It’s a challenge to be your own boss

Being your own boss is thrilling, isn’t it? It’s nice to not have someone to report to every day. You don’t have to deal with someone hassling you if you don’t show up or if you spend all your time chasing dust bunnies, shiny objects, or killing time on Snapchat or Facebook.

Of course you want to impress your clients, but they come and go and care about what you can do for them, not necessarily about your personal success.

There’s a lot of freedom (insert Mel Gibson’s scream from “Braveheart”) in working for yourself. Maybe too much at times.

To be successful and keep your business on track, you need to think like a boss. What do I mean? Here are a few tips.

  • Determine and write down your goals
    • Yearly, quarterly, monthly, weekly, and daily goals will help you achieve the success you want. Written goals keep you focused.
  • Set check-ins and review milestones
    • Schedule time in your calendar, at least quarterly to review your progress on your goals.
  • Set and stick to a schedule
    • When working for someone else, you had to show up at a certain time, it’s just as important t o set a schedule for yourself and show up daily. It doesn’t have to be 8-5 5 days a week, but you should have a regular schedule – consistency and predictability are great for productivity.
  • Track your time
    • Use a timer and track how long  you spend doing different tasks – including those ‘shiny object’ time wasters. Tracking billable hours is imperative to running a successful business.

If you had a boss, you’d be responsible for all of the above – you’d be accountable for achieving certain tasks each day, week, month, quarter, and year. You’d even have once- (or perhaps twice) -a-year reviews. Which brings up another critical requirement for being your own boss: the self-evaluation.

It can be tricky evaluating yourself, so a tip here is to act as though you’re reviewing someone else — it’s important to be honest about your strengths and weaknesses to achieve the success you want. No one else will see the report, but spend time on an honest evaluation, as it can only help you achieve the success you’re after.

So if you start acting like the boss, you can the success that you want in your own business.

Why not start now? You’re the boss – even if you’re the only employee. 


LisaJJackson_2014Lisa J. Jackson is an independent writer and editor who enjoys working with businesses of all sizes. She loves researching topics, interviewing experts, and helping companies tell their stories. You can connect with Lisa on TwitterFacebookGoogle+, and LinkedIn.

27 thoughts on “It’s a challenge to be your own boss

  1. What a very helpful post! I’ve been thinking about what it would be like to be my own boss… And your post really helps to put it all into perspective … Thank you!

  2. Having had worked for myself long before I retired from having another boss to work for, I can tell you, if you are driven, the hardest boss to work for is yourself! You can never take a vacation or weekend off from your boss. Your work will be on your mind after you close the door on your office for a day. You will challenge yourself in the wee hours of the night about things you might have overlooked, rather than praying your “boss” might not ever notice your oversight. Working for yourself means this: You can have no excuses that your boss will accept because he is oblivious! BUT, your results are in your control – ownership is all yours for what gets done and when it gets done. If you do not have discipline, dedication and determination, you may not make a good boss, even if you are the employee too.

    • You said it – “ownership is all yours” – all the celebrating of achievements is mine alone, as well as all the misses. I love the day-to-day, though, the variety and unpredictability keep me on my toes (can only plan out so much, the rest happens!). 9 years and counting! thank you for the great reply – very helpful to the readers.

  3. My partner and I are working towards that goal. Like you said, it’s hard work, sometimes even harder than working for a boss but then again I am my worst critic. I don’t know if that is good or bad, like most things I think it cuts both ways.

  4. Lisa, I’d not thought about this aspect of working for yourself as a writer. Goals, evaluation, etc as your own boss. Maybe I wanted to get away from that when I retired as a nurse practitioner & manager! But, I can see I need to get on a better track with 3 WIPs. Thanks for the “jolt” to action this morning. Christine

  5. Your “be your own boss” advice is very important to those of us who have retired – but still want to have positive influence in our relationships. It is hard to keep goals and time tables when one’s livelihood is not a part of the equation!

  6. Good advice. I’ve pretty much worked for myself all of my life and have always followed these rules. I’d add the bit about focusing on being effective. You can do a hell of a job climbing up a ladder on a wall, but it doesn’t mean much if it is the wrong wall. Focus on what is important to you. –Curt

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