You can be your own boss, but we want you to know what you’re getting into. It’s not just money, sports cars, and champagne toasts. It’s highs, lows, celebrations, and disappointments. It’s a journey.
Entrepreneurs and business owners are often stereotyped as always traveling the world, flying first class, sipping cocktails on the beach, or lounging by the poolside all day long. Sure, that’s life for the fortunate .001%—but that’s not the day-to-day life of your typical entrepreneur.
You’ll have long sleepless nights grinding out what needs to be done, and you’ll need to tap a shoulder or 2 to ask a favor. You’ll have days when you’re overwhelmingly busy and days when you don’t know what to do. It’s all part of being an entrepreneur.
All this is to say that being your own boss is incredible—but it’s not all sunshine and rainbows.
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This article will take you through exactly what it’s like to be your own boss. We’ll walk you through the reality check, pros and cons, and must-have traits before giving you the step-by-step process for how to become your own boss.
Traits You Need to Be Your Own Boss
It’s fluffy and sweet to say anyone can be their own boss, but that’s just not the case. Not everyone is made out for this kind of work, and that’s OK.
Just like there are special people in this world who love numbers (bless you, accountants) and others who love to code (developers, we’re talking about you), there are unique individuals who can be the boss.
Here are a few must-have traits you’ll need to be your own boss:
Overnight success stories are few and far between—expect to invest time and money before you see the fruits of your labors. At times, you’ll be tempted to quit and go back to the cushy, uninspired 9-to-5.
You’ll need to be patient and hold on. It’s always going to be challenging initially, but things start to smooth out as you learn the ropes and pick up the momentum.
You’re the boss. Nobody is going to tell you to get to work, stop watching YouTube, or pick up the slack. You’re going to need to have the self-discipline to notice (and look for) these things yourself and take action when you see something that needs doing.
You’ll also need the self-discipline to back off. You’ll do your business, your customers, and yourself no favors by hustling more than you can handle. Learn when to slow down and take a break to avoid burnout. There are always things to do, so it’ll be hard to ease up—but you’ll have to do it to succeed in the long run.
You’ll need a purpose. Being your own boss isn’t so much a purpose as a perk of being in the driver’s seat. Find what motivates you and gives you energy. Harness your drive and turn it into results.
From time to time, you’ll lose your drive. That’s OK—it’s all part of the journey. Learn to recognize when you’re losing steam and find ways to get your head back in the game. That might mean stepping back from the business for a long weekend, or it might be reading an email from a happy customer.
Find a drive that’ll keep you going, and tap into it when the going gets tough.
You’ll need to be able to ruthlessly prioritize. As the boss, you’ll have a million things you can do but only a handful of things you should do. Learn to avoid shiny object syndrome and stay focused.
That’s easier said than done, but it’s easy to lose yourself chasing the next idea or spending hours trying to find ways to save more time. Prioritize your to-do list, make a schedule, and stay on track.
This isn’t necessarily a must-have trait of a successful boss—plenty of less-than-pleasant people out there know how to run a business like a well-oiled machine.
However, don’t forget to be the boss you always wished you had. When you hire employees, remember to treat them with kindness and respect. Remember the reasons that made you want to quit your 9-to-5 and work to create a better environment for those you employ.