Owning Your Own Business: The Leap From Employee to Owner

Well, well, well, you’re finally doing it! You’re making the jump from being bossed to being your own boss – or perhaps someone gave you a little push. Either way, you are the man or the woman in charge now. And while there’s nothing that can completely prepare you for the solo career that lies before you, except the wisdom of other entrepreneurial types, of course. The following tips can help soften the transition:

1. Be prepared to work 50% harder

If you’ve switched from a 40-hour a week job to your own gig, say goodbye to coffee breaks, trips to the vending machine, water cooler chitchat and other activities that could easily eat up half the workday without impacting your paycheck.

As an entrepreneur, when you’re not working, you’re not getting paid. Time is money, literally, so make the most of it by keeping busy, especially in the beginning.

2. Throw out your clock

Let’s say you’re an engineering consultant living in Houston with clients on each coast. Are you really going to tell the project lead in San Diego that you’ll have to call her back tomorrow because your work day is over? Or make the conference call in Boston wait because you’re not out of bed yet? Of course not. The sooner you say goodbye to the nine-to-five regimen, the more successful you will be.

3. Set ground rules with family

If you’re like most entrepreneurs who start out working from home, remember that this doesn’t make you the de facto maid, taxi, dry cleaner or lawn service. Working from home means work comes first – at least if you’re serious about it. Spouses, partners, kids and even pets may need to get used to this.

Can you help out around the house if circumstances allow? Yes. But it’s a slippery slope – and the last thing you want to tell a client is that you have to exit a conference call because the dog needs to go out.

4. Define "entrepreneur" on your own terms

While there are several types of entrepreneurs, none of them are typical. Your situation will be unique, based on your talents, your ability to juggle multiple ends of the business and your professional stamina.

You may not be the business owner who grows rapidly and adds new employees. But you might be the one who lands premium clients that have long-term potential to make you rich. Don’t sweat how you grow, just tough it out and good things will happen.

5. Think big, then small

Running your own business requires one big dream and the plans to make it happen. If you restore vintage autos and dream of being the "go-to" resource for Corvette rebuilds, claim this goal, then break down how you’ll get there.

Perhaps you’ll connect with clubs and associations devoted to American sports cars and showcase a build you’ve already done. If you haven’t finished it yet, do so – and take the first step. Think big first, then build your way up.

Finally, understand that running your own business requires passion. Why? Because it’s hard work, and if you’re going to work for yourself you want to love what you’re doing. If you don’t, you’ll simply become an employee of your own business – punching in and out, hoping the time in between goes quickly. And no one should dread working for themselves, so find what you’re passionate about, start your business, overcome your business’ obstacles, and love your work.

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