The phrase, I want to leave this job so I can be my own boss, is one I’ll say for most people is a setup for disaster. The thought of being “self-employed” is very enticing for most people working for someone else.
In fact, most people never actually step out to achieve entrepreneur status for many reasons like not having a winning business concept, little or no start-up money, or they simply don’t have the gumption to start their own business in the first place. But for the ones who do manage to surpass all those obstacles and actually open their business; they’re often met with another obstacle they didn’t expect.
I know all about this obstacle when I started my entrepreneurial journey a decade ago in 2006. I was working in the corporate world with my husband when we found out I was pregnant with our first child. We’d been trying for over 4 years so, to say the least, we were ecstatic!
I started thinking about my life as a mother and what I really wanted. I couldn’t bare the thought of going back to work after giving birth. I wasn’t happy at the company where I worked and wanted to find a way to work from home to raise my sweet baby girl which was something I always wanted to do.
It just so happened my husband (who always had the entrepreneurial itch) had recently opened his own real estate brokerage. He’d been working as a real estate agent for many years and decided it was time to be his own boss. It was this brokerage that gave me the perfect opportunity to make money in real estate working alongside my husband.
We worked hard to prepare the business and both left our jobs a couple of months before the baby was due. Over the years God made a way for me to take care of all three of my children without needing to put them in daycare; which was a personal desire for me. For this I’m extraordinarily grateful.
But I’ll say the entrepreneurial road has been a bumpy one, full of pot-holes, unlabeled paths, and too many forks in the road to count. To sum it up – it wasn’t easy. Partly because I didn’t know what I was doing and didn’t have a plan. For a super simple plan on how to start your own business the right way, read my post: Start Your Own Business in 4 Super Simple Steps.
The other reason I struggled was in large part due to the obstacle I alluded to earlier. And the faster you can identify it in yourself and overcome it – the better off you’ll be.
The fantasy of becoming your own boss
What most people who go into business for themselves really want is to become their own employee not their own boss.
There’s a vast difference between being a boss and an employee. A boss is in charge and has to make all the important decisions. She must decide when the work gets done and when it’s time to go home.
She has the “luxury” of staying behind when all the employees go home – and then takes more work home. She takes the responsibility for the performance of her team because she’s the one in charge of training them. The job of a boss “looks” like a position of power with all the perks, but it comes with a price.
Employees get paid to show up and do the work they’re told to do. Plain and simple. In most cases, they’re only responsible for their own performance and if they meet the goals set by the boss – they keep their job.
The job of an employee may not have all the perks of the boss, but they don’t typically have nearly the same level of responsibility. They have the perk of clocking out and going home.
Both of these roles in their general sense are pretty clear and easy to understand, but all that changes when you become your own boss. As employees, we’ve all learned to do what we’re told or we lose our livelihood. But something interesting happens when you’re finally sitting in the illustrious boss chair in your own company. You suddenly become a rebellious employee.
Maybe it’s because, as employees, we dreamed of being able to make all the decisions and not be told what to do anymore when we finally own our own business. But we neglected to notice we were the ones who’d be in charge of getting the work done once all the important “decisions” were made. We like the appearance of being the powerful boss, but don’t always like the responsibility that comes with it.
I struggled with this in the early years of being self-employed. I was able to get the work done that had deadlines attached with big banks and other institutions. But beyond the work I did for other people, I couldn’t manage to produce any of my own ideas and plans.
The Reality of Being your Own Employee
I’m talking about the work no one else was asking for or counting on. I’d plan my ideas and they’d sit. That’s because the “boss” was making the plans and setting the deadlines. But the “employee” didn’t feel like carrying out that plan. Or simply had another “stroke of genius” and wanted to go in another direction for the 100th time this month.
So, my dreams of becoming a true entrepreneur were being sabotaged by one of my own employees – ME. And honestly, this wasn’t an epiphany that hit me overnight. It was a process. I was feeling like a failure because I was still just working for someone else – just at home. Which was fine, but I wanted more.
Don’t get me wrong, I was grateful for the opportunity, but I knew it was time for me to do the things in my heart. I just couldn’t figure out how. But I couldn’t figure out how to push through my own sabotages.
I’m sure, there are many hard-wired, natural-born entrepreneurs who’ve never struggled in this area. Who naturally flow in the dual boss/employee role flawlessly. But for most of us, we’re just creatives who want to share their ideas and gifts with the world, but struggle to get out of the mud.
The key to success is learning how to be both the boss and the employee – to yourself. This is no easy task even if you’ve been the boss to other people. It’s another ball game when it’s for you.
Here are 5 keys to help set you up for mompreneur success by becoming the great boss and a hardworking employee you were created to be.
Be a Person of Integrity
We all know what it means to have integrity with other people. You know, don’t lie, cheat, steal, and ultimately do what you say you’re going to do. In other words, be a person of your word. We all know how to do that! But where we tend to struggle is when we lie, cheat, steal, and don’t stand by our word to our own self.
We ALL do this. For example, when you tell yourself you’re not eating fried foods anymore – EVER. But your department at work brings in a giant box of friend chicken for a co-worker’s birthday, and you tell yourself – just this once. Shhh!
Or when you start a new workout routine and this morning you wake up and don’t feel like it, so you pull the covers back over your head. And that rolls into tomorrow and the next. These are everyday examples of us lying to ourselves like it’s no big deal.
But in all reality, lying to ourselves is just as wrong as doing it to someone else. Hey! We’re people, too! If you keep lying to someone else and they learn about it – they’ll stop trusting in you. Sadly, the same exact thing happens to us. Every time we’re dishonest in some way to ourselves – we erode at the trust we have in our self. And this is dangerous because when you’re the boss and give yourself assignments to complete; you’ll have the unhealthy tendency to give yourself the side-eye and think, you can’t do this. It’s like you become your own bad apple in the bunch.
Start practicing being completely honest with yourself. And do what you do for others. For example, don’t rush to commit. Think everything though to be sure your commitment or decision is one that’s reasonable. And when you’re tempted to fall short – push harder. You’ll thank yourself later.
Be a Good Boss
You need to work hard to set yourself up for success. That’s means doing your research before you launch, creating a business plan, and setting realistic goals. These apply to everyone in every type of business.
Doing your research ensures you’re going into the right business and there’s a real need for what you’re offering. You also need to understand where your customer lives and spends their time. This way you know exactly where to find them with your extraordinary answer to their problem – your business/products.
Writing a business plan, even if it’s one page, will give you direction and focus. It also helps you fill in the blanks you didn’t know you needed, like your financial numbers and your business identity.
And finally, setting realistic goals helps you stay on task and not feel like a failure because your goals are challenging yet attainable. If you don’t do these things upfront, you’ll have a difficult time trying to execute a plan that doesn’t exist.
Once you do a good job of being the boss and setting up your systems for success; you need to be disciplined to do what it takes to get it done. Probably one of the most undesirable part of being in business for yourself is not being able to clock at the end of the day like everyone else.
If you’re a mom who’s running your own business with babies and toddlers underfoot; it’s even more challenging. And certainly the same is true if you still work a fulltime job. The hard truth is, if you want your dreams to become reality, you need to dig in and do what you need to do to make it happen. If that means getting up hours before everyone else or working well into the night you must do whatever it takes. I can promise you this – no one else will do it for you.
Believe in Yourself
The one thing you’ll need to do more than anything else is believe in yourself. That’s because when you’re new at something; you can quickly feel in over your head because of your inexperience. This is when your inner chatterbox starts chipping away at your confidence by telling you failure is your inevitable end. But you can’t fall for it. You just need to keep moving forward past the discomfort and unfamiliar. It gets easier – I promise.
Instead of listening to your older, more cynical self who’s had one too many failures and disappointments in life. Try listening to your younger, more innocent self. You know, the part of you that believes anything is possible and isn’t afraid of failing yet. Let her run the show!
Remember, there will be times when you’re the only one who can see what you see. You must know that whether or not other people understand or support your pursuit – you need to believe in it stronger than anyone else. You’ll need to lean on this belief in the tough times. And you’ll be happy you did in the good times.
Be Filled with Passion
And finally, you need to be passionate about what you’re doing. Being your own boss will never be enough to keep you going when it gets hard. I promise it will. But if what you’re doing is deeply important to you – you’ll make it through those hard moments.
It’s passion that’ll keep you from giving up on your dream so you can make it to the top of your mountain. We all need to make it to our mountain so we can reach down and pull others up. Your business isn’t simply for you. We’re all called to serve and help those in this world. So, let the passion inside you lead the way!
Becoming an entrepreneur is one of the scariest decisions a person can make. This is a world that can seem like a breeding ground for mistakes and failures. But it also come with enormous reward if done the right way. What’s your entrepreneurial story? Did you personally struggle with this obstacle? If so, how did you overcome it?
Write in the comments below, where you are in your entrepreneurial journey. Post your story, question, or idea and let’s help each other! Can’t wait to hear what you’ve got. And don’t forget to share this article with someone you know who could use some encouragement today!
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