The ‘being my own boss’ dream is that we answer only to ourselves, we do what we want when we want, money rolls in and there’s time for the personal stuff we want to do. Being my own boss is the dream that kick starts so many small businesses. During the first few years, we all start to wonder where the dream went because we don’t feel like we’re being my own boss. I would even guess that right now there’s many of you who are thinking that being my own boss is more a nightmare than a dream.
I thought I would use this post to share with you my lessons on being a small business owner and the magic of being my own boss.
I have been my own boss now for over 6 years – before that I was a joint boss with my husband and before that in corporate Australia. I hope that this will let you have some perspective on how you might be feeling about where your business is now and to let you know that you’re not alone. And for those who are still to start, I hope this will give a balanced view of what its really like being my own boss.
Yes, I answer to myself – and to clients.
I have something like 10 bosses at the moment. 10 different individuals could call or email me, and I would most likely agree to do what they said – if I desired to keep them as paying clients.
Sometimes, being my own boss requires more flexibility than when I worked at a large corporation. It also requires that my family be flexible and understanding when last minute changes happen – especially if I’m working from the home office. Deadlines are deadlines.
Even if you don’t have clients, you have an audience or a market and make no mistake – they are the boss. For example, each one of you are my boss when I’m working on a post like this one.
Yes I do what I want and what my business needs from me.
I need to comprehend every aspect of how to run a business – even when I’m using specialists or outsourcing. I need sales, accounting, insurance, customers, billing, marketing, technology, research, relationships and cash flow. I also need to be sharp, aware and always thinking of what’s next. Bear in mind – “the buck stops here” !
Yes, I have an income and now I pay for my training, my travel and my office supplies.
Plus the money isn’t a regular fortnightly wage. It is noncontinuous and typically weeks between deposits – either as a result of I’m still completing the job, there is no work, or because a client is late paying a bill. This is the hardest part in a new business because it will feel like you’re going backwards financially. A good business plan and good financial planning skills will manage this.
Yes, I do have time to pursue my personal interests and I can be lonely.
I like that I can wander into my office when I’m awake or feel like it. I can also do things in the middle of the day or have tradesmen, etc. However, I still work weekends and odd hours if I need to in order to complete a project, but I tend to approach that with a different attitude because I made the choice to work for myself.
One thing being my own boss brings is a sense of isolation.
Freedom sounds good – until it’s staring you in the face. Knowing that you could do anything today can be absolutely horrifying and totally distracting. You stare at the computer, paralysed, and second-guess yourself into a meltdown. At the end of the day we all need fellow colleagues who understand our work and our problems. In my world my colleagues are other independent business owners and I connect with them online and real world. No matter how I connect, I find a community packed with sharing knowledge, helpfulness and encouragement brought on by all of us being within the same place or have already been there. The atmosphere of my little community tends to be more collaborative and cooperative than the surroundings I experienced in corporate Australia.
Being my own boss can seem daunting – there’s fear of the unknown and wearing so many hats that sometimes I don’t know if I’m coming or have gone. But, I wouldn’t miss it for the world. I still occasionally go into a corporate headquarters, but I know that’s not where I do my best work.
And that’s the real question – “What environment do I best feel a sense of accomplishment and reward?” Your answer to the question can offer you insights on whether or not you are able to be your own boss. So even if the fantasy and reality don’t always match up, being my own boss is a far better alternative for me. What’s been your experience? I’m sure others would love to hear your stories.