Ever wanted to be your own boss? Imagining what it’s like to not work a 9-to-5 schedule and having the freedom to work wherever life takes you? Do you want the added advantage of building your career at your own pace? While you’ve likely been tempted to throw in the towel and start your own business, it’s important to understand what the 6.5% of Americans working as their own boss have that makes them successful. Here’s an infographic by Megan Ritter condensing the wisdom and insight from recent as well as time-tested research for you to ponder and share.
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A few more details about what it takes to strike out on your own business journey follow.
Taking initiative is one of the most effective qualities of a boss, especially one that is an entrepreneur. If you plan and complete tasks without being told, you’re ready to take lead not only of others, but of yourself as well. Most employers value employees who take initiative, so even if you decide not to start your own business, learning to be proactive will be useful, especially if you decide to also be someone’s boss down the line.
What’s Your Motivation?
There are two types of employees:
- those who do the bare minimum to collect their paychecks
- those who go above and beyond their official job responsibilities to demonstrate value to their employer
Your will to succeed will give you an advantage in becoming your own boss. Many successful executives were their own bosses early on in their careers, such as Bill Gates. For you, is it serving others in a meaningful way? Perhaps, gaining flexibility in working hours? Or maybe just plain old desire for more money, more money?! Whatever your motivation, ensure that your chosen business endeavor provides that carrot. Starting a business is hard work so you will need to find satisfaction on really hard days.
A tell-tale sign of a well-organized and meticulous boss is how they arrange their desk. Although some people do thrive when their desks look like a tornado hit, it’s probably not the best strategy when you’re making the transition from employee to employer. Paying attention to detail and being highly organized are something high-ranking executives do; you should incorporate this into your strategy as well.
Short-term thought focuses on right now and maybe a little bit down the line. Long-term thinking ensures plans for longer periods of time. If you want to become your own boss, you need to think ten steps ahead, much like in chess. Long-term thinking is a skill that enables strategy and risk mitigation. Most successful bosses have learned to think long-term and they are ideal to lead any organization, including their own.
The Buck Stops Where?
The way you prioritize what your paycheck goes to is also a telling sign of whether or not you can be your own boss. Necessities such as food, clothing and shelter should top the list followed by saving for emergencies and the future (remember long-term thinking?). If you have extra left over after meeting your necessities including saving, you can take that trip you’ve always wanted, see your favorite sports team play, or buy that pair of shoes you’ve been eyeing. Often times, bosses handle budget decisions at the office, but learning to handle them as an employee as well as to manage your personal budget will prepare to strike out on your own.
Keeping Up Appearances
If you’re in a position of authority, you need to know how to interact with others in a way that draws people to you. Introverted people and those who shun social interaction won’t have what it takes to become their own boss. As your own boss, you’ll essentially be in charge of selling your products and/or services. You must connect with others to accomplish this, online and offline in the real world.
It’s Who You Know
Networking is essential if you’re your own boss. Building relationships with people who can help you find customers for your products and services will carry you a much longer way than you think. Start by helping others build their business or make useful connections. The favor might be returned. Whether meeting people on social media or face-to-face, focus on finding mutual benefit..
For Sale: You
Social media marketing can help you promote yourself as your own boss. Stay active on social media and share insightful ideas, your own and those of others. If you’re really good at it, your name recognition will shoot through the roof—you could be rubbing shoulders with some big names if your social media posts are shared or liked by influential people in your industry.
Do It For The Fans
Answering to a boss may have been stressful before, but despite the fact that you’re your own boss, there’s another boss to answer to: the customers. Customers should never be viewed as numbers on a graph. They should be valued as loyal people with complex needs and are seeking a viable solution to those needs—you may be that solution.
You’re The Boss Now
Being your own boss is a major achievement in your career. However, to make it work, you’ll need to take initiative, promote yourself, and be somebody your customers can easily connect with. If you can do these things, you can then not only say you’re your own boss—you can show it as well.