How To Fire Your Boss (written January, 2008)

So you want an income but you don’t want a boss. You want to earn plenty of money, but you want to set your own hours. Starting a business of your own can seem like having your cake and eating it too.

More and more people today are saying good-bye to the boss and creating the ideal job for themselves. They enjoy more independence, earnings and job satisfaction than they ever had before.

What does it take? Some have specialized training, while others have hobbies that can be turned into profitable pastimes. Many have selling ability, or they find someone else who can sell for them. In addition, starting a successful independent business requires discipline and organization.

With discipline, it’s possible to find free time for other things that are important. Working at home is the ideal solution for mothers with small children as well as individuals caring for family members -who are disabled or ill.

To succeed without a boss, people who decide to work at home may decide to keep all their work in the garage, the basement or a particular corner of their living quarters. They may also adhere to a very strict work schedule, setting aside particular hours of the day (or the night) to get their work done.

It’s not unusual for the owner of a new business to spend most of the business hours prospecting or contacting prospective clients, then to work late at night producing the product or performing the service for clients. Many self-employed people find themselves working far longer hours now than they did when they had a boss. When you fire the boss, you assume the same responsibilities as a boss, all on your own.

Self-discipline is vital. There are those who got into the habit of forgetting their jobs once they left their shop or their office. When they tried to be entrepreneurs, they succumbed to temptations to play (or take care of personal matters) instead of working. The homemaker who has set aside a morning to do business telephoning, for example, must close her eyes to dishes or dusting.

What may also be difficult for people starting a business at home is letting “other people know” that “at home” doesn’t mean “at leisure.” some people even put up signs that let family members and others know not to interrupt. Using a telephone answering machine can help in avoiding personal conversations during work hours, too.

Most important, however, is learning to say, “I may be at home, but I’m working.”  You may have to turn down a chance to go fishing or to hear some interesting gossip when you have a job to do for a client or when you need to get your accounts straightened out. Or, you may have to tell your children that you’ll be able to talk with them later on and not right away.

Set clear-cut, realistic goals for every week and even every day to keep you on track once you’re working alone. If your business is making toys, set quotas for yourself. If in sales, list the number of calls as well as the amount of money you expect on a regular basis. Write down your goals and evaluate every week’s progress.

Besides putting clear borders around your working times, self-employed individuals are wise to keep money from their independent endeavors separate from their spending money or the household budget. A separate checking account can be a good idea, and at any rate, keep all receipts and as well a record of trips, mileage, supplies and other expenditures which may be tax deductible. If you buy office supplies at the grocery store along with household items, separate everything and ask for two receipts.

When you work for a boss, paychecks come around regularly. When you are self-employed, however, you’re the one who must ask for the check. Decide at the onset just when you expect people to pay you and strive for consistency. If you extend 30 days credit to some of your accounts, it really isn’t fair to the ones who always pay you on time. Sometimes doing without payments is necessary. Be prepared.

Asking people for money can be the most painful thing some people ever have to do. However, being handed a check by a satisfied client is one of the most enjoyable experiences imaginable. May it happen to you often!

The author of this article is Larry Costello, President of All-American Print & Mail, 2200 Wilson Blvd #102-57, Arlington, VA 22201.