4 Signs You Should Fire Your Boss and Become an Entrepreneur
This article was published by Micha Kaufman, Co-founder and CEO of Fiverr® on the Forbes blog.
Are you ready to fire your boss? Perhaps you should and it just never occurred to you. The great irony is that many born with the freelancing spirit become shackled to their 9-to-5 jobs by golden handcuffs — and never realize their own potential. As a serial entrepreneur I deeply support freelancers’ brave quest for autonomy. But, as the fierce battles commemorated by the Fourth of July remind us, independence never comes easily.
To succeed in transitioning from full-timer to entrepreneur, everyone must work feverishly and make huge sacrifices. Yet some are more cut out than others to take the plunge. Are you proactive, fearless, and organized enough to make a go of it? Here are four signs that you already have what it takes to clock out for good and achieve financial independence:
1. You have a track record of networking with total strangers.
Are you connected to people you barely know on LinkedIn LNKD +2.3%? Solid start. Communicate with them regularly? Even better. Happily make cold calls and in-person visits to drum up business for your company? Well, that merits a gold star. Social courage isn’t taught in school, but it should be. It’s absolutely essential for every aspect of successfully hanging your own shingle, from enrolling potential investors in your vision, to turning hot prospects into long-term clients.
Entrepreneurs who define their network strictly by the people they know — and the connections of those connections — are seriously limiting themselves. Forget six degrees of separation. Many times there is no traceable path between you and the people you need most and the establishment of a relationship will rest squarely on the shoulders of your own chutzpah and icebreaking skills.
2. You work all the time, but never talk about how much you work.
People who enjoy what they do don’t feel the need to play the martyr. And if you plan to shed blood, sweat, and tears to start your own business, you better love it! Plus, no client wants to hear their independent contractors complaining about working through the weekend.
So if your hard labor requires an audience, you should forget any thoughts of freelancing. Along with office politics, face time is one of the first things that evaporate when striking out on your own. Take a look at your own reputation and if there’s any chance that your success is even partly dependent on your boss hearing about your exhausting schedule, you best stay put.
3. You understand the details of your 401k, health insurance, and pay stubs.
Being your own boss means being your own professional caretaker. You must have full command over all the pesky details that your company takes care of now. Filling out your weekly timesheets will seem like a breeze when confronted with issues of incorporation, billing, past-due invoices and the tracking of tax-deductible expenses. If you’re the kind of person who has full command of your compensation and benefit package, you’re more than up to the challenge.
4. You take so much vacation time that some of it is unpaid.
To the un-enterprising eye, this may sound like a negative. However, taking the time off you need proves you value freedom over money and love new experiences. These are both important qualities in any successful entrepreneur.
With the ability to make their own schedule and work wherever they are, freelancers are emancipated from the predetermined, and often miniscule, allotment of vacation time that has become the norm. If you’ve already broken beyond those bounds, and happily accepted the consequence of a reduced paycheck, then you’ve already begun the transition to working independently.
Make no mistake, becoming your own boss is a promotion. And as anyone who has successfully climbed a corporate ladder can tell you, promotions are only granted to people who already proved they can do the job. Are you qualified to be your own boss? If you fearlessly network, truly enjoy hard work, stay on top of a world of details, and value your freedom, then you’re already acting like a successful entrepreneur. Meaning your leap to freedom won’t be nearly as risky as you think. So what’s stopping you? Your boss’s pink slip is waiting.