Not everyone longs to be THE boss of a large team or organization. But given a choice, most of us would like to BE our own boss. We want the freedom to use our own judgment in making work-related decisions, to set our own work schedule, to earn at the income level we choose.
Whether you accomplish that goal in reality or emotionally, here are six secrets to making it happen faster.
How to Become Your Own Boss: 6 Secrets to Being Your Own Leader
Communicate the Opportunities Clearly
Take it from me: Few people are spending time looking out for your best interests. If you intend to be your own boss while on someone else’s payroll or as an entrepreneur, you’ll need to keep your eyes open for opportunities—not only for yourself, but for others.
How can you communicate clearly the benefits to your customer for funding the project upfront? How can you communicate clearly to your organization the benefits of a work-from-home arrangement? How can you communicate clearly the benefits of a delay in launching the new marketing campaign?
Look for mutual advantage; that’s the sweet spot of opportunity.
Work After Everyone Else Gives Up and Goes Home
Don’t kid yourself: Running a successful business requires hard work—especially in the beginning. That is, unless venture capitalists drop a pile of money in your lap. And even then, you have to work quickly to beat the competition to market with a new idea.
I recall attending a friend’s party a few years ago when the host asked us to pair up with another person whom we didn’t know very well, introduce ourselves, and find out something about the other person’s hobbies. Don and I ended up as a “pair” in conversation. When I asked about his hobby, he responded, “I guess I really don’t have one. I play golf occasionally. But I have to force myself because I don’t enjoy it. Actually, I’d prefer to be working. I love working. I guess you’d say that’s my hobby—working. It’s what I enjoy the most.”
My response: “Ah-ha! Another soulmate!” (See the next item.)
Find a Job You Love
I find it difficult to decide whether I’m playing or working. That’s why so many entrepreneurs take their devices on vacation—it’s not that they HAVE to. They want to. They miss working. Their work is their play.
Establish Your Expertise in a Niche
My niche area of expertise is business communication. Not family relationships. Not telecommunications. Not software communication. Not crisis intervention. Not public relations. Of course, many of the principles of business communications apply in these other niches.
But I’ve focused solely on how business people create and deliver messages personally and as a team in the marketplace. Typically, that means when they write, speak, lead meetings, and otherwise interact with their colleagues and customers.
I wrote my first business book and formed my own training company to offer programs based on the content of my book. Media tours generated leads for my company. First client: Shell Oil. Then Pennzoil. Then Enron. Then Exxon. Within 5 years, Encyclopaedia Britannica contacted me about licensing my content.
The narrower the niche, the deeper the expertise. The deeper the expertise, the more willing clients are to pay for knowledge and skill that can make a big difference for them.
As author of 47 books (all full-length volumes published by mainstream houses such as Penguin Random House, Simon and Schuster, and McGraw-Hill), I have a system for writing books in 21 days. The system saves time. It’s reliable. Everything works better with a repeatable process—even creativity.
Every major project we complete in our consulting company is followed by “this-is-how-we-did-it” records, so we don’t have to reinvent the wheel the next time a similar task or project comes along.
Live Beneath Your Means
Riches can disappear in a flash. Living beneath your means reduces the day-to-day pressure when things take a downturn, as they do from time to time. Conflicts erupt. Companies go bankrupt. Crises emerge. None of this has to translate to panic unless you’re living on every dollar you earn.
Good health, intelligence, and talent are blessings from God. Remember that these blessings are on “loan” to you for a short while. Save a great deal, live modestly, and be generous with the rest.
Once you learn these six secrets to emotional freedom, you can truly become your own boss—whether you’re an entrepreneur or on someone else’s payroll.
For more in-depth information and practical skills to grow your career, see Dianna’s newest book: Communicate Like A Leader: Connecting Strategically to Coach, Inspire, and Get Things Done. Learn more and buy at CommunicateLikeALeaderBook.com/buy