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Are you one of the millions of people who dreams of being your own boss? You want to decide when to show up at work, what to focus on, and what to worry about. You dream of pouring your workdays into your passion and reaping the financial rewards of your efforts. Often, the people who dream of being their own boss aren’t aware of the reality of what it takes to be your own boss. Before you decide to take the leap of quitting your day job to open your own business, there are some things you should know about being your own boss.

You Have to Have Discipline.

For so many people, being your own boss means freedom. There’s no more sitting at a desk from 9 to 5, waiting for someone to dole out orders. While you certainly will find more freedom as your own boss, you have to have the discipline to deal with your newfound freedom. You have to have the discipline to work when you need to get work done and to work the long hours it often takes to get your own business up and running. You have to be disciplined enough to do what needs to be done, even if they’re tasks you don’t enjoy doing. On the flip side, you have to have the discipline to give yourself a break, taking time off to spend on your personal life so you don’t burn out.

You Have to be Independent.

Independence is different from freedom when it comes to being your own boss. Freedom is waking up and working on your schedule and focusing on your dreams. Independence means working on your own to set the goals and plans for your business. If you’re going to start your own business, you have to operate independently and make tough decisions for your businesses. You might have other people to weigh in on your vision, but you have to know that it will be you, alone, who makes the ultimate decisions for your business.

You Have to Make Yourself an Expert.

People seek out professional services for one reason: expertise. Whatever field you choose to start your own business in, you have to make yourself a trusted expert. When you’re the boss, you’re the one who has to have all the answers about your products and services. Learn everything you can about your field. Get certifications, if appropriate. When you market yourself, market yourself as an authority. When you’re able to competently and confidently answer your customers’ questions and meet their needs, people will seek out your business.

You Have to be OK with Failure.

When you are your own boss, failure is inevitable. You will make mistakes and you will suffer setbacks. If you’re going to strike out on your own and be your own boss, you have to be OK with failure. Knowing how to keep your chin up and press forward when things aren’t going well is the only way to see your business through to success.

Being your own boss really does come with the many benefits people dream of. But before you make the leap, think about the reality of being your own boss and whether you have what it takes.