Do You Have What it Takes to Be the Boss?
Being a leader of people isn’t for everybody. Some are perfectly content with their 9-5 jobs, collecting their pay and benefits, and relaxing on the weekend. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. After all, an essential part of effective leadership is a following who believes in your mission as much as you do. It’s these team members who do the work necessary to carry out what you, the leader, have defined as important.
Entrepreneurship also isn’t for everyone. In most cases, entrepreneurs are also solopreneurs – they are a one-person show trying to handle everything from accounting to sales to social media. Other jobs, family obligations, and life itself can get in the way of being a business owner, because it really is a 24-hour job with no days off.
To be a small business owner, you have to get comfortable being uncomfortable. I came from the corporate world, where a fixed salary, pay date, and benefits were all the norm. Once you step out on your own, those luxuries go away. I may have slacked off on a Friday or taken a week’s vacation and still gotten paid for it. In entrepreneurship, you eat what you kill, so resilience and thick skin are essential.
[Related: 7 Steps To Transition to the Career You Want]
Before you jump in, be realistic about your level of commitment to a business. Can you sustain it? Are you prepared to be responsible for everything? How do you know if you have the right personality?
I knew I had the right personality to be a small business owner when I found myself having to constantly fix things. I may have been hired to lead an accounting team or do M&A accounting, but things like vetting banks to set up new accounts and identifying workflow system issues became integral parts of my roles. Many of these opportunities came because of my curiosity and posing questions like “Why are we doing it like this?” or “Why are we paying a third party this amount of money when their service isn’t meeting our needs?”
A mentor or manager can help you establish goals and work towards identifying areas of focus in your role. Mentors are also great for business owners in helping you establish a rhythm, and can even answer questions you have about how to run your business.
These things must be at the top-of-mind as a business owner and as an employee. The key is to add value. Bring something to the table that the competition (or your co-workers) do not. The job description isn’t designed to be all-inclusive; it serves as a guide to lay out the core of your role, but there are many more holes to be filled. That's why they hired you, right?
Sometimes you have to go outside the scope of a defined role to get things done, whether you work for yourself or for someone else. Not all businesses have the resources to hire teams, but regardless, you still must be well-versed in those functions of your business. When do you hire staff, how will you teach them to do something well if you don’t know how to do it yourself?
One of the best things you can do for your business is to have your “back office” in order. Some of us know the struggle of working a 9-5 AND a 5-9 where we’re up late at night trying to figure out funnels or track business expenses. Your customers can sense when you're unorganized in your business, and you will feel it through an impact on your revenue.
There are apps and virtual assistants that can help you make better use of your time in running your business. With some initial setup and planning, you can automate your e-mail lists, social media posts, and expense tracking, allowing you to spend more time on revenue-generating activities.
Nikki Winston is a serial MOMpreneur as an accounting expert and founder of The WERKin’ Mommas, a concierge service for busy moms.
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The WERKin' Mommas
Nikki Winston, CPA is a CPA exam coach and host of The WERKin’ Mommas podcast. She has been a featured speaker at national accounting conferences and her career advice for millennials has been featured by Forbes, the Ellevate Network, and Reader’s Digest. Nikki received the Rising Buckeye Award by The Ohio State University, a special recognition of alumni who positively impact the community through public service. Nikki was recognized as a Top 40 Under 40 honoree... Continue Reading
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