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15 Reasons Why You Should Quit Your Job and Be Your Own Boss

15 Reasons Why You Should Quit Your Job and Be Your Own Boss

The world can be a monotonous place, especially if you are stuck at a 9-to-5 desk job. I have lived the daily grind and hated it, and decided it was time to go back to the thing I love most: being my own boss. In this interconnected world, it is easier than ever to make a living doing what you love. Be forewarned: being self-employed is hard work, but it is worth every sleep-deprived moment. From my personal experience as an entrepreneur, these are the reasons why you should quit your job and be your own boss.

1. You will never have a boss again

If you are stuck in the cycle of bills, bills, and more bills, quitting a steady income job is absolutely terrifying. What if you can’t pay your car bill, or your cellphone? What if you can’t have cable TV anymore? Are you prepared to give up Starbucks and drink instant coffee every morning? Could you eat a PBJ for breakfast and lunch and dinner?

Being your own boss is worth every single risk. “Great deeds are usually wrought at great risks”; even a guy named Herodotus from over 2,000 years ago knew that nothing great can be achieved without significant risk. If you leave your desk job, trust me, you won’t actually die. You might have to shack up with your parents, or forgo Netflix for a few months, but believe me, there are way worse things in life, like working for a boss who has a lower IQ than Johnny Knoxville.

2.  Say Bye-bye to monotony

Once you are free of the 9-5 grind, the world becomes alot less boring. Now you can march to the beat of your own drum and do whatever it is that you want to do.

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3. Your earning potential is limitless

Do you make badass dresses for little girls? Post that picture on Etsy, do a little social-media marketing, and your passion can turn into an empire like KPea Original. This independent clothing company started as a home-based business and has boomed into one of the largest completely American handmade clothing companies, employing over 100 people in the small town of Elmore, Ohio. I’m sure in the beginning no one thought a woman with a sewing machine and a dream would turn into a 100,000+ fan Facebook page and a cult following.

If you put in the work, you will see the reward. If you have a skill, or make something that people want, post it, share it, publicize it. Somewhere, someone on the inter-webs needs it, all you need to do is let the world know that you exist.

4. You get to travel more

This is probably the best perk of being self-employed—you have a legitimate excuse to travel. In my business, I go to trade shows throughout the Midwest. I frequently travel to meet clients. I visit vendors. If you enjoy seeing new places and meeting new people, being your own boss creates a plethora of opportunities for road trips. If it weren’t for my business I would have never discovered the hipster mecca of Ferndale, Michigan, nor would I have experienced the wonder of Cahokia in St Louis.

5. Realize your self-worth

Once you have worked for yourself, you begin to understand your own self-worth. Seeing the rewards from all those hours of hard work begins to sink in—you have built something, you have achieved something, you are worth something. Often times at a 9-to-5 job, you go under-appreciated and your efforts unnoticed. When you can directly experience the reward of your efforts you have a feeling of self-fulfillment and realization that can never be fully felt when you are working for someone else.

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6. You call the shots

No more of those awkward moments where you are trying to skirt around your boss to avoid a tongue lashing. Now, you call the shots. Now, you can do the tongue lashing if you so chose.

7. You have more free time

At first, working for yourself involves putting in a schload of time. I’m talking 15 hours days. But then, once you learn what efficiency and effectiveness and delegation are, you suddenly have this chunk of free time that didn’t exist before. You can go to the gym at 2 p.m., or get breakfast with Grandma on a Monday at 9 a.m. Remember, you call the shots, and now you call your free time.

8.  Make your own schedule

As your own boss you not only get to live a less monotonous life, but you get to make your own schedule, too! Why not make those Monday mornings with Grandma a weekly affair? Now that you control your destiny, you can make your schedule as you well please.

9. Do what you love

If you’ve played your cards right, you are now doing something that you absolutely love. Even on those days where you do have to work 15 hours, it doesn’t feel like it. You get to wake up every morning and pursue your passion.

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10. You will meet interesting people

Often we get stuck in the yokel funk—we see the same people everyday for years.This is especially so if you live in a rural area. But now, you get to travel, you make your own schedule, and you meet people that you probably didn’t even know existed.

11. You will step out of your comfort zone

With being an solopreneur comes uncomfortable situations. You may have to do things you really don’t want to do, or things that you have never done. Like giving speeches, teaching a seminar, going to meetings. But, these awkward situations will help you to grow and develop into a better person and business owner.

12. You can write off expenses

And now you also get paid to drive your own car. And you can write off your home office space. The beauty of being self-employed is now all those spaces and things that you use for your business are considered business expenses and you can write them off of your taxes.

13. You will earn street cred

You are at your 10-year reunion. Guess what? All those jocks that wouldn’t look your way suddenly have heard of your entrepreneurial exploits and are quite interested. Thankfully you have been also participating in CrossFit while those jocks now have voluptuous beer bellies. But hey, that guy from AP Chem class now looks like Ryan Gosling’s younger brother? And guess what, he has heard of your business and wants to get drinks.

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14. You will become a (local) celebrity!

Not everyone likes fame. BUT we all do like a little pat on the back for a job well done. Now that you are your own boss you are well-known around your hometown and have made your family proud.

15. You can give back

Best of all you can now afford to give back. You can help your parents pay their mortgage. You can donate funds to the local tee-ball team. You can support the local food pantry. It’s a great feeling to be able to give back to the community and to pay it forward. Because you never know who may be looking up to you.

Featured photo credit: Andrey Belenko via flickr.com

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Published on March 20, 2019

How to Write a Powerful Mission Statement for Your Business

How to Write a Powerful Mission Statement for Your Business

Have you ever felt lost in the minutia of your job?

As a business owner, I can relate to getting bogged down in the day to day operations of my business. Things like inventory, payroll, scheduling, purchasing and employee management take up the bulk of my day.

While these things are important and need to get done, focusing too much on the details can make you lose sight of the big picture. This is why having a good mission statement comes in handy.

What is a Mission Statement?

Put simply, a mission statement is an internal document that provides a clear purpose for the organization. It provides a common reference point for everyone in the organization to start from.

In other words, after reading your company’s mission statement, managers and employees should be able to answer the question “What are company’s main objectives?” For example, Southwest Airlines mission statement reads:[1]

“Southwest Airlines is dedication to the highest quality of Customer Service delivered with a sense of warmth, friendliness, individual pride, and Company Spirit. We are committed to provide our Employees a stable work environment with equal opportunity for learning and personal growth.”

In this single statement, Southwest conveys the company’s goals of providing the highest level of customer service as well as providing a good working environment for their employees.

Mission Statement VS. Vision Statement

While the mission and vision statements are related, there are subtle but distinct differences the you should be aware of.

First of all, a mission statement is designed primarily as an internal company document. It provides clarity and direction for managers and employees.

While there’s nothing wrong with sharing your company’s mission statement with the outside world, its intended audience is within the company.

While a mission statement provides a general framework for the organization, the vision statement is usually a more inspirational statement designed to motivate employees and inspire customers. Going back to Southwest Airlines, their vision statement reads:[2]

“To become the world’s most loved, most flown, and most profitable airline.”

This statement inspires good feeling from the customer while motivating the employees to achieve that vision.

What Does a Good Mission Statement Look Like?

When coming up with a mission statement, it’s important to take your time and do it right. Too often, people (especially entrepreneurs) just write down the first thing that comes to mind and they end up with worthless or (worse yet) a generic mission statement that is utterly useless.

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Remember, a mission statement should provide a common framework for everyone in your organization.

When writing a mission statement, you should always try to incorporate the following;

  • What we do?
  • How we do it?
  • Whom do we do it for?
  • What value are we bringing?

Now, you can see how tempting it is to just come up with something generic that ticks off those four boxes. Something like “We provide the best widgets available online for the consumer.”

After all, that did check off all the boxes:

What we do? Provide widgets.

How we do it? Online.

Who do we do it for? The consumer.

What value we bring? The best widgets.

The problem with this mission statement is that it could apply to any number of companies producing the same widget. There is nothing to distinguish your company or its widgets from any of your competitors widgets.

Compare that mission statement to this one:

“We provide the highest quality widgets directly to the consumer at an affordable price backed up with a 100% satisfaction guarantee. If our clients aren’t 100% satisfied, we’ll make it right.”

What’s the difference?

Both mission statements answer all the same questions of what, how, whom and value. But in the second statement, they are differentiating their company from all other competitors by answering the question “what makes us unique”.

Another way to read that is, “Why you should buy from us.” In this example, it’s because our widgets are of the highest quality and we stand behind them 100%.

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You might have noticed the statement didn’t say that we sell widgets at the lowest possible price. That’s because we are emphasizing quality and satisfaction over price.

A different company’s mission statement may emphasize selling widgets at the lowest possible price with little to no mention of a guarantee.

Hallmarks of a Good Mission Statement

1. Keep It Brief

Your mission statement should be no longer than three sentences. This is not your company’s magnum opus.

You should be able to distill the what, how, who and why questions into a succinct message.

2. Have a Purpose

A company’s missions statement should include the reason it even exists.

Make clear exactly what the company does with statements like “We strive to provide our customers with …….”

3. Include a “How”

Take this as an opportunity to differentiate your company from its competitors.

How do you provide a product or service that’s different or better than how your competitor provides it?

4. Talk About the Value You Bring to the Table

This is where you can really set yourself apart from the competition. This is the “why” customers should buy from you.

Do you offer the lowest prices? Fastest delivery? Exceptional customer service? Whatever it is that sets you apart and gives your particular products, services or company an advantage talk about it in the mission statement.

5. Make Sure It’s Plausible

It’s okay to shoot for the stars just to settle for the moon, but not in a mission statement.

Being overly ambitious will only set you and your employees up for failure, hurt morale and make you lose credibility. You will also scare away potential investors if they think that you are not being realistic in your mission statement.

6. Make It Unique and Distinctive

Imagine if someone who knew nothing about your business walked in and saw how it was operating, then they read your mission statement. Would they be able to recognize that mission statement was attached to that business? If not re-work it.

7. Think Long Term

A mission statement should be narrow enough so that it provides a common framework for the existing business, but open enough to allow for longer term goals. It should be able to grow as the business grows.

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8. Get Feedback

This is very important, especially from managers and employees.

Getting their input can clarify how they currently see the company and their role within the organization. It’s also a good way to get people “on-board,” as studies show that people are more likely to go along with an idea if they feel included in the decision making process beforehand.

9. Review Often and Revise as Necessary

You should review the missions statement often for two reasons.

First, as a reminder of what the essence of the company is. It’s easy to forget when you are in the day to day grind of the business.

And two, to make sure that the mission statement is still relevant. Things change, and not everything can be anticipated at the time a mission statement was written.

For example, if a mission statement was written before the advent of the internet, a company that use to sell things door to door now probably has a website that people order from. You should always update the mission statement to reflect these changes.

The Value of Mission Statements: Why Go Through All of These in the First Place?

It may seem like a lot of work just for a few sentences that describe a company, but the value of a well written mission statement should not be discounted.

First of all, if you are an entrepreneur, crystallizing the what, how, whom and value questions will keep you focused on the core business and its values.

If you are a manager or other employee, knowing the company’s basic tenants will help inform your interactions with both customers and colleagues alike.

Strategic Planning

A relevant mission statement acts as a framework for strategic planning. It provides guidance and parameters for making strategic decisions for the future of the company.

Measuring Performance

By having the company’s mission in a concrete form, it also allows for an objective measurement of how well the organization is meeting its stated goals at any one time.

Management can identify strengths and weaknesses in the organization based on the criteria set forth in the mission statement and make decisions accordingly.

Solidifying the Company’s Goals and Values for Employees

Part of a well run organization is nurturing happy and productive employees.

As humans, we all have an innate need for both purpose and to be part of something larger than ourselves. Providing employees with a clearly defined mission statement helps to define their role in the larger organization. Thus, fulfilling both of these needs.

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Now I’m not saying that a mission statement can overcome low pay and poor working conditions, but with everything else being equal, it can contribute to a happier and more productive workforce.

To Hold Management Accountable

By creating a mission statement, a company is publicly stating its highest values and goals for the world to see. By doing so, you are inviting both the public and your employees to to scrutinize how well the company lives up to its ideals.

So if you state that you only provide the highest quality products, and then offer something less, it’s fair for both the public and the employees to question, and even call for a change in management.

If management doesn’t take the mission statement seriously, no one else will either; and the legitimate authority that management rely’s on will be diminished.

To Serve as an Example

This is the opposite side of the coin from the previous statement. If the highest levels of management are seen taking the mission statement seriously and actively managing within the framework of the statement, that attitude filters down throughout the organization.

After all, a good employee knows what’s important to their boss and will take the steps necessary to curry favor with them.

Finally, use the company’s mission statement as a way to define roles within the company. You can do this by giving each division in the company a copy of the mission statement and challenge the head of each division to create a mission statement for their respective departments.

Their individual mission statements should focus on how each department fits in and ultimately contributes to the success of the company’s overall mission statement. This serves as both a clarifying and a team building exercise for all parts of the organization.

Final Thoughts

Developing a mission statement is too often just an after-thought, especially for entrepreneurs. We tend to prioritize things that we perceive will give us the biggest “bang for our buck.”

Somehow, taking the time and effort to sit down and think seriously about the what, whom, how and value of our business seems like a waste of time. After all, we got in the business to make money and become successful, isn’t that all we need to know?

That mindset will probably get you started okay, but if you find yourself having any success at all, you’ll find that there really is such a thing as growing pains.

By putting in the time and effort to create a mission statement, you are laying the groundwork that will give you a path to follow in your growth. And isn’t building long term success what we are really after?

More Resources About Achieving Business Success

Featured photo credit: Fab Lentz via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Southwest Airlines: About Page
[2] Fit Small Business: 10 Vision Statement Examples To Spark Your Imagination

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