How to Be Your Own Boss

How to Be Your Own Boss

by Roberta Codemo, May 2016

Who wouldn't want to be working in their pajamas, setting their own hours, and being their own boss? It sounds like the perfect world.

The reality, however, is very different. Before you walk into your current boss's office and hand in your resignation, ask yourself if you have what it takes to start your own business and be your own boss.

Discipline

Making the transition from a regular job with a steady paycheck to being your own boss takes more than the requisite leap of faith.

Do you have the discipline to handle the demands of running a business startup on your own? In the beginning, you'll be putting in a lot of 12- to 14-hour workdays to get your business off the ground.

It takes hard work, dedication, and commitment to start a business and make it successful. If you're not sure, you can experiment with the idea by taking on some consulting or freelance work as a side gig before fully committing to becoming your own boss.

Support

You'll want to be sure you have a strong support system in place. During the first few months, especially, you're going to be making a lot of important decisions.

If you don't have a support network in place, look for a business mentor to help you so you won't have to go it alone. Identify a business mentor who has been down the same road you're on and who can offer you advice and guidance when the going gets rough.

A Business Plan

The popular saying, “Failing to plan is planning to fail," is often attributed to Benjamin Franklin, who knew a thing or two about entrepreneurship.

While some might argue against drafting a formal business plan, having one in place serves as a guide for your business and helps you articulate your vision and where you see your business going in the next five or more years.

A good business plan lays out your objectives, strategies, and long-term goals, as well as ways to achieve them, and helps hold you accountable.

Choosing a Type of Business

There are several types of businesses that let you become your own boss while building on existing models. These include:

Agent/Representative

An agent works as an independent contractor for an established brand, usually on a sales commission basis. You'll be your own boss while at the same time receiving support from the parent company.

This is the perfect opportunity for someone who loves sales and is great with customers but doesn't want to go it alone. It doesn't cost much to set yourself up as an agent and you'll have unlimited earnings potential as your business grows.

Consulting/Contract

One of the easiest ways to become your own boss is to become a consultant. A consultant typically has in-depth knowledge in a specific field and works with clients one-on-one to identify and offer solutions to problems within an organization or for an individual.

The cost of entry is relatively low and often you can run your independent consultant business out of your home. Before you hang out your shingle, be sure to be actively networking and building a client base.

Franchise

Owning a franchise can be an excellent investment opportunity. Franchising lets you buy into a ready-made brand while opening your own location. While you manage and make your own business decisions, there is also a support team behind you.

The initial investment varies based on the type of franchise you buy into, so selecting the right opportunity is important. Consider meeting with a franchise consultant to discuss which franchise may meet your business goals, needs, and passion.

Small Business

Starting a business lets you be your own boss, make a living doing something you love, and gives you the flexibility to set your own schedule without fear of being laid off or fired.

Successful entrepreneurs have an idea for a business in mind long before embarking on a new venture and aren't afraid to take risks. If you believe in your business, chances are good that others will, too.

Managing Your Income

Before you give up the security of a regular paycheck, make sure you know how much money you need to live on. Get out your calculator and financial records and figure out how much you'll need to make, not only to write your own paycheck but also to keep your business financially afloat until you've established a steady, recurring client base.

Consider working part-time as you transition into your own business to ease the financial burden. Running the numbers will also help you determine whether your new enterprise is financially viable or if you need to make adjustments to your business plan.

Being your own boss takes not only drive but also the passion to succeed. There are a myriad of details that need to come together once you decide to start your own business and work for yourself on your own terms. It's worth it in the end, however, when it's your name on the door. You may discover that you're the best boss you've ever had.

If you're ready to be your own boss, LegalZoom can help you with the business formation process. Begin by answering a few questions about your business. We'll assemble your business formation documents and file them directly with the Secretary of State. You'll receive your completed package by mail.