By Jamé Jackson Being your own boss sounds amazing, right? You can make your own hours, work from the comfort of your living room, even stay in your sweatpants all day if you want! But don’t get too carried away, young whippersnapper—it also takes a whole lot of effort to ensure your own success. When I started my site, TheBlondeMisfit, I quickly figured out it was more complicated than I had imagined. Thinking about becoming your own boss or starting your own brand? Here are three things I wish I had been given a heads-up on before I took the leap.
It’s easy to overwork yourself.
Having a corporate job meant that I clocked in at 9 and out at 5. Running my own site, however, means that I start earlier in the day and continue later into the night. And if there’s breaking news? I’m writing it up immediately. It’s important to be on top off what’s happening, but you also need time to relax. So put yourself on a schedule like you would at an office job, whether it’s working from 9 to 5, 10 to 6, or whatever other hours are best for you. Establishing boundaries will let you sleep and have a life outside of your job. Plus, your work quality will be better when you allow yourself to step away.
“What you kill, you eat.”
Running my own brand means that I have to constantly be in “hustle” mode to ensure that I can afford things like groceries, rent, transportation, and health insurance. If I don’t work, I don’t make money. Being your own boss puts all of the responsibility on you—and that can lead to burnout if you haven’t established boundaries and end up working yourself too hard. While you must “kill” somehow, there’s a difference between working harder and working smarter. You may have to think outside of the box to sustain yourself. Things like freelancing, consulting, and temping can all be ways to get a few extra dollars. Every penny counts.
You have to be assertive.
People often attempt to downplay the work that I do simply because I’m my own boss. Remember: You are the head honcho and that requires a level of confidence. You don’t need to be a jerk to show people you’re in charge, but you will need a backbone to stand up to anyone speaking down to you or trying to take advantage of you. Learning how to say no was the best thing I could have done—it spared me the hardship of partnering with people who were not on brand or accepting work that was below my bottom line, ultimately saving me lots of stress. The reality is you will make mistakes, and that’s OK. But know that nobody else will have your back the way you do. You got this!