I’m not really a businessman. I’m a little reluctant to talk too much about self publishing and my writing career in those sort of self-help tracts you see on a lot of blogs because I’m not in the “guru” trade. My attention is, for the most part, on telling stories. But, occasionally there are thing we like to communicate because they might be helpful, or enlightening, or just for the hell of it. I talked previously about how writing became my day job without my noticing, now I’d like to write a little about being your own boss.
The best advice anyone ever gave me was to be my own boss. I didn’t listen. Now I’m a year into my writing career, not much has changed in the day to day of my life but for the first time I feel like things are on the up and up. I understand that advice a little better; I feel like I’m my own boss, and it makes all the difference in the world.
Be your own boss is one of those annoying pieces of advice that’s hard to understand until you’ve taken it. Like “just cheer up” and “try not to get stressed,” it seems like a fortune cookie saying from someone with no real experience of the problem. It incorporates other well worn bits of advice like “take responsibility for your life” and “manage your time better” then rolls them up into one dense little concept that becomes impenetrable from the outside.
I thought it was bad advice.
But when I look back at 2012 and see the little things I achieved add up to bigger things, the differences I made in my outlook and the greater control taken over my life, I understand it a little better. Being your own boss, even if you’re working a dead end job, crippled by debt and only get five minutes of free time a day means trying to own your life. Trying to own your problems, to own your future and your career and all those massive things that seem so huge and out of control.
For me, being my own boss was as little as breaking down my big ambitions into small daily tasks, and as big as learning to trust my own judgement. For you, being your own boss might mean something completely different. The cliché is so unappealing, that only you can change your own life, because we all know the truth is so much more complicated than that. Only you can run your own life, but there’s so much life to run and you are so very, very complicated. But in the end you have to own that responsibility, because nobody else will.
So, that’s why you need to be your own boss. I can’t tell you how, after all, you’re the boss, but here are a few thoughts. If you feel like your life is drifting past without your participation, take charge, make a change and shake things up. If you feel like your days are stagnant, start a project or take up a hobby. If your problems are financial, make a fiscal plan and stick do it. They don’t have to be massive endeavours either, little actions done regularly become big actions.
What’s important is that at the end of the day/week/month/year you can say you carried yourself, and the tangled web that is your life, a little bit further.