12 Things You Must Pay Attention to When its Time to be Your Own Boss

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The idea of being your own boss is a very Romanic one. But a lot of people, especially those who are trying to make a transition from corporates do not pay attention to some new set of ideologies that will help them win the game.

Running a business is a zero-sum game. It’s is either you win or you lose (or maybe learn if you are smart). There is nothing like being in the middle.

Based on my work as a financial and business researcher who has had the opportunity to look into the life and times of many businesses or would-be business owners, I will be sharing with you certain things to pay attention to when starting out on your own if you must end up on the winning side of the sum.

Point one: You need a new set of skills

You can’t be a new groom in your old shoes.  You need to learn new ways of business.

If you worked in corporate before going on your own, there are a lot of things that other people helped you out with that must now be sorted out by you.

So if you don’t get ready to fit into this new reality, you will struggle.

white notebook near black bag

Part of the new skills that should be found in your toolbox include negotiation skills, ability to leverage on people and opportunities, ability to market and sell, ability to communicate and pitch your ideas with power(there is nothing like “I don’t like talking to strangers” if you want to see profit) and the likes.

These new sets of skills will give you a starting and going edge if you make the effort to develop, master and use them in growing your business.

Point 2: Self-reliance  

Nobody will be more interested in the success of your business than yourself. That means, if you don’t take you and your ideas seriously, why should anyone else care?

Nobody will be more interested in the success of your business than yourself. That means, if you don’t take you and your ideas seriously, why should anyone else care?

12 Things You Must Pay Attention to When its Time to be Your Own Boss

This is why it becomes super important that you trust yourself and your ability to see things through in this new journey of being your own boss.

From my experience, people with low self-esteem don’t make it in business. They fail and drag the business along with them.

Learn to harness your strength and accentuate them whenever you have to and come to appreciate your weakness while working on getting better with yourself.

Point 3: Ability to Learn and be mentored

No business can grow bigger than the owner. What that means is that how big and successful a business becomes is a function of the “knowledge quotient” of the person that founded it and the people that run it (and you need to be smart to know how to lead smarter people!).

The way to grow big fast is to invest heavily in knowledge and access to people who are ahead of you. Anything you will struggle within your business has been written about in a book or blog, has been addressed in a seminar and can be avoided by the right counsel. Court those and never let them go.

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When I hear a business owner drop a line like “I’m too busy to read a book or attend a seminar”, I already know that such a person will suffer for long and probably will never make it through with his ideas eventually. 

Point 4: New mindset

On this new path, you need a mindset of possibility. You can’t be what you can’t see and you can’t see what you don’t yet believe in your mind to be true. Everything is created twice and that is why every business that will succeed must first become possible in the mind of the owner.

Self-awareness is also an important mental state. Some people and their ideas will struggle for too long a time because of their own personal biases. Some are blinded by emotions such that even when the market doesn’t want their ideas, they keep pumping money down the toilet instead of just sitting back to count their losses early and pivot very quickly.

One of the advantages of the small business over the big ones is the speed of adjustment and any business owner that is hijacked by the emotional aspect of his ideas will never win.

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#Noexcuseisgoodenough mindset is also a goal. In mean life will try you, but you need to find the courage to keep fighting.

The code of this journey is that you will live as others won’t so that you can eventually create a life that others can’t have. For that to happen, you need to be ruthless with your dreams and kill excuses before they kill you.

Be ready to thrive on leanness. You might need to postpone getting married, you might need to have fewer kids, you might live with your parents or squat with friends longer than you thought, and your wardrobe will look old and out.

They are all the price of the prize you seek.  Again, be ready!

Point 5: Self-management

The greatest enemy of man is himself. The greatest undoing of you in your business will be you.

Business owners with bad lifestyle don’t win.

If you are a lazy punk that keeps turning on the bed like a door handle, a lover of skirts and bottles, a gambler(unless you own the table), a non-respecter of people and time, your work will be hard and dirty.

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“Man know thyself” remains one of the greatest lines in history.

When you know that the things you know about you won’t let you be great, you might just decide to get a job and keep living your life, after all, YOLO!  Or just stop and turn a new leaf instead of torturing yourself unnecessarily.

Point 6: Leverage and collaboration

These are your tickets to timely glory. In the corporate, you might not need to corporate a lot so that someone won’t steal your shine and get the promotion and all the pecks without you. So it will be fine to hide stuff just to get ahead.

But in business, its either you collaborate and leverage to success or you die under the weight of your brilliance and problems.

In fact, before you even go far with your ideas, the first thing you should do is to spot people you can leverage on and collaborate with.

Point 7: Money is not everything but it’s very important

You should start collecting money from day one in your business.

I shared this idea with a lady who is into hair care products and she bought the idea fast.  She decided to launch her business on her birthday and as friends, families and well-wishers came to eat cake, she sold them products there and then and that is how she started a profitable business from day one.

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So it’s not just about the idea, it’s also about knowing if the market loves it enough pay for it. If not, why waste everybody’s time?

Don’t forget, is about the market and not you.

Point 8: General management

You are and will remain the general manager of your business. Even if you get help along the way, you will still have to oversee things to make sure that error is minimized and that everyone is on the same page with the vision.

12 Things You Must Pay Attention to When its Time to be Your Own Boss

So it’s important that you know every bit of what moves things in your business so that your business doesn’t move and leave you behind! Lol.

Point 9: A Profitable idea is different from a good idea.

I don’t know if you have watched programs like the Apprentice, Shark tank, Next titan, etc. what makes the investors and judges discredit many brilliant ideas? Before you curse and think that they are doing “ojoro”, just know that the ideas are brilliant but not profitable, at least at that time.

Don’t just be obsessed with your crazy ideas that will change the world, also figure out early and fast if the world is willing and ready to pay you for it.

Immediately you are done conceiving an idea, the next questions should be:

“Where is the money in this”?

“Are there enough people willing to pay for this?

If you get a double yes, then go on. If not, why bother? Unless if you want to run it as a charity: which on its own isn’t bad.

Remember this always, “A Good idea not necessarily a profitable idea but every profitable idea is a good idea!”

Point 10: Balance is key

Activity is not the same as productivity and having red-eye due to sleep deprivation doesn’t put money in your account. So, chill and relax. If this thing works, your life should be full and if it doesn’t your life should also be fully there.

Don’t short change yourself and abandon life and all the things and people that make it sweet just because you are trying to be your own boss.

IIM Africa members on walk-out exercise
IIM Africa members on walk-out exercise

Workout well. Eat well. Sleep well. Play well then work well.  There might not be much time for them especially at the beginning, but remember that you need a healthy body and mind to build a profitable business.

Don’t also forget to have some buddies too.  This is going to be a long and lonely ride so balance all the shocks ahead with the support of loved ones and cherished friends.

Point 11: Build a business asset from day one

From the day your idea begins to get attention, the next question should be “how can this business be sold or franchised this question will give you perspective and help you build a business instead of just running a business.

The thinking that I have for my financial education business is to franchise my method and have others teach and train with them while I get franchise fees and royalties.

The idea behind my wife’s law practice is to build a unique brand of law practice and sell it off to one of the biggest law firms in Africa.

This is not a common idea out there, but it is a powerful way to build an entity that will be separate from you and also run even in your absence.

Point 12: This risk might sink you, pay attention.

Business is risky and nobody can predict the future outcome of events. Like mike Tyson rightly said, “Everyone has a plan until he gets punched in the nose”.

 So be sold on the risk involved on this path and learn how to manage it. Every great entrepreneur is great at risk management.

 Don’t live in denial of the punches that must come and don’t play blind eyes to little errors. They are the ones that will balloon one day and blow off your sanity!

Final Point…

Just go and build a great Business!

To your #Moneysense.


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