Nobody likes the word boss (except bosses themselves).
The word usually triggers this picture of someone giving you countless instructions and telling you what to do.
And then, rather than let you do what they’ve asked you to do, they stand and watch over your shoulders to ensure that you’re not surfing Facebook.
Just do a Google search for “be your own boss”; and you’ll see the sheer number of articles written to help people navigate away from the corporate office environment and become their own bosses.
And so, we now have more freelancers than ever before. And more coaches. And healers. And private consultants.
And solopreneurs in general — ‘cos everyone’s dream is to decide how they spend their time; and work on whatever they want to work on.
Except, only a little gets done.
The solopreneur’s dilemma
The nature of human beings is that we work best when there is a deadline.
As a matter of fact, we often can’t get anything done except there’s some kind of deadline attached to it.
As has been proven over and over again, work expands or contracts to fill the time available for its completion.
I can finish writing this article in an hour. Or a day. Or a week. Or never. It all depends on when I “need to” complete it.
And that’s the biggest challenge of a solopreneur — I don’t need it to be completed on any particular date; I just know I want to do it.
Because you don’t have a boss watching over your shoulder and telling you what to do, you allow yourself all kinds of luxury and freedom.
And then you tell yourself that you’re waiting for inspiration before you perform your tasks.
Who ever does that in a regular employment?
Can you imagine having a 9-5 job; then telling your boss that you’re not inspired to work?
How is it that people get the work done anyway; even when they’re not inspired?
If you’re working as a nurse in a hospital, you don’t wait for inspiration. You just get on with it.
If you’re a chef or server in a restaurant, are you ever inspired? You just get on with the job and do it anyway.
Why then do we as solopreneurs always tell ourselves that we need inspiration before we can work?
It’s a common pattern I’ve seen among solopreneurs: They want to work for themselves; they know what they need to be doing; they sincerely wish to be doing those things; but they end up not doing them.
Is it a lack of motivation? Could it be that they don’t enjoy their work? Are they overwhelmed? Maybe there’s so much to be done that they end up doing nothing? What exactly is the problem?
While there might be a thousand and one reasons (or excuses) why the work is not being done, the biggest by far is the lack of accountability.
Because you’re not answerable to anyone, and don’t have any deadlines; you end up spending 6 months on something that should have taken only 3 weeks (a real-life case).
What’s the alternative?
Get a boss.
You’re free to call them any name you like — Coach. Mentor. Accountability Partner. Teammate. Advocate. Advisor. Guide. Counselor — whatever; just get someone you’re answerable to.
This is someone who checks in with you on a VERY REGULAR basis to ensure you’re on track with your goals. They’ll also help you create a system for better efficiency and support.
Most importantly, they listen and provide feedback & resources to help you complete your tasks.
The relationship can also involve some coworking sessions; I personally encourage that for my clients. (If you’re not sure what coworking means, check here).
Obviously, what I just described is not your regular definition of a corporate boss. But you get the idea.
Having this person in your life can be the difference between building a successful business or not.
So yes, keep running your business. Keep doing your own thing and choosing your work hours. Keep being your own boss.
But if you’re taking too long to get things moving, then it would be advisable to get another boss too — one who will truly encourage you and help you to move at the speed of execution that you truly are capable of.
You’ll thank me later.
Got any questions you’d love for me to answer or write about in the next post? Email me: [email protected]