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Becoming your own boss: the need-to-knows

When people think about being their own boss, there’s often the misconception that you can wake up in the afternoon, sit around in your PJs all day, whilst drinking coffee and working in front of the TV. If you think this is true, then think again.

Becoming your own boss can be one of the most liberating and exciting things you can do. It’s a great opportunity to turn something you’re passionate about into a career. Although you may need to work long hours, particularly at the start, you can have much more flexibility than the strict 9 to 5 regime. You also have more responsibility and can make the decisions, so the sky really is the limit.

However, if you’ve ever thought about leaving your secure and well-paid job to set up your own business, it’s important to think it through thoroughly first and make sure you know all the facts. Here are 10 need-to-knows before you hand in your notice:

  1. You need to be prepared for hard work: Although the perks are great, you may find yourself working more rather than less, particularly when you’re getting started. You therefore need to be ready to put in a lot of hard work and potentially long hours, in order to get your business off the ground.
  2. You need to be disciplined: Not only do you need to put in the hours, you also need to be strict, otherwise you could find yourself sitting behind your computer 24/7.
  3. You need to be able to stay motivated: You will no longer have a manager looking over your shoulder and keeping you on track. It’s therefore important you can stay focussed and keep yourself motivated throughout the day, to ensure you get things done.
  4. You need to be passionate about your business: Make sure you find something you love doing and you are happy to put 100% into. If you’re not interested in what you do, it will be hard to stay motivated and your business could quickly fizzle out.
  5. You need to be organised: Running your own business requires lots of organisation. You need to stay on top of your deadlines, keep all your finances in order and much more.
  6. You need to wear lots of different hats: Although you may be going into business because you want to become a photographer, a personal trainer, a writer or even a bookkeeper, you’ll be the chief of everything. This means that as well as being face-to-face with customers, you’ll also need to do the marketing, sales, finances, recruitment, office admin and much more.
  7. You may have less financial stability: Do you love knowing that you’re getting paid at the end of each month? Being your own boss means you don’t always know when you’re going to get paid. You can even have clients that miss payment deadlines and you’ll also need to set aside money for tax, running costs, stationary and equipment.
  8. You will have less job security: When you work for a business, you will have an employee contract where you have a period of notice. As your own boss, you have less job security. It’s important you think this through before you start and always set aside some money as a buffer, as well as a plan B.
  9. You may work alone: If you’re sociable, then you need to be prepared to work on your own. Although you can still go out and meet customers or work from a shared office from time to time, it’s still easy to feel lonely working from home, without the buzz of a busy office around you.
  10. You will need to always be switched on: As an employee, if you’re feeling ill or want to head off on holiday for a break, you can handover your work to a colleague to manage in your absence. As a business owner, all responsibility ultimately lies with you and so it can be more difficult to ever completely switch off.

If you are already your own boss, we’d love to know what made you make the leap from employee to business owner. Leave us a comment in the box below. 

About the author

ElizabethHarmonElizabeth Harmon is a writer for Open Colleges, one of Australia’s leading online education providers. She is a Freelance Social Media Consultant with a number of years’ experience. Follow her on Twitter @Liz_Harmon.

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Elizabeth Harmon

Elizabeth Harmon

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