By Susan Dunn
If you've always worked for someone else, you may harbor fantasies of what it would be like to "be your own boss."
While working for yourself has major advantages, if you choose this route you may find some surprises.
1. MYTH: I won't have to work as hard.
REALITY: You'll probably work harder. I typically work 70 hours a week. But it feels different when you're in charge and you're the one reaping the benefits, i.e., it's one thing to stay up till 2 am so your boss can take a 2-week cruise, but quite another to stay up till 2 am so YOU can, right?
2. MYTH: I'll be the boss.
REALITY: In the most important ways, you are. However, every client is your "boss". What I like is that clients judge results and I enjoy autonomy of method. I found bosses would rarely say "raise my income 10%" and then check in with me. They micro-managed, which I found confusing and limiting. It slowed me down and made me less productive. Clients want results. They don't care if you did it by phone or by fax. They don't care when you go to lunch, what you have on, when you start your day or how long it takes you to do something. See what I mean?
3. MYTH: Now I can get paid what I'm worth.
REALITY: You can only charge what the market will bear. However, you can reach the upper limits and push the limits. No one's going to pay more than, say $150 for a housecleaning; however, there are people getting $75 for the same job. Then, of course, entrepreneur that you are, you always have the option of hiring others to work for you and enjoying the passive income. There's a limit to how much I can charge as a coach, and how many client-hours I have in a week, but as my business builds, I'm hiring other coaches.
4. MYTH: I won't have to deal with people I don't like.
REALITY: Yes, you will. However, as your own boss, you can fire clients who aren't worth the fee, and you can choose your own vendors and network, and if you don't like your boss - YOU -- you can change that!
5. MYTH: Now I can do only what I want and like to do.
REALITY: It never really works out that way. I'm back doing some things I don't enjoy as much because I'm good at them and they're lucrative, and I need the steady income coming in. Somehow it's more palatable because someone else isn't telling me I must. It's a pragmatic decision on my own part. Also, every entrepreneur must do marketing. If you can't stand to do it yourself, hire a marketing coach. You MUST market.
6. MYTH: I can't work any harder. I can't do all this.
REALITY: Yes you can -- work smarter, not harder. Beware this fear of success that will limit you. There will be different thresholds as you build your business. At each point, get more help. It's always available. Part of building your business is delegating as soon as you possibly can. It's called "investing in your business." The second you can afford a Virtual Assistant, get one. I have two. One lives in my hometown and delivers brochures, makes contacts, goes to trade shows, shops for me, etc. I have another who's virtual only. She manages my distance learning school and does other Internet tasks. There will be more!
7. MYTH: I'll be free!
REALITY: No, but you'll be free-ER. Your clients will dictate a lot of your schedule, and the tasks that must be done, but in general you will be much freer working for yourself. Many times when I'm working late at night I've thought, "If someone else were making me work these kinds of hours I'd be mad." When it's you, it's different. When you reap the immediate rewards, it's different.
8. MYTH: I'll run things right. No more madness and disorganization.
REALITY: One of the best personal growth things about working for yourself is you see what's you and what isn't. You also learn that nobody's perfect, yourself included. All the things you blamed a boss or co-worker or manager for, you may find coming back to haunt you, which is part of the learning curve. Your lack of organization your manager complained about is still around, only now it's YOUR problem to live with or fix. You no longer have the luxury of avoiding the issue by saying your manager is unreasonable. You bear the consequences now. It makes an "issue" a pragmatic problem to deal with.
9. MYTH: If I'm good, I'll be a success immediately.
REALITY: Most people who actually go into business for themselves say it takes 3 years, and what they don't tell you is 3 years of working very hard. There are very few "instant successes" out there. Make the commitment and stick with it. And again, you have to market. You may be good, but people have to know about you.
10. MYTH: I won't be able to motivate myself all alone.
REALITY: If you DO find this problem, get a coach and/or take The EQ Course and get this taken care of. You won't succeed at anything if you're dependent upon other people and things to motivate you. The reality is that most of us who can do what we love to do the way we love to, find that motivation is never a problem.
11. MYTH: It will be the answer to all my prayers.
REALITY: In the bowling game of life, we face the same ten pins over and over. However, the tradeoffs are much better. I now hassle with headsets that don't work, but I don't have to wear pantyhose. I no longer have to commute, but when I have a computer problem I have to call and pay. Overall, I'm much more satisfied. I recommend it!
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