From setting your own hours to keeping all the profit you generate, there are several reasons why you may want to leave your current job and try becoming your own boss. A lot of people seek to find the “dream job”, whether it’s working for someone else or self-made. More often than not, they have come to find that the “dream job” they had in mind does not exist. Others have decided to create the work they love to fit the dreams and goals they have. There are several motivations to becoming your own boss, but regardless of your reasons this is the checklist to follow when becoming your own boss.
- Make the decision:
If your current job situation is not satisfactory, it’s best to admit that you alone can fix it. Blaming everyone but yourself will do you no good, until you actively make the decision to take matters into your own hands. Change will come when you make the decision to try becoming your own boss instead and work towards it.
- Identify the business for you:
When considering becoming your own boss, look at yourself critically, assess your strengths, weaknesses and interests. don‘t ignore your intuition, but ask yourself “What keeps you going even when you’re tired?” In judging if a business is the right fit for you, there are three common approaches.
- What you know: were you laid off, or are you planning on quitting? Look at work you’ve done for others before and think of how you could offer services or products based on that knowledge.
- What others do: find out other businesses that you’re interested in and emulate them.
- Solve a common problem: if there is a gap in the market or a product or service that needs to be brought in altogether? If you choose to solve a problem, however, make sure you learn all there is to know about it before investing any money in it. This is the approach with the highest amount of risk involved, so if you’re considering taking this route when becoming your own boss, be sure to research it as much as possible before going in.
- Make a plan:
Most people-especially those looking to start a business for the first time underestimate the power of planning as regards their business. When planning on becoming your own boss, a business plan will help make your goals clear, help you focus on what needs to be done, and give you the confidence that your goals are achievable. Your plan need not be longer than one page, merely putting your goals, strategies and action steps into writing helps your business become real.
Ask the following questions when making a plan for your business:
What am i building?
Who will it serve?
What promise will I make to my customers, clients and myself?
What are my objectives and the strategies i have in mind to achieve these goals?
- Research your target market before you start spending:
One of the most important things you must do when becoming your own boss is to find out whether or not people are interested in buying the product or service you intend to provide. Find out the size of your target market, who your customers will be and how your product or service is relevant to their everyday life. In short, you need to ask yourself why people need your product. The surest way of getting this information is by asking your target customers directly and listening to their responses.
- Start part time:
Barring any ethical or legal complications, it’s advisable to start your own business on a part time basis for some months. You might set aside a couple of evenings during the week and a weekend day to start building your business for a start. This is because when becoming your own boss, building a big enough customer base takes time and the income you generate may not be enough for you to live on. When you have a business of your own, you may discover that in the first few months, you have more time on your hands than work, so it’s a wise trade-off to hang on to the stable income you have for as long as possible before your business takes off. Although you will have a lot of responsibilities in this period of time, it will help you develop your management skills and prepare you for handling a lot of responsibility when it eventually comes.
- Make the transition:
At a point, when handling your day job and your business, you will begin to have more responsibility on the business side. When you make it to this point, you will have to figure out how to make the transition from your day job to becoming your own boss full-time. You could try asking your boss for a part-time working arrangement, so you can have more time for your business, while still making a steady income from your day job. If this is not an option, then you need to figure out when to quit your regular job, as regards how financially buoyant you need to be at that time and the customer base you need to have built by then.
- Set up shop:
Once you’ve figured out the time frame for quitting your job and focusing on your own business full time, you need to take the necessary steps to become a legal business entity. Get your financial documents organized, register your business and keep your tax records. If your home is not suitable to handle a growing business from, you have to start considering looking for office space away from home, especially if you need to employ staff. You also need to look at the structure of your business from a legal standpoint – whether it will be a simple sole proprietorship or a corporation. Each of these option has different benefits, drawbacks, requirements and, of course, taxes. Get professional help if you’re uncertain about any of the options, because this is one thing that needs to be done right when becoming your own boss.
- Build a support network:
Now that you’re fully committed to becoming your own boss, you need a network of supporters, mentors and partners. Here are some steps to help you build your support network:
Network on local, national and social media levels.
When attending networking events, ask other people what they do and find out how you can help them. Listen more than you show yourself.
When you join a group, help others make connections without charge.
When you are generous, people will seek you out when they need a service you provide, or know someone who does.
- Sell by value creation:
Even though your business is about selling a product, place emphasis on serving others. The more people you serve, the more satisfied your customers will be and satisfied customers put more money in your pocket. When becoming your own boss, ask what you can give your customers and how you can help them in their pursuits. This approach will help develop your value-creation skills and your customers will definitely appreciate.
- Get the word out:
Never hesitate to say who you are and what you do with conviction. Use whatever social media tools are the most effective to broadcast your news and tell people about the products and services you provide. While you use social media, don’t forget about the traditional offline marketing strategies that still work, even today.
see: 7 offline marketing strategies that still work today
Use any and all means to tell people about your products and services e.g., word-of-mouth marketing, website and internet marketing tools, public relations, blog posts, email, newsletters, and the old-fashioned but still essential telephone.
If you take these steps, you’ll be well on your way to becoming your own boss. It’s important to remember that you are not alone. If you want to “be your own boss” but you still feel stuck, reach out and connect with other entrepreneurs in a variety of ways. You may be surprised by the invaluable contacts that are right at your fingertips. Becoming your own boss will never be an easy process, but the outlined steps will guide you to make the right decisions at the right time.