How to become your own boss and make a living

Do you ever get the feeling of helplessness when Monday comes around? You are not alone. Millions of other employed individuals have reported dissatisfaction with their work.

Perhaps it’s time you considered quitting and becoming your own boss. Or maybe you’ve already had this thought, you just don’t know how to go about it.

There’s a lot of unknowns that create fear. I totally understand this.

I toyed with this idea for several years before I finally took the jump myself.

My main reason is dissatisfaction with the work that I did. I had long commutes, constant overtime work, and the pay didn’t afford me the life of my dreams.

And probably the cane that broke the camel’s back. At no point were the issues I raised with my manager addressed!

I did not make the jump immediately as I had to consider several things. So if you are in the same situation, all is not lost. There is hope. You have to commit to change with a view of some things I’ll mention below.

how to become your own boss

Take time to reflect on your intentions

The first step you should take is to set aside time to reflect on this decision. Quitting your job and source of income has far-reaching repercussions, both for you and your dependents.

Of course, the first consideration is your mental well-being. It is a sphere that has received a lot of debate in recent times.

If your job is choking the life out of you, you better remove yourself from such a toxic environment.

Try to think of the things you cherish and how change can affect them.

For example, you might get more time with your children, but you might not afford them the luxuries you once did.

Sometimes we hold dearly to a job because that’s what society expects of responsible citizens. But is it the only avenue to make a living?

However, it is not all the time that negative happenings initiate change. Sometimes you chance upon opportunities that look promising. But how well suited are you to exploit it and work on your own business?

All these are worth reflecting on to assess their worthwhileness.

Have a clear picture of what you want to pursue.

If things don’t work out, you can still return to employment, but it might not be under the same terms you enjoyed before.

Consider your financial situation

Finances are worth considering deeply, no matter your situation in life. Single persons or retirees still have financial obligations worth looking at, albeit lower than someone with dependents.

A business in its infancy does not guarantee an income. Most of the time, you will be putting in more than you are taking out.

It’s best to have a stash to cover your expenses as you transition. But how much should you have?

Perform a lifestyle audit. What are my monthly expenses? Of these, what amount can I do without for the moment? Cut down on luxuries and non-essentials.

If you are serious, it will require some commitment to resist temptations to spend impulsively.

While it is easy to tweak variable expenses, the hard part comes at fixed costs. These are rent/mortgage, car loan, insurance premiums, utility bills, childcare expenses, etc.

That’s why you must take a long-term view before you decide to quit. Eliminating and reducing the main fixed costs is the only way out.

I know of a former employee who used his pensions to offset his mortgage when he got laid off. The wages he earned from jobs would then cover his living expenses.

Learn time management skills

All personal development couches have time management in their bag of lessons. Human beings have it as a finite resource on earth.

Being your own boss still calls for keeping to a schedule of work just like in employment. And you’d probably need more of it, unlike the 9 to 5 until you can outsource some functions.

The first tip involves the use of a list to plan and plot a path.

Do you remember what you saw on the news yesterday or the day before that? High odds that you already forgot. That’s how quickly information gets written over in our brains.

Dumping ideas onto a notebook ensures you free your mental resources to deal with what’s at hand at the moment.

It also lets you prioritize your task hence using your most valuable time for the most rewarding outcome.

You are probably already using these techniques in your job. They will become even more vital when only you are accountable for your efforts.

Consult a mentor for advice

Reflecting and planning on our own is vital, but we might not see all the scenarios that can unfold. We need to have as clear of a vision as possible.

Consulting a mentor can fill in on the gaps we have in our minds.

A mentor at best should be someone who has transcended the world of employment to being their own boss successfully.

If that is not possible, there are thousands of online resources, including this post! There are YouTube channels and podcasts of successful once-employed entrepreneurs.

Not everyone is worth consulting. Most people have reservations and will try to dissuade you from following your dreams. And doubts are dream killers.

And we all know the best ideas that people never realized are found in the graveyard. Do not add to this collection if you’ve convinced yourself to follow this path.

Inform your loved ones of your intentions

When I decided to leave my job, I informed my wife of my intentions.

She is the first person, besides the children, who I knew would have the most impact on a lifestyle change. She was 50/50 about it, but she knew where I was coming from.

The kids are still young and were thrilled to have me around most of the time.

Others knowing, especially dependants, ensures they are mentally prepared. Anything can happen, so they better be ready for it, though I find this an unnecessary fear.

A significant aspect is asking for their support as you set up your trade, financially and emotionally.

You might even get to know your spouse’s true colors! Change always brings an element of anxiety.

Learn as much as possible

The ideal situation is juggling a side hustle in your free time as you work your day job.

Once you match your day job’s income, you then make the switch to your enterprise.

But this might not work for everyone. It didn’t work for me. There was just too much work to handle to do anything else significant.

Take baby steps at first to test the waters. You will need to learn a lot about the business you want to pursue. If it still feels feasible after a few weeks or months, then, by all means, go ahead.

Look for books, YouTube channels, and blogs that cover the business and note how long it takes to establish a consistent cash flow.

Most of the time, we quit because we have unrealistic expectations.

Start with a simple business model

The other day I was listening to a tutorial. And the speaker said it’s dumb to try scaling Mount Everest as a newbie when you’ve hardly conquered the hill in your backyard.

I think gym enthusiasts call this progressive overload.

And being an employee my whole life, it’s foolhardy to think I can make it overnight in a trade I’ve hardly indulged in.

For example, I know nothing of NFTs hence I cannot pursue them unless I commit to learning over the long term.

Two low-cost options that I can immediately think of are freelancing and affiliate marketing.

Both build on what you already know from your office work life. Whether data entry or a passion for coaching, start-up costs are minimal, and you can work remotely.

I have a preference for affiliate marketing purely due to its residual income potential.

Affiliate marketing takes a long time to work compared to freelancing on Upwork, Fiverr, etc. But the commissions build up exponentially over time.

Is affiliate marketing still profitable?

For coaching on affiliate marketing, visit this beginner course by Wealthy Affiliate. The first ten lessons are free, and it covers a lot of the foundation concepts you will need to build an online business.

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