Can You 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.

When you’re working for yourself, there will always be grunt work, whether you have a boss telling you to do it or not.

So what does it take to be a successful solo business owner?

Keep reading to learn the skills needed to successfully work for yourself, and how to get started as a Solopreneur.

Do You Have Solopreneur Skills?

These are the skills needed to be your own boss:

  • 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 (if a customer doesn’t like your product or your work, it’s important to listen to their feedback, just try not to take it personally).

How to get Started as a Solopreneur

If you think you have the skills needed to be your own boss, then here are a few tips to get you started.

1. Know your Goals

Think about why do you want to be your own boss? What do you hope to get out of your solopreneurship journey? What aspects of your work are important to you?

Make a list of your goals for your business and your work life (keep it short). This should guide your planning.

2. Know your Skills

Think about your past jobs, your hobbies, education, or other activities. What did you enjoy doing? What aspects were you particularly good at? What did you NOT like, or were not good at?

3. Figure Out your 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?

4. 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.

5. 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.

6. Get Customer Feedback

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.

To get started, seek out individuals who represent your target customer and gather their feedback, interview them, and ask questions.

7. Find a Mentor

When you’re your own boss there’s no one to bounce decisions around with, and no one else to give you advice or support. An experienced mentor or coach can help guide you as you plan and manage your solo business.

I provide solo business coaching and have worked with hundreds of small businesses and solopreneurs over the past 25 years. You can learn more here.


MVP Tree as a Critical Entrepreneur Starting Point — David Cummings on Startups

Shawn Carolan has a post up on Steve Blank’s blog titled A Path to a Minimum Viable Product and it is easily the most insightful piece for entrepreneurs starting out that I’ve read this year. With all the excellent literature out there about Customer Discovery and Minimum Viable Product (MVP), there’s not enough how-to around […]

MVP Tree as a Critical Entrepreneur Starting Point — David Cummings on Startups