It's a magical thing to be able to look your pals in the eye and say "I'm my own boss." You feel proud, important, and ahead of the crowd. You are not among the masses who are slave to some random, inept corporate-ladder-crawling-junkie who tell's you what to do, how to do it and when it has to be done. You are the master of your time. You are effective, decisive, flexible and efficient. You are,….aren't you?
I can't tell you the number of self-employed people I've heard quip "I could never have a boss!" and toss off the idea as if it was a ridiculous notion that only the meek and unenlightened partake in. I'm hear to tell you, as someone who has recently crossed over from corporate junkie to self-employed hero, there's more to the story.
In the past few weeks, I've noticed that I've been slowly starting to play more than one role in my work. Not only am I the employee, but I am literally his boss too. This sounds obvious at first, but take a moment to rewind that until you realize that this is actually two jobs being done by one person. Being self-employed, or 'your own boss' means that you actually have to do the job that your old boss used to do. You have to set goals. Decide whether they are in-line with the vision. You have to break up those goals into tasks and make sure they have weekly mini-goals. You have to manage your employee, and make sure he doesn't slip. You have to prioritize, and decide whether the job is being done adequately, or whether more training is needed. Oh yeah, and you have to do all the stuff you've been planning to.
Of course, I'm sure that to some of you, this still seems rather obvious, but I assure you, the time it takes to play boss is very real. It's not something that just happens because the projects you are working on seem small, or simple. It's even easier to get off course when you're self-employed than it was when you had a real boss-man, so no matter how simple, you need a plan. Who has to create it? Well your boss, of course… You.
So far, I think I've done a decent job of setting up my work-life. I have weekly goals, daily task lists, and longer term goals that I've split up into 1, 2-5, 6-10 and 11-20 year goals. I have a mission statement and a list of beliefs that I hold to be true. I try to keep all this rigid enough to hold a schedule, yet flexible enough to fit daily randomness.
It's tough. It's tough to keep it all in my head. To review it daily. To keep myself accountable. And this is just the beginning. My projects are in their infancy, and it will only get more complex from here. There are more roles that will come in… Salesperson, Secretary, Accountant, Lawyer,… As long as I'm small enough and poor enough to not afford actual other humans, I will need to fill these roles to some extent. Because life is about assuming different roles, and so is working for yourself.
So far, it's totally worth it.