It’s a question that I’m hearing a lot recently – How can I be my own boss? Maybe you’re feeling unfulfilled or trapped in your current job? I totally feel you on that one – it was the main reason I quit my first job as a designer in a studio. Or maybe you’re great with ideas or numbers and have always dreamt of running your own business? At primary school I made my own clothing company catalogue and would go around the playground trying to get orders – it was called Dream Designz and I still have the catalogue btw!
Whatever your reason, let’s get one thing straight: it’s NOT going to be easy! Here’s a pretty scary statistic: 4 in 10 small businesses don’t make it past 5 years in the UK. BUT nothing worth having comes easy, and by already exploring the idea that you’d wanna BYOB hopefully that means you’ve got the initiative, determination and motivation to make it happen. The good news is that there are a lot of different ways you can become your own boss; e.g mentorship programmes and business courses to Small Business loans and part time jobs.
Getting excited? Ok, let’s talk options:
Part time job
Having a part time job is probably the easiest and safest way to transition into being your own boss. You’ll still have some money coming in, a working week structure and office/team atmosphere whilst having time to focus on your business and grow from there. It might take you a little bit longer, but this is realistically the best way to BYOB for most people.
Dive into the deep end
Depending on the type of person you are, quitting your job and jumping in at the deep end could motivate you to make it work or else. Do or die. I definitely don’t recommend this approach for everyone though and even if you do decide to go this way, you should make sure you have enough savings put by to keep you afloat for at least 6 months. Yes, even the scary route has to have some kind of cushion to it because let’s face it, those bills aren’t gonna pay themselves!
There are lots of courses and programmes out there designed to help young people start a business – whether that’s providing you with the correct skills or pairing you with a mentor. I’m currently looking into some courses via The Princes Trust. FYI if you’re aged between 18-30 and work less than 16 hours part time you could be eligible to join the Business Enterprise programme for support with your business, mentor opportunities and even bursaries.
If you can’t get on a mentorship programme, what’s stopping you from finding your own mentor? You can do this building up a relationship with someone you admire and approaching them to be your mentor. Obviously this isn’t going to happen overnight – you need to find the right person to help you and then you’re asking them to donate time and their experiences, so just dropping them an email probably isn’t going to cut it. And don’t be disheartened if they turn you down – being a mentor is a lot of responsibility and it’s not right for everyone.
Small business loan
This is aimed at someone who is a bit further along the BYOB journey – a business that’s already achieved a lot but needs a boost to grow further. A loan might sound like a great way to get money fast, but it’s not always the most business savvy AND there are restrictions when it comes to qualifying for these e.g. trading for 2 years with an annual turnover of £70K. I don’t have any experience of applying for or using a business loan, but I see it as an option that could help an existing successful business reach to the next level.
There’s one thing that you’ll need no matter which route you choose:
This is probably the most obvious, but most important one: self belief. Without self belief you won’t be able to BYOB, that’s certain. As a boss, you’re the only one that can make things happen – there’s no one else to blame if you don’t succeed. If you don’t believe in yourself, who else will? Not everyone is cut out to be a Boss, and that’s ok. The only way you’ll find out is by trying though, so get started whenever you’re ready in which ever route you think is best for you.
Thinking about taking the plunge? Just remember: there’s never going to be a ‘right’ time to jump, so just trust your instincts and do it when you’re ready.
Disclaimer – This is a sponsored post with Boost Capital, but all enthusiasm about entrepreneurial spirit is 100% my own!