Do you ever stop to think about the phrase ‘working for yourself’?
As exciting as it is to be your own boss, we rarely stop to think about the implications.
As your ‘own boss’, how good a boss are you?
Do you motivate yourself every day?
Do you make yourself feel good about the work that you do?
Do you make sure you know exactly what you should be doing every day?
Or do actually make it all quite hard work for yourself?
A lot of the clients I work with come to me feeling frustrated and unsure. They lack the confidence they need to take those big next steps and they end up trying to draw on all sorts of different sources for answers and motivation.
A lot of the things they actually need to make them feel better would normally be done by a great boss. Things like support, advice, a sounding board, direction, course correction, feedback and help making decisions.
When you’re running your own business, by its very nature, you need to play those roles for yourself. No matter how strong your network of business besties, you still need to become incredibly self-reliant.
So let me ask you the question I always ask my clients when they’re in this space…
Are you a good boss?
Working for yourself involves a huge amount of self leadership – whether you run a team or not, you still need to be the best leader you can be to make your business sing.
Here’s some things you should be doing:
Be clear on the bigger picture
I’m sure I’m not alone in having worked for people in the past who were no good at sharing either the long-term vision or what it meant for me. It was frustrating, demotivating and disempowering. Not having clarity on where our work was taking us made it difficult to stay motivated when things got tough.
Be a good boss - Set out a clear longer-term vision so that you know where you’re heading and why. You’ll quickly find that a great many things become easier. You’ll be able to make decisions more quickly and easily with an eye for the long-term. Challenges and set-backs will be easier to deal with as you look at them through the bigger picture lens. And priority setting will become more focussed.
A good leader sets direction within the context of the bigger picture. It’s important that they are able to be clear on ‘how’ you are going to reach that bigger picture and ‘what’ needs to be done to get there.
I see far too many clients bobbling around doing busy work not really having set themselves the clear direction on where their focus should be. For example, if the bigger picture vision is to triple revenue for the year, and the goal within that is to generate a set number of leads for the month, there is no point doing any activity that doesn’t feed into this.
Be a good boss – set yourself clear directions each month. What is your broad focus? What are the things you need to achieve this month? How are you going to achieve those things? How are you going to stay on track and keep focussed even when you face challenges and difficulties.
Giving yourself space to grow
A lot of my clients come to me frustrated out of sheer impatience at not knowing all the answers. A good boss will always give you space to grow as the business changes around you. They will feedback any areas for improvement and should help you create a plan to fill any gaps you have in relation to the role you’re doing.
Be a good boss – Take an objective look at your skill set and experience in relation to what you’re trying to achieve. Do you have all of the skills and knowledge that you need? Are there things you’d like to learn or need to learn? How can you create the time to learn those things and not beat yourself up for not knowing all the answers straight away?
What kind of boss would you be if you never stopped to celebrate the great things your team did? The kind of boss most of my clients are to themselves! Honestly, most of them, myself included simply tick the box, tuck that new client or achievement under their belt and rush off to the next thing on their list.
If you don’t celebrate the successes your subconscious won’t learn to enjoy them and your underlying decision making processes – which are where decisions are made about whether to feel motivated by something – won’t pull you in the direction of success.
Be a good boss – Take the time to celebrate your successes and learn from them. Embed them in your mind. Build up a picture of you as a successful and accomplished business woman.
Next time you're struggling with motivation or feeling overwhelmed and uncertain, ask yourself if you're being the boss you need? Are you giving yourself enough space to lead? Do you need to make it easier to do a good job? Is there anything you're asking yourself to do that you'd question if you were working for someone else?
Before you go - I'm exhibiting at The Business Show on 16th and 17th May at Excel London. It's a fab two day event with literally hundreds of free masterclasses and networking opportunities, speaker events and business advice. Tickets are free and if you visit me on the day (stand 160), you'll be in with the chance of winning a free business strategy planning day worth £1250. If you're still unsure, why not read last week's blog to find out why I think this is an unmissable opportunity.