How to be your own boss

Smiling man pointing on himself in mirror

As a freelancer you become, in effect, your own boss. But are you up to the task?

Working as a freelancer gives you a lot of freedom – in making your own hours, setting your own deadlines, and creating your own goals. But one thing it doesn’t give you is someone else to be accountable to.

As a freelancer – and even for some full-time remote workers who have little contact with central office – you are essentially your own boss.

But what does this mean in reality?

Setting your goals
Firstly, you’ve got to be able to set your own targets. Be a tough boss and set them high.

It’s easy to coast as a freelancer as long as you’re making enough money to get by. But by setting your goals higher, you can expand your business and your own knowledge and skills.

This could mean taking on an extra client, getting work completed a week before deadline, or fitting in an extra training session once a quarter.

It’s no good just doing the work – you have to do it to a high quality. And it can be hard to judge your own work sometimes. While you’ll always get feedback from clients, ideally you’ll have assessed your work before sending it over.

A good tip is to put the project away for a few days and come back to it fresh. Always have in your mind when assessing your work that you need to be objective. Imagine it’s a piece that someone has submitted to you – and be harsh. Criticise every little aspect. If you don’t, your client will.

Online business

It’s also worth setting aside a day or two every six months to go over your recent work. Make notes on what’s worked, what hasn’t and where you could improve.

As your own boss, you’ve got to know when to reward yourself and when to punish.

As you might not be on a salary as such, pay rises are hard so think of other rewards. This could be something as simple as the afternoon off or a bigger reward like a new laptop.

But you’ve also got to be strict with yourself. This might mean working long hours if you’ve not hit a deadline. Or if you’ve submitted a piece of work that you’re not happy with, try and redo it from the start as an exercise to see how it could be improved.

Tracking your hours
As mentioned, one of the benefits of remote working and freelancing is that you can choose your own hours. But do you keep track of them?

While it’s not absolutely necessary to do so, it is good practice and can make billing clients easier.

It’ll also let you know when you’re working too much and too little, and how long specific projects actually take. This makes pricing and timetabling contracts a lot simpler.


Posted by Julie Tucker