What it’s Really Like to Be Your Own Boss
There’s been a major shift in the way that we view ‘office work’. More people are leaving their 9-5’s, deciding that they want a taste of the freedom that comes with choosing your own work. Many are seeking out the autonomy that comes with being your own leader which all sounds fine and dandy, and it certainly can be fun and games, but before you jump ship and take the leap toward starting your own company or contracting yourself out as a freelancer, there are a few things you absolutely should know first.
You will be the only person you can count on to get the work done.
You might have had a director, a manager, and a VP to push you along and encourage you at your office job, but in the world of entrepreneurship and freelancing, you are your only source of motivation. You have to be your own biggest fan and your own biggest discipliner. You have to tell yourself you can do it and count on yourself to complete the work when it needs to be done. It takes a particular kind of person to do this, which is certainly something to consider.
Your hours and paychecks will fluctuate.
We hate to burst your bubble, but you can’t expect to see the same income that you had at your steady office job; at least not at first, anyway.
It will take time to build up your client base and even more time to establish a steady working schedule that you can count on. Expect your hours and consequently your pay, to fluctuate from month to month, but don’t let the slower times deter you from seeking out more work. In our experience, work comes and goes, but it usually comes when you least expect it.
You will feel very alone at times.
It’s inevitable, but it won’t feel this way all the time. Working for yourself can, in fact, be very lonely at times, especially if you’ve chosen to physically work at home. With that being said, you can rest assured that it won’t always feel this way.
Just because you don’t have the same kind of office culture, doesn’t mean you can’t involve yourself in events, activities and hangouts after or in between work to stay social. It’s up to you to find a balance that makes you happy.
You will have to multitask, a lot.
If you’re working for more than one client, expect that all of those clients will want something from you at the exact same time. In fact, you can almost guarantee that this will happen quite frequently.
It’s very normal for a freelancer or contractor to constantly be jumping from the work of one client to the next as deadlines arise, criteria changes, feedback has to be implemented, and urgent work orders come up.
You will have the time and the flexibility to make your own schedule.
Need to go to the dentist and the only available appointment is at 10AM? Want to start work at 6:30AM to finish early? No problem. Because you set your own hours and you don’t have a boss back at the office to report to, you can book that dentist appointment or start your day early and not feel guilty about it. Having endless flexibility is very unique to freelance or contract work, and it allows you to shape your life the way you want to and complete your work when it’s most convenient. However, it can also be easy to put work on the backburner when ‘life’ gets in the way.
You will have to work much harder than you thought.
In an office, you probably worked for a salary. This means that you could be sitting at work, scrolling social media and getting paid at the same time. But in the world of freelancing and entrepreneurship, results and hours are the only things that will earn you money. This means that you will have to be diligent, focused, and goal driven if you want to get projects done on time and results delivered to a standard that your clients expect.
You will fall back in love with your work again.
If you’ve ever experienced working in an office job that just isn't’ sparking your interest (let alone your passions), then you’ll know what we mean when we say that doing work that you genuinely love is the most rewarding kind of work. Period. When you freelance or start your own small business, you can (for the most part) choose the clients you want to work with and the projects you want to work on. This makes a world of a difference and can diminish any second thoughts you had about leaving your 9-5.
Ultimately, there is no right or wrong answer to who is suited to this kind of work. You’ll never know until you try, and the better prepared you are for the inevitable changes, the better equipped you will be to take your new career direction to new heights.
Have your own business and want to connect? Send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org!