Be Your Own Boss: 9 Vital Steps to Take Before Working for Yourself

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Ready to be your own boss? Take these 9 steps for success and you'll be well on your way to quitting your job so you can work for yourself and be your own boss.

Thinking of quitting your job to be your own boss? I’ve been where you’re at and know that it’s possible to succeed!

April 30, 2013 was my last day at my accounting job. I worked at the same company for over ten years. But it was time to break out on my own and start the next chapter of my life.

Of course, the unknown is scary but as long as you’re smart about the steps you take to prepare, things will go a lot smoother (and you’ll be less stressed out).

If you’re thinking of quitting your job to be your own boss, here are nine simple steps for success to take before making that leap! These will help you quit your job so you can work for yourself and be your own boss.

1. Audit your monthly bills  

Starting a business on your own is expensive, right? How are you going to cover all your expenses? Okay, take a deep breath! You can do this.

The only way to be successful when learning to be your own boss is to start small.

Cut your expenses back as much as possible and start saving whatever’s left to help make your leap smoother. How?

Take stock of all the bills you currently pay for. Do you need all of these services? Use a company like BillFixers to negotiate lower monthly bills (they saved me $365 a year!).

You’ll notice that it will be a difficult at first, but after a few months, it will be much easier. Then once your last day of work comes, you’ll be more than prepared to be your own (successful) boss! 

Related: Learn how to run a lean business without spending a lot of money!

2. Pay down any debts

The first I took after doing an audit of my spending was to evaluate my debt load. It’s tough to quit your job and strike out on your own when you have a large amount of debt hanging over you.

Make it your goal to pay down your debts as much as possible. The less debt you have, the higher chance you have of succeeding in the future. While you may not be able to become debt free, do the best you can.

Put any and all extra money you make on the side towards your debts. And then save as much as you can after your debts are taken care of.

Related: How I paid off $14,000 of debt on a single income!

3. Hire a business coach 

I’ve always been skeptical of working with a business coach. But at the beginning of 2013 I needed a change, and felt like I couldn’t catapult my business goals by myself. 

So I reached out to Coach Jennie, and asked if she’d work with me and my “side-hustle”. Little did I know, towards the end of our sessions my side-hustle would turn into a full-fledged freelance business, and I’d be quitting my day job. 

There’s no way I could accomplish all this — plus all the other things I’ve been working on — without her help, encouragement and perspective. After my experience I HIGHLY recommend finding a coach to help you through your next big career decision. 

4. Finalize your decision 

Do you want to only work part-time, one day a week, as a contractor, or do you want to quit your job altogether? 

These are questions I asked myself to make sure I knew what my desires truly were. In the beginning I didn’t want to quit my job entirely, but my boss wasn’t flexible or understanding so it made my situation very difficult. 

Eventually it came down to an ultimatum (which I’m pretty sure they didn’t think I would take). My ex-boss was surprised that I said I had to quit. But now that I’ve come to the end of it all, I’m actually thankful they put me under pressure to finally make the right decision.

The complete guide to become a freelance writer

5. Market your freelance services

I know a lot of online bloggers suggest this, but I can honestly say starting your own blog will make your transition to being your own boss that much easier.

If you need extra money in any given month, you can promote your blog or services to make up for any gap in income.

You’ll have more control over what you earn and how you earn it. That’s not something you can say when you have to answer to clients. 

In just a few minutes I created a Services page on my blog that lets potential clients know the services I offer. I also detail a little bit about my experience and past work.

Don’t forget to include a contact form so potential clients can reach out to you and hire you for work!

Related: Use your blog to attract more clients than you can handle!

6. Leverage your network 

Once you officially decide to quit your job to be your own boss it’s time to make a plan. One of the smartest things you can do is reach out to your current network of friends, colleagues and existing clients.

Let them know you’re quitting soon, that you’ll have some more time on your hands and are trying to grow your business. 

Put your network to work. Ask them to keep an eye out for awesome opportunities for you. This is a mistake a lot of business owners make — they don’t utilize their current network. 

Don’t forget to reach out and follow-up with existing clients too! Once I did this, I increased my workload (and pay) for several clients while connecting with some very influential people. 

7. Practice living on irregular income  

Can you really live on the income you make from starting your own business? Yes, but it will take some practice! As someone with irregular income you’re going to have get used to the feast-and-famine cycle.

Re-adjust your budget and practice living on the income you currently make from freelancing. You’ll notice that it will be a difficult at first, but after a few months, it will be much easier.

Once your last day of work comes, you’ll be more than prepared to be your own (successful) boss! 

Related: Learn how to save money even without a regular paycheck!

new year checklsit for business

8. Stick to a work-from-home schedule

There’s very little chance you’ll be able to survive as a freelancer if you don’t set a schedule and put it into practice. 

These days most people don’t understand — or won’t respect — your time when you’re “working at home”. You have to be the one enforce a good schedule and make sure others respect your time. 

And don’t forget to schedule in time for YOU. My business coach and I call this self-care time. You can’t — and shouldn’t — work 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Why else would you quit and be your own boss so you can have more free time? 

Put yourself and your health, on top of the priority list. This will keep you sane and allow you to actually make money! 

9. Don’t cheat yourself

This is definitely the most difficult step out of all the rest — at least was for me. Once I put these tips into action and had my awesome plan of being my own boss in motion, I wanted to instantly check-out of my day job. 

But that would not only be unfair to my boss, but to myself too. After putting in over a decade of hard work, dedication and discipline, I knew I needed to finish strong!

Don’t cheat yourself out of the last few days at your job. Instead, use it as a testing period, to help guide you as you experiment with living on less income, enforcing a freelance schedule and taking time for self-care. 

If you can use your last few days, or months, as a testing ground, then when the last at your job hits, you’ll be able to take the leap smooth and seamlessly — and set yourself up to succeed!

Related: How to quit your day gracefully and without burning bridges!

Be your own boss today

While there are quite a few steps to take when trying to be your own boss, know that it’s entirely possible to succeed. I’ve proven it and so have many other freelancers in the Careful Cents Club.

All you have to do is be patient and take the time you need to prepare for this leap. Then trust that you’re making the right decision and stick to it with everything you have.

You can do this!

Did you recently quit your job? Have you taken to the leap to be your own boss?