Be Your Own Boss: How to Become an Entrepreneur and WIN
Learn how to be your own boss! Learn how to become an entrepreneur! Learn how to build your own empire!
Have you ever heard these phrases before? I’m sure you have, especially if you’re reading this blog post.
You’re probably on a search for the impossible, on a search for the holy grail… on a search for complete financial independence.
There are countless success stories on the internet about:
- How people trade in their 9 - 5 job for their own business.
- How someone grinds away at their dream until it becomes a reality.
- How someone’s idea turned into a huge success.
- How people “hack” their workweek, letting them travel all the time.
- How something like a gazebo on the beach is the best “cubicle” in the world.
At one point or another, everyone working the traditional 9 to 5 job stops and thinks of the “be your own boss" scenario.
25 Tips to Becoming Your Own Boss
Perhaps we disagree with our boss’s decisions or the direction of the company we work for. Or maybe we are just fantasizing about being the big kahuna in the office for once. Regardless, we all think of what it would be like to be the number one boss in charge.
And because Drop Ship Lifestyle celebrates the entrepreneurial life… we decided to compose a list of 25 tips for the aspiring entrepreneur!
There are five parts to this list. Each is an area of focus as you set out to become an entrepreneur and be your own boss. Those focus areas are:
If you’re wanting to be your own boss and you’re craving the entrepreneur lifestyle, then this is perfect for you. Think of it as your starter guide. To get started, you first need to have the entrepreneurial mindset...
Part 1: Get the Right Mindset
1. Manage Your Time Wisely
Time management is part of growing up. When we’re in middle school, high school, or university, time seems to grow on trees.
Somehow, even though you’re in classes all day, hanging out with friends, or even working a job after school, there always seems to be enough time.
But then life happens. A real job happens. Kids happen. Family happens. You know, stuff just happens. Good stuff! But still...stuff. As we grow older, time becomes scarce and things change.
So if you’re going to run your own business while managing your own life, you need some sort of system to keep your sanity. You need a routine.
Here are our favorite time managment resources and apps:
Finding what tools you can add that will help you be more productive is great...just don’t over do it. Don’t fall into the mistake of having three calendar apps, and five to-do-list apps. This will have the opposite effect!
Trial and error, and find the one that feels right for you and your needs.
2. Discipline is Key
So if you do everything in the tip above to manage your time, you should be off to a good start. However…
If you don’t stick to it, the New Year’s Resolution effect will happen. Humans take the path of least resistance, which is not ideal for future entrepreneurs.
Before you start acting on your new time frame, you need to come to a decision:
- Are you going to quit your current job and THEN become an entrepreneur?
- Or are you going to start your entrepreneurial venture WHILE working at your current job? Then quit your current job when you’re ready?
If you choose to quit your job first:
You’ve got to WORK FAST! You need to get your feet off the ground and roll with the punches. Hopefully, you have some ideas in mind for what you’re wanting to do as an entrepreneur.
But if you don’t, here are a few fields you can look into.
If you quit your current job before you become an entrepreneur, you need to decide on a routine and start killing it with your business. No vacation. No breaks. You start now.
If you chose to quit your job after you’re semi-successful as an entrepreneur:
You have a bit more flexibility. Traditionally, this path is the recommended one. It’s smarter, safer, and more of a smooth transition. But in order to do this, you need to engage in some moonlighting.
Work on your entrepreneurial venture before and after your 9 to 5 job. The mornings and evenings are your kingdom. Be your own boss then, and be a golden employee during the day.
3. Keeping the 9-5 Routine
As you can see, without discipline, you may find yourself in quite the pickle. As an entrepreneur, you may not work enough… OR, you may work too much.
Go back and look at [TIP 1] for a second. Imagine you were your own boss, and create your dream work schedule. What does it look like? Waking up late? Staying up late? Working 10 hours? Working two hours?
Now, you can do whatever you want. You are your own boss after all. But if this is your first rodeo as an entrepreneur, you may want to keep it simple… here is our recommendation:
- Keep your hours from 9 - 5.
- Wake up early and “get ready” for work.
- Do not deviate from this for at least for ONE month.
I know this sounds weird coming from Drop Ship Lifestyle. I mean, we tell people to work the four hour workweek. We tell people to work how and when they want. And that’s the benefit of being your own boss.
But you need to start with a template. Try working your own hours from 9 - 5 for a while, and then start pruning your work hours. Experiment.
4. Staying Healthy
Here at Drop Ship Lifestyle, we don’t see this talked about enough. Most “how to become an entrepreneur” guides on the internet skip the topic of health. We have to say, it’s a HUGE oversight.
Health is an expansive and sometimes controversial topic, so we will recommend you look into three things:
5. Find a Mentor
Seth Godin said, “Like a custom made suit, a mentor is a fine thing to have if you can find or afford it. But for the rest of us, heroes will have to do.”
You don’t need to have a mentor. Every successful entrepreneur hasn’t had one. However, having a mentor is a very, very nice thing to have.
It’s good to have a touchstone, someone you can get advice from. Being close with a successful entrepreneur who is willing and excited to teach you is a gift. You’ll learn from their mistakes so that you don’t make the same ones.Team Management (i.e. BaseCamp)
Part 2: Positioning Yourself
6. Examine your Skills
What are you good at? What could you see yourself being the best at? You’ve probably already figured this out by now. If you’re quitting your job without knowing what you’re good at… you may be in some trouble.
Examining your skills is more than just finding out what you could do as an entrepreneur. You need to know what you can handle. Can you do accounting, design work, back end development, and marketing?
Some people can, but others need to bring people with specific skills onto their team. Know what you are good at, and find who you will need.
7. Do What you LOVE
So this is interesting. Up to a certain point, it seems that people always end up choosing happiness over money… Weird right?...well, not really!
Maybe you aspire to make millions. Maybe you think millions of dollars would make you happy. But wouldn’t you be happier making millions of dollars doing something you love rather than something you hated?
Loving what you do is your best bet. I encourage you to try that.
8. Break Into a Niche
Before you launch the doughnut shop of your dreams, shouldn’t you at least be acquainted with the industry?
Shouldn’t you know who your competitors are? What the culture of your niche industry is? Where the NEED of your target audience lies?
Basically, you need to do some market research. Don’t go into your industry blind! This will set you up for failure, and we don’t want that.
We teach this in our Blueprint at Drop Ship Lifestyle. Before you start anything, big or small, you need to research prospective niches. You need to know as much as you can about the swimming pool before you dive in head first.
9. Write the Business plan
Your business plan should be a document that you and your investors can go back and review for consistency in the direction the company will go.
Business Plan Definition (via Investopedia):
A business plan is a written document that describes in detail how a business, usually a new one, is going to achieve its goals. A business plan lays out a written plan from a marketing, financial and operational viewpoint. Sometimes, a business plan is prepared for an established business that is moving in a new direction.
This task will take some time and that is to be expected. Your business plan is a vital piece of the puzzle in the niche research phase. It’s your roadmap and guide to achieving your goals and staying on track.
If you’re looking for investors, serious employees, mentors, or even getting a loan for your business investments, you’ll need a business plan. Do it now so you don’t have to stress about it later.
10. Write Your Story
Creating your story is an in-depth process that takes time. Be vigilant, and don’t cut corners.
Your story will encompass absolutely everything that you do as a business. It will pave the path for your customers’ perceptions, and it will pave the path for your vision as an entrepreneur.
Part 3: Continuing Your Education
11. Find the Experts in Your Field
This was mentioned a bit in [TIP 5] when we talked about finding a mentor. Through that process, you’ll probably run across some other experts in your field of business.
When you’re writing your business plan from [TIP 9], you’ll have to take note of these experts. Some of them will be competitors, and others will be influencers. What you’re looking for are the influencers.
The people who influence you are the people who believe in you.
- Henry Drummond
These are people that you will collaborate with. They will help you on projects, testimonials (like the ones featured in this post), collaborations, and much, much more.
If you can cozy up to experts in your industry, you’ll start to grow a community. You’ll make friends. You’ll be in a place where you become an influence!
At one point in your life, you’ve probably been to trade shows, job fairs, or parties. This is where you can network! Make friends. Grow a reputation that people in your industry respect!
Who knows, maybe some of the contacts you meet will be your lucky break in the future…
12. Invest in You
The more you do something, the better you’ll get at that thing. So don’t procrastinate! As soon as you find your skillset, write your business plan, and start networking, you need to get to work!
You haven’t launched your business quite yet, but you need to start honing in your skills. Go back to what you’re good at in [TIP 6]... and get better.
13. Continuing Your Education
Education is extremely valuable when becoming your own boss. Sure… there are people like Mark Zuckerberg and Bill Gates that broke the mold and actually quit pursuing their education to build their business.
But, remember that they are outliers in a field of business owners and entrepreneurs that focused on their education, and continue this practice even after they opened their business.
Now… don’t take this as us saying you have to go get a Masters degree before you can become your own boss. However, taking a look at what skills you’ll need as a business owner can be really, really beneficial.
Not very good at math? Need to refresh your writing skills? No problem!
There are many ways to continue your education while taking the steps to become your own boss and enter the entrepreneur world.
It could be from a college or university near you, or from one of the many credible institutions online that offer classes, certificates, and even degrees.
14. Look at Your Finances
You’re becoming your own boss and know it’s going to take work. But, don’t let your finances be the mistake that ruins your plan. Guess what? It’s one of the biggest mistakes that start-up businesses and entrepreneurs make.
From managing the cash flow as your own boss to knowing where every dollar is coming from and going to, taking a look at your finances is critical to ensure your entrepreneurial success.
If you’re not confident with handling finances, or they make you nervous, look at learning more to ease your worries. This can be either online or at a local college, university, or online learning resource which we talked about in [Tip 12] and [Tip 13].
Now that you know that… there’s no excuse to ignore this vital part of owning your own business!
15. Learning Skills
When anyone becomes their own boss, there’s bound to be at least one skill (and probably many more) that you either don’t know anything about or aren’t as informed and up-to-date as you know you should be.
Learning the skills that will put you a step ahead can save hours and hours of work. It can also put you in a position to train someone else, when the time comes, to take over that skill or task.
Here are a few examples…
Maybe you’re opening a drop shipping business, and want to learn more about what you can do to make sure it is successful. A resource like Drop Ship Lifestyle would be ideal.
On the other hand, maybe you’ve decided to run your own freelance business on different platforms and want to stand out from other freelancers. Finding local groups through a place like MeetUp or online training courses from sites like Udemy could help you be a step ahead of your competition.
Sit down... think… contemplate...research… and write down what skills you need to run your business. Which ones jump out to you as, “I may not know that quite as well as I should…” would be the best place to start.
Part 4: Build Your Business
16. Follow the Law
Let’s face it. At any stage of business ownership, it is vital that you know the laws.
We know… it’s easy to become focused on the fun part of owning a business and bypass the boring law part. However, at the smallest level of business ownership, there are still laws that have to be followed.
Some of the laws you may need to familiarize yourself with include:
There are other laws regarding finance, intellectual property, environment, privacy, workers (foreign workers, immigrants, and employee eligibility), and workplace safety that each business will need to determine which they need to follow.
Networking is one part of being your own boss that you can’t take for granted.
By networking, you will be able to build a group of people who can support, advise, and partner with you. You can also meet possible vendors for your business, and become known by other entrepreneurs and owners.
The most important thing to remember when networking is it doesn’t matter how big your business is. Conveying your passion and belief in your business is the most important.
Only have a one-man-show? Have the presence and confidence like it’s a one-hundred-man-show! A few ways to network with other entrepreneurs:
18. Sell Your Idea to People
Becoming an entrepreneur and starting your own business requires a very, very important aspect. Sure...you've already sold yourself on your idea (or you wouldn’t be doing it!). Now is the time to sell that idea to other people.
Here are a few tips to do that:
Having this knowledge and having the ability to explain and reiterate your idea and specifics will help you speak to anyone about your business at the correct level and relay specific details they need to know.
Ah...Marketing. Critical for building a business? Yes! Also equally confusing and overwhelming? For most, yes! That is nothing to be embarrassed about, either.
Never fear! With these tips, it'll make your ventures a little easier. Marketing, an umbrella term, has continued to grow with advancements in social media marketing, digital marketing, and online advertising.
Never think you have to advertise using all types of marketing! The most crucial aspect to market your business is knowing how your product or niche is best marketed.
We will repeat that, just to make sure you have it. Knowing how your product would be marketed best is vital...crucial...so, so important!
One best practice is to compile of list of how your competitors market their business. Next, begin analyzing how you can customize your marketing to grab the attention of potential customers.
My competitors market through:
Social Media: What platforms? Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, or Snapchat?
Print ads: In newspapers, magazine, local papers, periodicals, marketing books, online boards, community boards, billboards?
Digital marketing: On the internet, other channels?
While brainstorming, continue asking yourself:
“Which techniques and strategies are they using that I can use?”
- How can I improve what they have done?
- How can I make it my own to grab new customers attention?
- How can I convey through marketing how my business or product is better than my competitors without saying it overtly?
These are some vital questions to ask to begin crafting the marketing plan that you can implement and start growing your business.
20. Know Your Business Ethics
Wait...business ethics? Didn’t we already talk about laws?
Yes! One vital aspect of running a successful business is not only adhering to laws. Having a foundation of ethics that you and your company will follow can make things a little easier when tough decisions and scenarios arise.
Businesses commonly call this their code of ethics or mission statement. It indicates the moral principles or “moral compass” that the business will follow in how they treat their employees, conduct themselves with customers and make decisions.
Sure… it may seem you would know what your businesses ethics will be, even during tough decisions. It won’t be that easy for some cases... when an issue arises that doesn't have a definite answer, having a written statement to review can be very helpful.
It also sets you apart from other businesses that don’t a code of ethics. This can impress potential customers, partners, or vendors.
Part 5: Adapt & Maintain
21. Always Adapt
Adapting can be easy. It can also be hard, depending on what things need to be adjusted.
As an entrepreneur and business owner, you will have many times that adjusting will be necessary. It could be something small like a change in the decor of your store, to having to fully reconstruct a product or design due to an outside factor
Guess what? When these scenarios come up, it may be hard. In the end, you have to remember to be adaptable and look at the positive in needing to apply these changes and adapt to different issues or scenarios.
A few tips to be prepared and adapt as an entrepreneur:
Adapting as an entrepreneur can be the key to setting you and your business up for success. Seeing it as a positive will rarely hurt your business.
22. Be Ready to Change
Right in line with adapting, being ready for change can put you in the right mindset for accepting modifications that can transform and propel your business to new levels.
Many entrepreneurs and business owners can get comfortable with how things are. Although they may adapt to specific issues, completely changing is either off limits or ignored.
For business owners that do accept change, more significant things can happen, and exciting ventures and possibilities will arise and be embraced rather than ignored or put off.
What are we saying? Entrepreneurs that are ready and look at change as a positive thing will see their business ventures excel much faster!
23. Build Relationships
Building business relationships is a more than just networking. As you grow as an entrepreneur, you should begin noticing that good relationships with clients and other business owners start fostering.
When this occurs, it is not strictly all about business. Instead, it is a bit deeper in personalization, and more casual.
These relationships can be fulfilling personally and as an entrepreneur and business owner. It creates a rapport with customers and other entrepreneurs that will continue and not only help your business's success but contain personal empowerment as well.
24. Know When to “Scale”
Some new entrepreneurs and business owners do not know what this vital term encompasses in the practice of owning and running a business.
One thing to always remember. All Fortune 500 companies at one point were a “startup,” just like your business.
Scaling is a very detailed way of a business owner looking at and analyzing their business. By objectively examining the company from all different angles, the owner can make adjustments to help with anything from employee retention to the customer experience.
25. Research, Research, Research
With all of the above tips, each one can be researched more in-depth. During your time of becoming an entrepreneur and business owner, you have no doubt conducted many hours of research.
Research should never be devalued. It is one of the most powerful things you can do. From small questions to learning new technologies and practices that could be implemented, research should never be something you stop doing.
Doing research frequently will help you stay aware of current trends and assist in adapting to any changes that your business may need to have now or in the future.
What Should You Do With These 25 Entrepreneur Tips?
These tips will help any up and coming entrepreneur and small business owner in being prepared for different scenarios that will happen with business ownership.
Utilizing these and reviewing them frequently will put you in the best place to achieve the most optimal success for your business. Have a space that employees and customers are the happiest, and increase profit and growth at an optimal level.
These 25 tips will get you going in the right direction, and begin helping you form helpful habits that you will use for the rest of your time growing as an entrepreneur and becoming your own boss. What are one tips and tricks that you have already put into practice that you’ve found helpful?
We love hearing from our readers, and look at every comment we get on our articles and blogs. Comment below and let us know what you have already put into practice, or which of the tips above you’re excited to begin!