So you want to be your own boss. You're not alone. It is surprising how many people are convinced that their boss is an idiot. Unfortunately, idiot boss syndrome does not go away when a person starts working for themselves. In fact, it often intensifies.
Running one's own business is even more demanding than just being a middle manager in someone else's business. In your own business, you are the ultimate decision maker. You have to be qualified to deal with a variety of situations spanning a number of disciplines. Here are three such disciplines every business owner needs to master:
1. Your Core Competency
People who start their own business should have an academic background in the primary focus of their business. It goes without saying that a doctor should have a medical degree and license to practice medicine. A plumber should be a licensed and bonded master of his trade.. Many people go into business for themselves as a way of short cutting the process of all those academic requirements.
If you want to be a detective, you will have to pursue a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice degree at a reputable university. Talent only gets you so far. You need credibility to get you the rest of the way. Self-employment should never be used as a shortcut that cuts out the middle-man of education.
At the end of the day, every business takes in some amount of money for some purpose. That money has to be accounted for. And books have to be meticulously kept. It is easy for a person new to business to simply hire out all these functions to experts. But money is your business. And simply handing over the money to someone else for them to deal with is just handing over your business. You are no longer working for yourself. You are working for your bookkeeper.
That is not to say that you can't hire professionals in those fields. Even a doctor needs a doctor. As a business owner, what you need is a working knowledge of the financial fields that intersect with your business. The people who make the most common accounting mistakes are the people who don't have a solid background in the accounting profession. It's your money. You need to understand where it goes every step of the way.
At least you picked up nice business cards. But if you had those cards printed before you finalized your website, you're going to need new business cards. That is because your URL is probably the most important piece of information on that business card. That is one of the things you might not know if you are not especially savvy about online marketing.
Marketing is more than just the sales process you use to move product. It is everything that has anything to do with the presentation of your business to the purchasing public. It is your business card and your handshake. It is your website and your sponsorship of the Little League team. It is everything you do that influences how people perceive your business.
There are plenty of great reasons to strike out on your own and work for yourself. Just make sure that along the way, you pick up a degree in your core competency, get a solid education in finance, and become familiar enough with marketing so that you don't end up signing off on someone else's disaster. It's your business. Own it!