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When you decide that you want to be your own boss, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed.

There’s so much to do, but where do you start?

Remember: Rome wasn’t built in a day. Neither were the best businesses.

We put together 9 actions you can take now to be your own boss down the road.

BONUS: Become your own boss faster with a tool that gives you extra hands.

How to Turn Your Finances For the Better With 3 Easy Tools 

1. How to Pay Down Your Debt Faster 

Did you know that 80% of Americans are in debt?

Student loans, credit cards, home mortgages — they build up.

The last thing you want to do is start a business with a large sum of existing debt or a bad credit score.

63 percent of small business owners attempt to secure a small business loan or line of credit, but only 27 percent are successful.

What to do: Try using unbury.me, a free loan calculator that visualizes how long it’ll take you to get out of debt.

All you have to do is enter a list of your debts. Include your loan name, principal remaining, interest, and minimum monthly payment:

be your own boss

Once you’ve entered your loans, you’ll get an overview of the information you provided as well as a projected date when your loan will be paid off:

be your own boss

You can increase or decrease how much you’re spending from month to month and pick different repayment options.

This helps you visualize that there’s a light at the end of the tunnel when it comes to paying off loans and helps you tackle your debt head-on.

2. Do You Really Need That? Distinguish Your Wants From Needs

Saving money doesn’t need to be difficult. The US Small Business Administration even has some simple suggestions to help you save more.

Cutting down daily coffee purchases can save you up to $800 per year.

How to do this: Use the financial planning tool from NerdWallet helps you allocate your monthly spending using the 50/30/20 budget which divides your earnings as follows:

  • 50% are reserved for necessities.
  • 30% can be spent on wants.
  • 20% should be put towards savings or paying off debt.

All you have to do is enter your monthly after-tax income and the calculator will break down your income into three sections:

be your own boss

3. Monitor Your Statements and Stay on Top of Paying Your Bills

When you’re working towards self-employment, your personal and business expenses go hand-in-hand.

You need to understand your spending habits and get your finances in order to pay your bills and keep a good credit score.

How to do this: We recommend using the app Mint, which breaks down your finances so that you can fully understand where your money is going.

All you have to do is link your bank accounts, cards, and bills to Mint. Once you do, you can pay bills right then and there.

You’ll also receive bill reminders, low fund warnings, bill due alerts, and alerts for unusual spending.

3 Small Commits to Be Your Own Boss, Starting Now

1. Start Committing Extra Time To Your Schedule

In order to be your own boss, you have to go above and beyond to reach your goals. You have to be willing to dedicate extra time.

How to do this: Make a checklist.

Why? Even when we accomplish a small task, our brains release dopamine which is linked to motivation. When we feel dopamine, we’re eager to repeat the actions that led to it. Start with small tasks to build your motivation up.

2. Polish Up Your Resume and Keep it Updated

While it may be too early in the process to start your business plan, you can still make moves by updating your resume.

Down the road when you’re acquiring funding for your business, you’ll need to appeal to investors.

Investors don’t want entrepreneurs to make mistakes on their dime, so be sure to include your business experience and background in your industry.

How to do this: Here are some best practices for keeping your resume up to date:

  • Keep a Google Doc of your accomplishments and add to it each time you achieve something worthy of being in your resume.
  • Set a recurring calendar event (every month) to add your newly acquired accomplishments.

Want to start your resume from scratch? Here’s a simple template to steal.

3. Start Spreading the News and Leveraging Your Network

Buffer CEO and Co-Founder Joel Gascoigne puts this one best:

When you build a startup, you’re basically creating something that doesn’t exist already. In order to figure out if your idea is actually going to work, it’s essential that you share it with people. You’re going to have to do it sooner or later. The longer you leave it, the more risk there is that you spend a long time working on it, and then eventually you put it out there and find out it’s not something that resonates.

How to do this:

  • Use Campaigns to send personalized emails to your network letting them know what you’re up to and asking them to spread the word.
  • Post about your endeavor on social media. Not only will it help you get the word out, but it’s a confidence booster. According to a Ford consumer survey, 62 percent of adults feel better about themselves after receiving positive reactions to what they share on social media.

Save email templates to your inbox with this tool [4 weeks free].

These Actions Will Strengthen Your Character

1. Choose an Area of Improvement to Work on Each Month

It takes about 66 days to form a new habit. At first, we need to make the active decision to partake in our new habit. But slowly, it becomes second nature, and our brains work less and less. The prefrontal cortex (where decisions are made) goes into sleep mode.

How to do this:

  • At the beginning of each month, write down a goal that motivates you (example: improving time management skills).
  • Make a list of actionable steps you can take to reach the goal to be your own boss.
  • Keep close track of your progress.

2. Meet With Successful People Who Are Where You Want to Be

When you’re looking for career advice, it’s important to find someone who 1. Defines success similarly to you, and 2. Is more successful than you.

Bill Sullivan of The Tyche Project puts it best:

This person generally shows an ability to look deeper into challenges and come up with viable solutions based on experience and opinion.

How to do this: Once a month, identify a person in your industry who you could learn from and send them an email asking to meet so that you can pick their brain.

You can get started by asking your most successful connection.

Here is an example email from Forbes that asks someone for their time and advice:

be your own boss

Here’s a free template of that email:

Subject Line: Pick your brain?

Dear {!First Name},

In 10 years, I aspire to be where you are in your career today: {!Where you want to be}. Based on {!research}, {!compliment}.

I’d appreciate your help to understand how you entered the {!industry} so I might begin a similar career path.

{!Personal note}.

Could we schedule 15 minutes to meet and discuss {!industry}, your story, and any tips to success you might have?

Thanks in advance,

Here’s a doc of that template — for easy copying.

Save the template above right in your Gmail or Outlook inbox for quick access.

3. Celebrate Your Wins, No Matter How Small

Did you know that accomplishments can be addictive?

A Harvard Business School study analyzed over 12,000 diary entries from 238 employees in seven countries and found that employees who kept track of small achievements every day reported more positive emotions.

Tracking our small wins boosts our confidence.

Why? Achievements release dopamine in our brains.

Here’s how to do that: To become addicted to progress, you should take these steps:

  • Download an App: coach.me tracks your habits and provides positive reinforcement to help you reach your goals.
  • Create your own Jar of Awesome: Write down small wins and put them in a jar. When you need reminders of your progress, revisit them.
  • Write down your small-wins: At the end of the week, write a list of the three accomplishments you’re the proudest of. This will help you reflect on the positive sides of working towards being your own boss.

Next Steps

Even if you don’t want to be your own boss in the immediate future, it’s important to start taking steps now. This way, you can plant the seeds to success when it’s time for you to embark on your new endeavor.

 

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