Are you stuck in a traditional job as someone’s employee, often catching yourself daydreaming about what it would be like to be your own boss? If being self-employed is your dream, you’re not alone. So many people talk about quitting their traditional jobs and becoming their own boss. Maybe you often think of it as well.
You probably see a lot of people on Instagram posting about how cool their life is because they’re their own boss. You see the hashtags #EntrepreneurLife and you think being your own boss sounds pretty awesome.
But do you really have what it takes to be your own boss?
Many of the people who have a traditional 9-5 job as someone’s employee, dream of the ‘freedoms’ of being their own boss. But being your own boss doesn’t result in as much freedom as you think.
If you dream of the day you get to be your own boss, know that you might not be ready for the role. Those who fantasize about being self-employed often fail to think about the drawbacks and hardships that come with being your own boss. You shouldn’t pursue this way of life until you’ve learned about the challenges and struggles that come with the self-employed, entrepreneur lifestyle. Part of being ready to be your own boss, is being aware of the hardships you’ll be facing.
Are there a plethora of perks to being self-employed? Yes. It’s undeniable that there are many benefits to being your own boss. However, the mistake many people make is only dreaming about the perks, and failing to learn about the drawbacks or the heavy responsibilities.
Most people who have succeeded as their own boss, believe that the juice was worth the squeeze, and the reward of being their own boss is worth the challenges.Most people who have succeeded as their own boss, believe that the juice was worth the squeeze, and the reward of being their own boss is worth the challenges. Click To Tweet
Not everyone is cut out for the self-employed way of life, though. The best way to find out if you’re cut out for it, and ready to be your own boss, is to keep reading this article.
I’m going to go over the benefits and the challenges of this lifestyle. I’ll be honest about the upside and the downside, the advantages and disadvantages, the pros and cons. I’ll explain what type of person can handle being their own boss, and what type of person might not be cut out for it.
I’m also going to confess what nobody tells you about being your own boss.
Lastly, I’ll go over the most important skills you’ll need to possess to successfully be your own boss. Which skills do you need to succeed as a self-employed business owner, freelancer, entrepreneur, or independent contractor? You’ll soon find out.
Perks of Being Your Own Boss
Why don’t we start with the good news? We’ll start with the upside to being your own boss – because yes, there’s definitely an upside. The benefits of being self-employed, and being your own boss, are things you’re probably already aware of. The freedom of being self-employed is one of the biggest perks.
Now, like I said before, you’re not going to be as ‘free’ as you think. However, you do gain certain freedoms like the flexibility to decide your own work schedule. Plus, you have the freedom to work from anywhere you’d like, whether that’s your favorite coffee shop, your custom-decorated home office, or at a fancy hotel.
In fact, plenty of people who are their own boss, are digital nomads, and take full advantage of the ability to work from anywhere.
You are not limited to two weeks vacation per year. And that’s a great perk. Yes, you may have to work while you’re on vacation, but a working vacation is better than no vacation at all.
You can wear whatever you want (unless you have client meetings) and you can start your work day at the time of your choosing (for the most part.)
You also don’t have to abide by someone else’s rules when you get to be your own boss. Now, you have a lot of autonomy. Suddenly, you have more control over your own life.
Nobody is going to be looking over your shoulder, micromanaging you. You’re the manager. And there won’t be any office drama or office politics. There won’t be any toxic or hostile work environments, either.
One of the greatest perks of being your own boss is that amazing sense of accomplishment. Congratulations – you did it. You became a self-made entrepreneur. You run your own show. It’s official: You march to the beat of your own drum. Now that’s an accomplishment to be proud of.
What Type of Person is Capable of Being Their Own Boss?
The type of person who is capable of succeeding as a self-employed individual, is an extremely self-motivated person, who is good with people and good at sales.
To be your own boss, you have to be self-disciplined, proactive, and productive. If you’re not a self-starter, you will struggle. You also have to be a decisive type of person.
You’ll have to make a lot of decisions by yourself, about your business and how to best use your time. You’ll be the decision-maker, so make sure you’re ready for the role.
The type of person who is ready to be their own boss, is generally someone who has a variety of modern skills, and a growth mindset.
Self-confidence, work ethic, and closing skills are also needed to be your own boss. At the end of this article, I’ll explain which skill is the most important skill to be your own boss.
Most People Struggle With Being Self-Motivated
Are you the type of person who is self-motivated? Do you consider yourself to be a self-starter who possesses self-discipline? You may think that you possess these traits, only to quickly find out that you don’t.
The truth is that most people struggle with being self-motivated. This is in fact one of the greatest challenges of being your own boss.
When you’re your own boss, there is nobody looking over your shoulder, telling you what to do. You have to be your own manager, and tell yourself what to do. This is a lot harder than it sounds.
Nobody is making you work, or supervising you, and this can lead to procrastination. You’re all alone quite often when you’re your own boss, and with the TV nearby and other distractions calling, it’s tough to stay strong.
Another issue is that self-employed people often have, is sleeping in.
Since they don’t technically have to wake up at a certain time (since they don’t have to be at work at a scheduled time) they often abuse this privilege by sleeping in way too late. What happens then? Each day they get less work done, as they slept in too late.
Self-discipline is waking up early even if you don’t have to. Self-motivation is remembering what you’re working towards and why it’s important to be productive. There are some differences between self-discipline and self-motivation, but you need both if you expect to be your own boss successfully. Self-discipline is used when motivation runs out, but self-motivation is how you get yourself going when you’re alone, without a team of cheerleaders cheering you on.
Before you decide to be your own boss, you should figure out what it will take for you to be a great self-starter. Figure out if you need to set up a home office in a part of your home with no TV nearby, and no distractions. Read some tips on how to make working from home more productive for you.
If you’re not sure yet if you’re cut out for it, start a side hustle from home while you’re working at your traditional job. Your side hustle allows you to get a taste of being your own boss on the side, to see if you have the self-motivation required to succeed. Mentally prepare yourself for the struggle of being your own boss, so that you understand how important self-motivation will be.
Employees Think Short-Term, While Entrepreneurs Think Long-Term
When you’re working for someone else at a traditional job, or you’re working for a company or a corporation, you have certain securities that you don’t have when you’re your own boss. You have stability. You don’t have to worry about much, other than showing up for your scheduled hours.
You’re focused on getting your bi-weekly paycheck. It’s the same every two weeks. Everything is very predictable and very stable, which allows you to think short-term, and not worry too much about the future.
In fact, most employees primarily just think about their next paycheck. Employees think short-term.
Entrepreneurs, however, think long-term. They think one, three, or five years ahead. Fueled by self-motivation, they think about what they’re building. And, they think about the reward five years from now, for today’s risk or today’s sacrifice.
Entrepreneurs need patience and they need to keep their goals in mind, allowing future rewards to motivate them to work harder today. I suggest creating a vision board or having wealth triggers in your home office to remind you of what you’re working towards. Keep your long-term vision in the forefront of your mind.
Expect to Get Paid Last
Most employees are only concerned with what benefits them, and are mostly concerned about their bi-weekly paycheck. They think about things like, I wonder what my Christmas bonus will be this year? And I hope I get a raise soon. They aren’t typically that concerned with what’s best for the company they work for. That’s an employee mentality. It’s basically me, me, me.
When you’re working for yourself, starting your own business, and being your own boss – you’re actually often putting others before yourself. It kind of feels like you’re working for others, even though you work for yourself. That’s the truth about being your own boss that nobody tells you.
If you’re your own boss, you’ll often get paid last. You’ll look at your revenue reports, your balance sheet, and the list of who’s under your payroll, and guess what? You get paid last. Everyone else gets paid before you get paid. You eat last.
I know many business owners who didn’t pay themselves for many years. After they paid their staff, the lease, the overhead and the expenses, any extra money would be invested back into the business. They didn’t take a paycheck. They survived because they did some freelance work on the side, or they had partner supporting them while they grew their business.
Some entrepreneurs work very hard for a decade, and sacrifice a lot, before they achieve real success. Being your own boss as an entrepreneur is hard work and sacrifice. But eventually, you might get to the point where your hard work pays off and your business takes off. At that point, you can reward yourself. Until then, you need to expect real sacrifice, responsibility, and hard work.
To Be Your Own Boss, You Need To Face Serious Responsibilities
People think being your own boss, or being an entrepreneur, means freedom. They think it means they can do whatever they want. That’s the wrong mentality, because there’s actually a lot of responsibility involved to be your own boss.
Successful entrepreneurs – true entrepreneurs – have a lot of responsibility. Low-level entrepreneurs or casual self-employed freelancers have a little more freedom and less responsibility.
However, true entrepreneurs realize quickly how much responsibility they have. As soon as you get to the level of running your own business, what happens? You’re now responsible for your team, your customers, your vendors, and if you’re a public company, then you’re responsible for your shareholders. This is why real entrepreneurs make a lot of money. Yes, they have a lot of expenses, and sometimes they eat last. But I myself don’t mind eating last, as long as I’m eating the most.
Many Different Types of Self-Employed People Are Their Own Boss
Being your own boss is different for everyone, depending on whether they’re a high-level entrepreneur, or a casual freelancer.
The gig economy (which I often call the skills economy) is thriving, and it allows for all walks of life to be their own boss. Many self-employed people can choose the level of responsibility they want.
What it’s like to be your own boss varies, depending on which type of self-employed lifestyle you go after.
There’s the self-employed freelancer, such as the freelance graphic designer, the freelance copywriter or the freelance writer. They have quite a bit of freedom and can work remotely, but they do have the responsibility of juggling a lot of clients. They don’t have a predictable monthly income because the number of clients will vary. Not all of their clients will pay well. What I mean is, perhaps not all of their clients will be high-ticket clients. But with the right skills, they can charge high rates, close high-ticket clients, and make great money.
Then there’s the digital nomad, who has a remote job either freelancing, blogging, or running an online eCommerce store. The digital nomad spends most of their money on travel. They invest the money they make into traveling the world.
There’s the coach or consultant who has a client-based business. They often rely on word-of-mouth referrals or social networking to get clients. This includes people who are life coaches, relationship coaches, SEO consultants, etc.
Don’t forget about the business owner or entrepreneur. Perhaps they started their own business because they came up with a great idea for a product or service. They’ve decided to take the leap, take the risk, and start a venture to make this business idea come to life. They’ve even hired staff. They’re going all in, stopping at nothing to make something for themselves.
Entrepreneurs Work Long Hours Because They’re Building Something From Nothing
We’ve established the fact that if you’re a casual freelancer, you’re your own boss with significant freedom and not as much responsibility.
However, if you’re your own boss as an aspiring entrepreneur, you’ll work long hours since you’re trying to build something from nothing. You may be your own boss, but you still have to work a lot. If you’re trying to build a customer base, grow an online company, or you’ve started your own business, you’ll probably be working more hours than you were working at your traditional job. If you’re prepared for these long hours, then you’re ready to be your own boss.
A Day in the Life of a Freelance Writer
Now, let’s talk a bit more about freelancers. They’re their own boss, too, so let’s go over what a day in the life of a freelancer is like.
One of the best remote jobs out there that allows you to be self-employed, is freelance writing. This could be freelance copywriting, freelance blog writing – it could be any type of writing that is in high demand. But what does a typical day in the life of a freelance writer look like? Before you’re ready to be your own boss and have a self-employed job like freelance writing, you should know what a typical day looks like for them.
Imagine this: You wake up at whatever time you feel like waking up, without abusing that privilege by sleeping in too late. You make yourself a coffee, and some breakfast. Then, you check your email to see if you have any new orders for your writing services. Your inbox says that you have two new requests for blog content writing.
You also see that one of your existing clients has e-mailed you, requesting an update on the order they placed for website copy.
You get out your notebook to write a to-do list of today’s action items. The first item on your list – the top priority – is to finish your existing client’s website copy. Next, you’ll reply to the two inquiries for blog content, confirming that they’re fine with your rates, and requesting a bit more information about the topics they’d like you to write about.
You decide to go for a walk, laptop in tow, to a cafe. This kills two birds with one stone since you get some fresh air and exercise, but you also get to spend the rest of the day working from your favorite cafe. You don’t feel like working from home today. You’d rather be around people, with the uplifting buzz of the cafe.
At the cafe, you open up your laptop and see that one of your new clients has emailed you back agreeing to your rates, and they’ve provided more information about what they need written. They need three blog posts about different natural remedies for anxiety.
You stay at the cafe for hours, and you finish writing two of the three blog posts. You decide that’s enough for the day, and just when you’re about to close your laptop, the other new client emails you back. They’re requesting that you give them a call, to go over their needs.
You decide you’ll call them while you walk home. By the time you get home, you have another new client in the books. Just like that. You make yourself some dinner, and relax for a couple of hours. Later that night, you start writing a blog post for your new client. You’re getting tired, and you want to go to bed, but the blog post is almost finished. You power through, finish it, and then get ready for bed.
How does that sound? As you can see, this freelance writer has to be disciplined, but they also make good use of the flexibility that comes with being self-employed.
Fear of The Unknown
The fear of the unknown is very common, but since becoming your own boss is an adventure full of unknowns, you must get over this fear.
Being afraid of the unknown is like being afraid of change. People who are afraid of change tend to only daydream about being their own boss. They’re too afraid to actually quit their predictable, stable, traditional job because they’re too afraid of change and too uncertain of what their new life would be like. It’s the fear of the unknown that makes many of you stay in your comfort zone, failing to explore other potentially better possibilities.
In a 2016 research paper published in the Journal of Anxiety Disorders entitled, Fear of the unknown: One fear to rule them all? Researcher R. Nicholas Carleton defines the fear of the unknown as, “an individual’s propensity to experience fear caused by the perceived absence of information at any level of consciousness or point of processing.” Carleton also explains that the fear of the unknown is an evolutionarily-supported fear, which is why it’s so tough to get over.
Literary icon H.P. Lovecraft famously said, “The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown.”
From an evolutionary standpoint, humans have forever been prone to classify a stimulus as threatening or nonthreatening based on knowns and unknowns. Unknowns would be potential threats, and as Carleton points out, that’s why the fear of the unknown is an adaptive trait.
Carleton’s research paper also explains that given the evolutionary advantage associated with the fear of the unknown, our default response to uncertainty has become associated with fear and the fight-or-flight response.
Is Your Crocodile Brain Telling You to be Fearful?
The Crocodile Brain generates our fight-or-flight responses. Unfortunately, it is quite primitive, not so attuned to the modern world’s uncertainty. The Crocodile Brain is stuck on survival mode. The unknown is a threat that the Crocodile Brain cannot handle. The Crocodile Brain can stop us from moving forward (due to fear) as its primary interest is our survival.
The Crocodile Brain won’t like the uncertainty and the risks associated with being your own boss. To make the Crocodile Brain feel safe, you need to feed it positive affirmations and a clear plan of action.
Changing your mindset is powerful, and can help you move forward instead of getting paralyzed by fear. But how do you change your mindset?
Choose to be Excited About The Unknown, Instead of Anxious
There are a variety of reasons why being your own boss is such as challenge and so full of unknowns. Research estimates that over 90% of small businesses fail in their first five years. But you don’t have to let statistics scare you.
If you’re truly ready to be your own boss, you’re more likely to succeed than fail. Plus, failure doesn’t have to be a bad thing, especially if you learned something.
Did you know that humans tend to respond to their ‘fear’ of the unknown with one of two emotions: Either anxiety or excitement.
Think about what I just explained. Some people are excited about what’s to come. What I mean is, the fact that what’s coming their way is unknown, excites them. Other people are anxious about the unknown, and they give in to the fear, and subscribe to the idea that the unknown is scary.
The reason why the unknown should be exciting, is because of one word: Possibilities. You don’t know what’s going to happen, but the possibilities are endless, and that’s exciting.
Choosing to be excited or anxious about the unknown is a mindset choice. Being anxious or afraid is the wrong mindset, and you might not do well as your own boss if that’s your mindset.
Positive Mindset and Emotional Stability
When you’re your own boss, you spend a lot of time isolated, working on your business. This is especially true when you’re just starting out, and you haven’t hired help yet.
Because of this excess of alone time, you’ll need to be a very emotionally stable person who is comfortable being alone.
You’ll also need a positive mindset, so that you can keep yourself motivated even on the hard days. You’ll need to be able to lift yourself up. Remember that at a traditional job, you often feed off the energies of your coworkers and they sometimes uplift you on the bad days. Being your own boss means that you need to be able to do that for yourself. Just remember that, because it’s extremely important.
The Most Important Skill You Need To Be Your Own Boss
The skills required to be self-employed and successful include time management skills, consistency, self-discipline, being tech-savvy, digital marketing skills, and being a great communicator.
Most importantly, however, are your closing skills. You are ready to be your own boss if you have great closing skills. You need closing skills to succeed as a self-employed individual in the competitive gig economy. Why? Because you need to know how to close high-ticket clients if you want to earn a real living as an entrepreneur or self-employed freelancer.
The better you are at closing, the more money you’ll make as a self-employed individual. This is especially true if you’re setting out to start something from nothing, building up your new business. However, even freelancers need to know how to pitch and how to close clients. Any self-made millionaire probably know how to close high-ticket offers on their own.
To learn the most important skill you’ll need to be your own boss, enroll in my exclusive High-Ticket Closer Certification Program. Succeeding as your own boss will be much easier, and much more prosperous if you learn this skill.