responsibilities.
No matter what you might do to lighten the load, these five truths will remain in some form or fashion.
Being your own boss can be a rewarding and fulfilling career choice. It’s best to make this choice with eyes wide open so that you can be prepared and know what to expect of yourself.