This post was originally published on May 15, 2018, and was updated on Oct. 24, 2019.
At one point or another, we’ve probably all dreamed about being our own boss. You know, calling the shots instead of following orders, or being the innovator behind the next big idea.
No matter what pushes you to abandon your current nine-to-five — whether it be the sixth coffee run of the day or simply lack of fulfillment in your current role — it might be time to seriously contemplate if you’ve got what it takes to be your own boss.
But becoming your own boss doesn’t mean leading an easy work life — you’re still accountable for, you know, work. And yes, while you might be able to accomplish some of this from the comfort of your pajamas while sipping a latte, there are a number of things you’ll need to consider before making the leap into entrepreneurship.
If you’ve ever laid awake at night, wondering whether or not you have what it takes to be your own boss, then we’ve got just the quiz for you.
Answer these 10 questions to see if you’re ready mentally, financially and emotionally to be your own boss. Then, keep reading to see how we can help you turn your dreams into a reality.
Do you have what it takes to be your own boss?
So, what did you find out? Are you ready to make the big leap, still a little uncertain, or maybe a tad too unprepared? Let’s talk about a few key considerations to make sure you’ve got all your ducks in a row before you say goodbye to your day job.
If you think stepping out to be your own boss means sleeping in until 10 a.m., taking a leisurely, two-hour lunch at noon, and cutting out by 4 p.m., you might be underestimating the workload that comes with managing your own business. Like, really underestimating.
Just because you don’t have a boss anymore doesn’t mean you don’t have to answer to someone — whether that be you or your new clients.
Yes, there’s a certain level of glamor associated with working in your PJs. And certainly if you can, go for it. But also expect to pull some late nights, weekends and odd shifts that are totally outside of the nine-to-five norm. In all reality, there’s a good chance you’ll end up working more as you bring your startup to fruition.
Being your own boss means working more for your passions. And then crashing hard at the end of the day and starting all over again the next morning. PJs and coffee a must.
The boss mentality
Part of becoming your own boss means you get to set the direction. You’re in charge of the innovation, the ideas, the risk taking. Even with all the careful planning in the world, there’s no possible way to foresee every roadblock or sudden shift in direction.
Taking initiative, adapting to change, accepting risks — these are all key components of being an entrepreneur. If any of these things scare you or cause hair-pulling stress, then you might want to rethink your desire to be your own boss.
Now, I’m not saying you have to be calm and collected 24/7. There are bound to be things that stress you out (otherwise, you’re a robot, which is cool). It’s all about how you manage those sudden changes and pick yourself up to keep your idea alive and thriving.
Having an idea is only the beginning. Even though your froyo food truck might seem like the best thing since sliced bread, quitting before you even look into the details — like, I dunno, actually buying a food truck, understanding taxes and licenses, startup costs, etc. — is a dangerous decision.
What kind of business are you going to run? Have you done your market research? Do you know who your target customers will be? What about your legal setup? Marketing? What kind of brand personality are you going to have? And of course, what about the all-important financial factor? Speaking of …
Finances, both personal and biz
When you consider that many businesses fail because they started out with too little in the funding department, it’s easy to see why finances play a big role in your business’s success.
While you don’t need to use personal funds to start your new business, though it might be a good idea, taking a look at how you spend your hard-earned dollars is a good indicator for determining whether or not you’re ready to be your own boss:
- Just how frugal are you?
- Do you prefer night outs to padding your bank accounts?
- Are you aware of how your dollars are spent?
- Do you use a budget planner or tracker?
- Do you have enough funds to survive for a while without making a profit?
What kind of trend emerges when you answer these questions? If you’re quick to spend a buck, aren’t exactly sure where your cash is going, and don’t use a budget, then you’ll want to remedy these habits — stat. When it comes to running your own business, understanding where and how your money flows is imperative to success.
Related: Resources for funding a business
As far as actually securing your startup capital goes, you have a number of options:
- Self-funding. Maybe you’ve been saving over the years. That’s great!
- Investors. Many turn to family and friends with a new business opportunity, but you could also widen your search to incorporate angel investors or form strategic partnerships.
- Loans. The Small Business Administration is a great place to start, but there are plenty of loan options to consider.
- Crowdfunding. There are a number of crowdfunding platforms to consider, and you just might get the extra dough you need to get started.
Whether you stick to the traditional SMB loan or look at other non-traditional alternatives, funding is an important consideration. If you want to be your own boss, you’ll have to plan for cash flow. You can’t expect to make a buck overnight.
There’s a lot that comes with starting a business, and the key is not to get overwhelmed by the mountain of tasks associated with following your passion.
Create a checklist and mark off items as you go (because let’s be real, crossing off to-dos is empowering). Start with a name and secure all your social handles, because even if you’re not ready to post or spread the word just yet, protecting your brand is key.
So what are you waiting for? Get out there and be your own boss!