The American dream has shifted in the 21st century from seeking stability above all to valuing personal freedom and agency to an almost equal degree. We all want to do work that personally resonates with us, to be able to make our own schedule, and of course to reap the full benefits of our efforts.
In other words, these days everyone wants to be their own boss, but still enjoy the steady success and rewards common with more traditional employment.
A staggering 70 percent of Americans claim they want to be self-employed, but the actual number of those walking the walk falls to seven percent in reality. Self-employment sounds good on paper, but how to make it work in practice requires a little more elbow grease.
Along the way, you will need all sorts of aid, and if you want to save yourself some time and headache, then perhaps most importantly you’ll need to know how to incorporate advice.
When looking for industry leaders, we spoke with Alexy Goldstein, CEO and founder of New U Life, about what it takes to not just become your own boss, but how to ensure resounding success as you venture out on your own.
Choose a Course
The first step of becoming your own boss is simply having the courage to commit to a path. It’s an atypical path compared to sticking with the more conventional pack, but at the end of it is freedom and success not possible on the well-tread road.
“Before making any official moves, you need to have an idea of direction,” advises Goldstein. “As this then gives you a reference point when you come to the point of making decisions. Without a compass at sea, you will get lost, and the same holds true for direction in the business world. Don’t try to do everything at once, but methodically move towards niches which play to your natural strengths.”
Having a set course is an important first step, but from the nebulous idea to the concrete reality of being your boss, there are more still. Once your direction is set, it’s time to challenge yourself with goals.
Set Goals for Yourself
Goals are essential in becoming your own boss as they give both accountability and an opportunity to measure growth. When you start getting traction in whatever course you have chosen, identify some key indicators of success, and see how your results stack up against your aspirations after a few months.
“Challenging yourself with concrete goals instills a sense of discipline that is essential for any business to scale and survive,” suggests Goldstein.
“As harsh as it might sound, goals give you a sense of success or failure, something tangible to work towards. This kind of motivation is powerful in those early stages, and it creates a kind of deal with yourself that you then must uphold.”
Without goals, even the most talented or motivated can fall into a grey zone, and that’s never productive when seeking success.
Expand Your Reach
The longer you work in any niche, the greater and more varied your skillset becomes. Eventually, this means you have more options at your disposal, and this freedom you can then leverage to great effect.
While it’s important to identify and stick with what’s working for your business model, it’s never a bad idea to consider diversifying your options in other markets. “Once you feel like you have a few wins under your belt,” comments Goldstein.
“It might be time to consider expanding your scope and reach. Becoming your own boss is one thing, but staying on top is another matter entirely. By diversifying your income streams, you become less dependent on any sole source, and thus become less affected should any single one start to wobble. Expanding your reach increases your overall power, but also acts as a safeguard against becoming too one-dimensional or dependent on any single source.”
It’s a Continuous Process …
Once you feel things are going well it’s tempting to idle and enjoy, but truthfully tracking progress is perhaps the most important step for any leader.
By continuously seeking out the best practices and challenging your processes, you stay on the cutting edge and avoid stagnation. There’s no time to rest if you want to stay on top of your industry and keep pace with your peers.
It’s not easy being your own boss and persevering through the perilous waves of the business world. If you can manage to balance it all out and put yourself in a position to succeed though, you’ll enjoy a personal level of success which is immensely satisfying after all your hard work.
“If you have an idea and aren’t afraid to go out on your own, becoming your own boss is one of the most worthwhile uses of time out there,” Goldstein encourages. “Trust yourself and take a leap, and before you know it, you’ll be in a world of your own making.”