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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
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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 July 27, 2021

15 Smart Video Conferencing Etiquette Tips to Follow

15 Smart Video Conferencing Etiquette Tips to Follow
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During the pandemic, video conferencing replaced in-person meetings and has now become the standard option for business meetings. Over the past 17 months, most workers have gotten past the video conferencing learning curve with Zoom or Microsoft Teams (or their platform of choice).

But just as with in-person meetings, attention can wax and wane. Some say we’re just not used to staring at ourselves so much on the screen. Instead of fixating on that, try employing smart video conferencing etiquette, or you may risk indiscretions that will flag you as a slacker.

Put the Pro in Professional

After more than a year of fine-tuning, here are the new rules of video conferencing etiquette.

1. Mute Your Mobile and Other Devices

The first video conference etiquette you need to know is muting your other devices. Just as in the pre-COVID days, someone’s obnoxious ring tone blaring Taylor Swift’s newest single in the middle of a meeting is also an annoyance if it happens during a Zoom meeting and so is the inevitable fumbling to turn off the sound. Even the apologies to the group get tiresome.

Also, when notifications are activated on the computer that you’re using for the meeting, the incoming message takes over the audio and you’ll miss out on snippets of the conversation. Be sure to eliminate this possible faux pas.

2. Dress the Part

While working from home, you may have fallen into the habit of slipping on your comfiest T-shirt each day. Hey, no judgments! But before you log on to your video conference, try to make an effort with your appearance.

Depending on your company culture and the importance of your meeting, consider dressing the part of the professional whom you wish to project. It will help you feel more self-assured, and others will likely take you more seriously.

For women, wear light make-up, put on earrings, and make sure your blouse is crisply pressed. For men, show up freshly shaved. Wearing a crisp collared shirt in a solid color will usually suffice.

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Pro Tip: Stay away from wearing white or black, unless those colors look great on you. Consider wearing light blue or brown instead.

3. Stage Your Workspace

Have you noticed the backdrops of experts interviewed on news shows? Bookshelves and photographs are carefully curated, and no busy-patterned furniture or artwork is in sight.

Take note of what appears behind you when you choose the location of your video conferences. Piles of junk mail on the table or stacks of folded laundry on the couch will convey more about your personal life than you care to share. Make sure you remove clutter from the camera’s eye, and present a tidy, orderly workspace to your colleagues, coworkers, and bosses.

4. Put Some Thought Into Lighting and Perspective

Be aware that in a video conference, your computer camera can actually make you look up to ten pounds heavier depending on where you sit. But you can easily drop those added pounds by moving back from the screen to diminish the wide-angle distortion.

Frame your head on the screen by tilting the screen up or down. Also, it’s best to not place yourself in front of a window or bright light, which makes you appear in shadow. Instead, face the light source, moving it (or yourself) until you have a flattering amount of illumination. You can also purchase some small spotlights that allow you to add light as needed.

Pro Tip: If your lights add too much redness to your skin, consider counter-balancing with a green filter.

Remember That Half of Life Is Showing Up

5. Arrive on Time

In the old days of in-person meetings, it was nearly impossible to slip in late into a meeting unnoticed. In today’s video conferences, logging in late still shows poor form. Instead, strive to arrive five minutes early and get yourself settled.

Once the meeting is underway, the host may be less attentive about late arrivals waiting to be let in. Diverting the host’s attention away from the meeting with a tardy entry request is the ultimate giveaway that you didn’t honor the schedule. If you don’t want a black mark against you, log in on time.

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6. Turn on Your Video

Few people like to see their face on the screen, but buck up and turn on your camera in video conferences. In most cases, it’s better to be a face on a screen than a name in a blank square. Your statements will be more memorable when other meeting attendees can see you.

If you need to turn off the video, either because of a poor connection, some commotion in the room, or a need for a quick break, give a short explanation via the chat feature. Then, go back on video as soon as you’re able.

Pro Tip: Keep your explanation for your departure pithy. “Sorry! Doorbell rang. Back in five” says it all. Be sure to honor what you say in chat and really do return in five minutes.

7. Plan Ahead Before Sharing Your Screen

Don’t be one of those people who makes everyone else wait as you click through folders in search of a document. That’s just poor video conferencing etiquette. If you know you’ll need to share a document or video on your screen, prepare by pulling it out of its folder and onto your desktop. Also, clean up the files and folders on your desktop to reduce clutter and facilitate easy access. Close other programs like chat, calendar notifications, and email. Disable pop-up notifications to ensure there’ll be no unforeseen distractions.

Be sure to remind the host before the meeting that you’ll need them to activate the screen-sharing function. Show courtesy once you’re finished by hitting “stop share” to return to the screen with participants.

Attend to the Pesky Details

8. Make Sure That Meetings Remain Right-Sized

With the easy accessibility of video conferencing, it can be tempting to extend the meeting invitation beyond the core group and include everyone peripherally involved in a project. But just as with in-person meetings, the more people involved, the more unwieldy the meeting becomes.

Use good judgment when asking others to sit through a video conference so that you don’t needlessly take up others’ time and so that participants can be fully engaged.

9. Remember to “Unmute” Before You Speak

Most of us are likely able to count on one hand the number of video conferences when someone didn’t have to be reminded, “You’re on mute!” Forgetting to unmute before speaking has become one of the most common missteps in video conferencing.[1]

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Show everyone your impeccable video-conferencing poise by managing your mute feature with flawless control.

10. Stay on Point to Keep the Meeting Length in Check

As with in-person meetings, an agenda with assigned time limits for discussions remains necessary to keep a meeting focused. Data shows, however, that video conferencing can actually reduce meeting time.[2] Reasons include the elimination of commuting time and the ability to screen share and annotate to keep everyone on task.

Additionally, side conversations are virtually impossible with video conferencing now that you can no longer have back-and-forth exchanges with the person beside you.

Pro Tip: If you’re running the meeting, let attendees know in advance the protocol for the chat feature. Is it okay for them to “chat among themselves” or not? (See point 11, as well.)

Talking Has a Time and a Place

11. Chat Appropriately

Just like side conversations or texting in an in-person meeting, the use of the chat feature during a video conference can be disrespectful unless it’s directed to all participants. Hence, it’s good video conferencing etiquette to mind your use of the chat.

At the start of the meeting, you may want to ask the host if it’s alright for participants to use the chat feature. This allows them to disable it if they choose. Used appropriately, it can be a helpful tool to clarify or amplify an earlier point once the conversation has moved on or to let the group know that you need to sign off early (and why).

12. Use the “Raise Hand” Feature to Avoid Interruptions

The slight lag in many video conferences can result in speaking over another person if you attempt to jump into a conversation. To avoid this awkward interruption, indicate when you have something to add to the discussion with the raise-your-hand feature that signals the host you would like to speak. This effective meeting management device makes video conferencing run more smoothly, especially with a large group, but it must be activated and monitored by the host.

Pro Tip: For meetings of six to ten people, sometimes the old-fashioned raising of your physical hand may be the best option. But it’s up to the meeting host. Ask them what they would prefer, and follow that.

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13. Don’t Record the Session or Take Photos Without Prior Permission

In this case, not sharing is caring. The “sharing culture” made popular through social media has little place in video conferencing. Before recording a meeting or capturing a screenshot of the participants, always ask for consent in advance from the full roster of attendees. Knowing that a video conference will be photographed or recorded could have a bearing on what others are willing to discuss.

Manage Yourself

14. Minimize Distractions

While de-activating audio and video features can keep distractions from affecting the other participants, you will need to manage noise and disruptions on your end to give your full attention to the meeting.

Move out of high-traffic zones in your home, keep your door closed, and ask family members to be considerate.

15. Save Snacking for Later

Save snacking for later—or earlier. Eating while on video conference is a no-no. Munching in front of the group while close to the camera—as you are when video conferencing—subjects the participants to an up-close and (too) personal view of your food consumption process.

However, it’s perfectly fine to sip quietly from a glass of water or cup of coffee or tea. If the meeting threatens to last for more than two hours, you may want to ask the host in advance to schedule a five-minute break at the halfway point.

Final Thoughts

Even though bosses are now beginning to ask workers to spend some of their workdays on-site, up to 80 percent will permit employees to work remotely at least part of the time, which means more video conferencing in your future.[3] Mastering these video conferencing etiquette tips will help you dial in—as well as dial back—your participation and demonstrate your unwavering level of engagement to the team.

Featured photo credit: Chris Montgomery via unsplash.com

Reference

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