Do you want to work for yourself? Are you fed up with your annoying boss and even more annoying co-workers? Do you want to finally break free?
You likely do. I have a feeling that you want to see what it’s like to be your own boss and set your own schedule.
2011 was the first year that I worked for myself. It was an interesting experience. Instead of sharing my emotional reflections on the year, I wanted to share some simple rules that you need to follow or be willing to follow if you want to break off on your own.
What are the 7 laws of working for yourself?
1. You can NOT pass the buck.
You’re on the hook for everything when you work for yourself. You can’t have a lazy day. You can’t let the evening shift finish off your work. You can’t take a vacation and leave your work behind. You always take your work home with you. You always have work on your mind. There are no weekends. You absolutely can not pass the buck if you want any success at all.
You can’t blame anyone else for your failures. You can’t rely on anyone else to finish the job off for you. This is the toughest aspect mentally when it comes to working for yourself. We’re all so used to passing the buck, that we need some time to get used to the idea of being on the hook for everything.
2. You need to be willing to work the most random hours.
The hours are ridiculous! When you’re on your own there are no set hours. Sorry to tell you. This goes hand-in-hand with the point earlier on not being able to pass the buck. Your hours are now going to be completely random. If you want stability in your life, I suggest staying in your current job. If you’re willing to work random hours, then you can consider working for yourself.
You can’t really close down for the day. If something happens you need to deal with it. You also can’t decide when your best ideas will hit you. You can’t pick and choose when you’re going to be hit with problems.
The good news is that you get to set your own hours. You can work any 18 hours of the day that you want to. I’m not trying to smarmy either. I just love to be ruthlessly realistic.
3. Be ready for ridiculous money fluctuations.
The money isn’t ridiculous in a hip hop sort of way. You know that steady pay check? That’s gone. Your income now depends on how and how smart that you work. You don’t get an hourly rate. You don’t have an income ceiling. You also don’t have a floor either. You can make an abundance of money. You can also make no money at all one month. You can even lose money for a few months. If you want to work for yourself you need to be ready emotionally and financially for the income fluctuations.
4. You got to figure out how to start your day.
You have no idea where to start. Some days you just don’t know where to start. You have so much that you want to do. You just don’t know what’s important. You don’t know if you should eat breakfast, go for a workout, get dressed, or watch music videos on YouTube. You just don’t know what to do first.
This is why it’s an important law when working for yourself that you create a plan for how you’re going to start your day.
5. You need to learn to stop.
You don’t know when to stop when you work for yourself.
As I’m writing this it’s three in the morning. I sort of have to be up early. Oh well. I’ve learned to deal with it by consuming a serious amount of caffeine. Not that I’m proud of that. I would eventually want to drink less coffee and have more natural energy. The problem is that I just don’t know when to stop working and this impacts my sleep greatly.
Another sub-law of working for yourself is that you always take your work home with you because you are your own boss.
These two factors combine and it’s going to be tough to stop.
You need to learn how to stop working and when to stop working. I’m pretty sure it’s not healthy to be always working. I try to set boundaries and time limits so that I don’t lose my mind working. Whatever you do, you need to find a way to know when to stop working so that you can live a balanced life.
6. Be ready to annoy your friends.
You’re going to annoy your friends. There’s only so much patience that your friends or girlfriend can have. It’s annoying when you bust out your laptop on a vacation. It’s annoying to be always jotting down ideas. It’s annoying to always be thinking about how you can improve something. You’re really going to annoy some people around you.
Your true friends will accept that you love working for yourself. Some will get frustrated and not want to hang out with you anymore. You can’t win them all.
You just must accept that one of the laws of working for yourself is that you’re going to annoy some of your friends. There’s no way around this one.
7. Your business will be your life.
The idea of starting an iguana grooming business so that you can spend more time on rock climbing (lifestyle design) just isn’t going to cut it. Your business will be your life. Your business will consume all of your energy and time. Besides thinking about sex and your social life, what else will be on your mind?
I just hope that you’re starting your own business because you want to work on stuff that matters to you. There’s no way around this. Your business will be your life. You want your life to be consumed by something that you enjoy.
Those are the 7 laws of working for yourself. Be ready to follow them if you want to be your own boss and thrive without a 9-5 gig.
Are you ready to break off and give it a shot? Are there any laws that I missed in this post?