How to Be Your Own Boss

Have you ever wondered whether to be your own boss?

Almost everyone who has or has ever held a job, has thought about what it would be like to work for themselves, with no boss to tell them what to do.

Be your own boss?  Sounds perfect! When can I start?

But the reality is not quite that simple... being your own boss does not mean that you get to do whatever you want whenever you want (unless, of course, you are independently wealthy already).  It also doesn't mean that you can only do those aspects of your business that you love.  There will always be grunt work, whether you have a boss telling you to do it or not.

Keep reading to learn more about what it takes to be a successful business owner, and how to get started.

The Ingredients for Success as a Solopreneur

What's needed to successfully be your own boss?

There are a number of key ingredients in the recipe for success, falling into three categories:

(1) Skills

(2) Tools

(3) Personal Situation

By "Skills" I mean: what do you need to know or be able to do?

The Tools you need might be a work space, computer, software or other things that you need.

Finally, your personal situation, such as your finances or financial needs, other commitments, etc, can also impact your success in your efforts to be your own boss.

In order to be your own boss, you need to assess:

     (1) Skills - do you have the necessary expertise or training?

     (2) Tools - do you have the right software, hardware, workspace?

     (3) Personal Situation - financial/personal needs, other commitments?

Skills to Be Your Own Boss

What skills will you need to be your own boss?  Below are just a few. Most importantly, you need to be comfortable with the fact that all decisions and actions ultimately come down to you - you have to have the ability to make things happen for your own business. No one else will do it for you.

  • dedication, patience & consistency
  • drive
  • self-discipline
  • ability to focus & prioritize, while also having the flexibility to pivot to meet customer demand
  • leadership skills - even if you don't have employees, you have to be able to make decisions and "lead" your business
  • self awareness - know yourself (be realistic), and know how to combine your passion & your skills, while protecting your business from your weaknesses
  • stress management skills
  • ability to set your personal emotions aside (for example, if a customer doesn't like your product or your work, don't take it personally, but instead see how you could do better to improve your business the next time).  And also realize that some customers are just bad: they don't know what they want, or they are looking for a scapegoat, or they are trying to scam you. Try to avoid those types of customers, but every business will encounter one eventually. Just try not to take it personally.

Tools to Be Your Own Boss

What tools will you need to be your own boss?

This might include the right workspace, a computer, software, etc.

The Pros and Cons of Being Your Own Boss


  • you control your hours
  • you control your earnings
  • you control the decisions


  • no steady paycheck or benefits
  • you have to do everything
  • it's hard work

Your Personal Situation

Finally, you need to assess your personal situation: 

  • know your own goals - why do you want to be your own boss?  what do you hope to get out of your solopreneurship journey?
  • think about past jobs - what did you enjoy doing?  what aspects were you particularly good at? what did you NOT like, or were not good at?
  • figure out finances - what is your personal financial situation?  how much money do you NEED to earn? how can you downsize, if needed? how much money will you need to start your business?

If you're comfortable that you have the Skills, Tools and Situation to be your own boss, then it's time to get started:

First, put an initial plan together - if you're bootstrapping your business, you may not need a lengthy, detailed business plan. But you should know the basics of your business's finances, who your customers will be and how you will find them, etc.

Seek out your community.  As your own boss, you will no longer have the proverbial "water cooler" or office chit-chat and support. Know yourself and your own needs, and seek out local groups or online communities that you could participate in instead.

Realize that you may no longer have a traditional boss, but instead you have to sometimes make your customers or clients your boss. At the end of the day, your business is serving the needs of your customers:  know what they want, and deliver that exceptionally well.