So you want to be your own boss? I completely understand why you might want to go it alone. I have been my own boss for more than 20 years, and it is the most fabulous way to work.
I work from home, which makes running my own business possible when looking after children.
Over the years, I have worked as an IT consultant, a WordPress Developer and an Avon Representative.
Of course, you don’t have to work from home as such. The beauty of an ever-connected world means we can now work anywhere in the world.
Choosing to run a blog for a living was the best decision I ever made. At the time of writing, this blog is still very new. I also blog over at WPkind.com.
I sometimes use affiliate links. When you click these links and make a purchase, I may get a small commission. It won’t cost you anything but it helps me to run this site.
Why do you want to be your own boss?
I love being my own boss. Just being able to decide on my next task or project, is hugely liberating. I may well make mistakes along the way, but those mistakes are all mine!
I love deciding when I will work too. If I want to get up at 5 AM (It’s 5 AM as I write this) and work until 9 AM, then I can. I could even call it a day at that point if I wanted to. I do find though that I work longer hours than I did in my 9-5, but they are far more satisfying, and the reward is so much greater.
Being your own boss might not be for you
Being your own boss isn’t for everybody.
Why might being your own boss be the wrong step for you? Let’s take a look at the possible reasons:
You are the type of personality that needs structure in your day. Being your own boss often means working from home. Work and home life can become intermingled. You will find yourself hopping onto the computer in-between family time, and there is no clear separation. It can be hard to switch off.
You need the security of a regular income. In the beginning, especially, your income will take time to become established and may very well be sporadic.
You don’t like to work on your own. Being your own boss can be a lonely business. Consider getting a pet. My daily dog walk is a saviour. Without my dog Xena I wouldn’t speak to a soul all day!
You are not willing to learn lots of new skills. There is a considerable amount to learn when you start a business. There is the administrative side of running a small business, plus marketing skills, and very probably new skills relating to the new job you have chosen.
Things you’ll need to be your own boss
The things you’ll need for being your own boss will depend on what type of work you choose.
Qualifications. Depending on your choice of work, you might need to get qualified for something.
Equipment. You are very likely to need a laptop or PC. The rest will depend on your choice of work.
Space to work. Having a space in your house reserved for your work can really help with the work/life separation. You might need a studio, or somewhere to bring in clients.
Insurance. You may well need insurance for your chosen job. Make sure you find out what you need for your particular niche.
Jobs where you can be your own boss
There is a vast number of possibilities when it comes to being your own boss. Here are some ideas for being your own boss.
I’m bound to mention this first! Running a blogging business can be satisfying and very lucrative.
A lot of people start blogs because they want to escape the 9 to 5 trap or to be stay-at-home moms.
At the start, you will be working for nothing because it takes time for blogs to mature. It helps if you have some savings to get you over the initial stage when your blog is likely to yield nothing. You could also start your blog before quitting your job.
Some people make money very quickly. Others take time. The time it takes to earn an income can depend on the niche you choose and your level of experience.
Do you have a flair for writing? Writing articles for other websites can be a great way to earn a living without having to run your own blog. Plus, you can work at home.
There are sites like iWriter that helps new writers to find work, but Elna Cain recommends going it alone right from the beginning. Here is Elna’s complete guide:
Proofreading involves checking an article for spelling, grammatical, and typographical errors.
What is fantastic about proofreading is that you can do the job from the comfort of your own home.
You might be thinking that this job is obsolete now we have spellcheckers and tools like Grammarly, but they can’t beat a real person.
You can find freelance jobs on Upwork, which is the largest freelance marketplace. It can take time to get an established reputation on the site. The higher your status becomes, the more you can charge.
Be your own boss as an Amazon seller
Do you have something to sell?
Now that Amazon has opened up its selling platform to third-party sellers, it’s now possible for anyone to benefit from their vast reach.
How often do you find that Amazon does not appear in search results when you Google for something? Most of the time, I would say! You can have access to that same audience.
When it comes to delivery time, you have two options. You can deliver items yourself, or you can use Amazon’s fulfilment services.
You could organise for your suppliers to deliver directly to Amazon, that way taking the complete logistics of selling off your hands.
Of course, using Amazon’s fulfilment services for delivery can add to the cost of using Amazon. You would need to weigh that up against the sheer number of potential customers that now have access to your products.
Be your own boss as an eBay seller
Most people have very probably sold something on eBay in their lives, but have you ever thought of taking it to the next level?
As with Amazon, eBay’s customer reach is extensive. You have a huge source of customers. You have the potential to find a buyer for almost anything you could want to sell.
Do you have a particular product to sell, or perhaps you just want to clear out your junk? Something that is junk to you could be gold for someone else.
Even a broken item has value to the person who wants to fix it; you just need to be honest about it in the description
Here are a couple of tips for maximising your selling potential on eBay.
- Always describe your items very well
- Always include great pictures
- Time your listing just right, either short for a sense of urgency or a longer 10-day auction to get more viewers. If you are selling your item an auction an evening end time can result in higher final price.
- Giving your auction a very low reserve price can attract more people at the start, so you have a greater pool of potential bidders before the hammer falls.
A virtual assistant or VA is someone who can provide any kind of clerical service to a business.
VA’s are popular amongst entrepreneurs who need to offload parts of the administrative side of their business. They don’t have to employ someone formally along with all the complications it entails.
You need to decide on what you will offer. For example, if you are skilled in running a particular type of social media account, you could market yourself for that.
You could throw the net a bit wider too and offer a range of services. Perhaps your best skill is the ability to organise?
Building your profile as a VA will take time. The best work will come by word of mouth. Hang out in places where your ideal client is, maybe that is in a particular Facebook group.
To get you started you consider using a freelance site. Usually, the pay isn’t as good, but it will get you the initial experience and contacts.
Be your own boss selling on Etsy
Similar to Amazon and eBay, you can use Etsy to sell items. The difference is you must create your own store, and the range of items you can sell is limited to handmade items, craft supplies and vintage goods. Like Amazon and eBay, an Etsy store gives you access to a broad audience.
If selling crafts is your bag, having your own Etsy store could be for you. Etsy makes setting up a store as easy as possible and then it’s over to you to list your product with an attractive photo and description.
There are charges to pay per product of $.20, and this applies whether you sell the item or not. When you sell the item, you will pay selling charges. You will need to think carefully about your finances to make sure you can make a profit.
What is great about Etsy is its individuality. On eBay, you will find many sellers offering the same product. The ways to differentiate are limited to postage charges and ratings. On Etsy, your offering will be unique, so the price has the potential to be more fluid.
Fed up with class teaching? How about becoming a freelance private tutor instead?
You can benefit from more flexible working hours, in an industry that you can enter quite cheaply.
If you are offering services from your own home, you will need to make sure it is suitable and a safe environment for the age group you will be teaching. Check your insurance cover. Domestic insurance usually doesn’t apply to businesses run from home. If someone has an accident in your home and decides to sue, you will need to make a claim.
If you are going to be teaching children, you will need to make sure you have the correct license for your country. In the UK you will need a CBS check.
You do not need formal certification to tutor, but having a degree and a teaching qualification will give you greater credibility.
It is possible to find students quite cheaply and easily. Initial leads might take the form of an advert in a local newspaper, and then word of mouth from there. You could ask the local schools to recommend you. Join a local Facebook group to find potential leads.
Do you enjoy helping people?
Here is a Life Coach Aptitude Test to help find out if it could be for you.
In the beginning, you should choose a particular niche to target. For example, if you could specialise in teaching people how to be better speakers, or have more confidence.
One common concern is the imposter syndrome, as in, ‘who am I to teach others?’. However, you will be surprised at what you have to offer another person.
There will be an initial stage of marketing yourself. To make your offering more credible and saleable, you could get an accreditation.
Once clients start to come in and you gain a reputation, life coaching could be a very reliable source of income.
Consultancy is a very general word, of course. Do you have a particular skill to offer? Often consultancy is a business to business service and could be regarded as a win-win relationship. Your client very probably can’t afford a full-time XXX, so they buy one on an as-needed basis. That’s where you come in.