How to be your own boss (with 8 steps to take)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 7 December 2021

Being your own boss means managing your own time, greater freedom and more control over how and when you work. Being self-employed means you run a business for yourself, which includes taking responsibility for its success or failure. Regardless of your reasons for wanting to be self-employed, understanding the stages involved in running your own business can help you reach your objective. In this article, we go through 8 steps that can help you become your own boss.

**Related: How to become an entrepreneur **

How to be your own boss in 8 steps

If you're interested in learning how to be your own boss, here are 8 steps to help you:

1. Determine what you want to do

You may already have an idea or a passion that can translate into a business opportunity, but if you're unsure of what to do, there are several things that you can do to help you make a decision. Try and identify a problem or a way you can do something better. The larger the problem is, the better the chance your business will succeed. Finding a problem can include researching problems that may exist in the future or thinking of ways to make people's lives easier.

Another way to come up with a business idea is to use what you already know, such as a hobby or personal passion, to generate profitable ideas. This may be turning a love of fitness into being a personal trainer or using your artistic talents to start selling customised artwork. If you're currently employed, you may want to use your skills and expertise to provide a service, such as freelance programming. Researching your competitors is also important for revealing trends in the marketplace and gaps in your own business plan.

Related: [How to become a CEO in 5 steps](

2. Validate your idea and find your market

Once you have an idea, identify who your target market might be. It's extremely important to carefully define your target audience and how you plan to sell to them. Use these tips to help find your market:

  • Compose a customer profile: One way to conduct market research is by forming a profile of your ideal customer. Start by asking yourself who would buy your product or use your service and devise a detailed profile of their gender, age, income, education, shopping habits and social background.

  • Research your competitors: Compile a list of other companies that offer similar products or services to yours. You can carry out thorough research on these companies to gather information on the market and identify gaps in their business.

  • Conduct a customer survey: Another great way to find out more about your market is by compiling a list of people who meet your customer profile and asking them about their needs and expectations. Their answers can give valuable insight into whether your product or service is valuable and how much people are willing to pay for it.

  • Determine the size of your market and its possible revenue: It's also important to research the industry you want to enter and how much revenue the industries in your field are generating. This information helps you to develop your business plan as you estimate how much income your business can potentially make.

3. Analyse your strengths and weaknesses

Before pursuing self-employment, it's important to take time to analyse whether or not you can handle being your own boss. Ask yourself how your strengths and skills can make you successful. It's also important to consider if you have any limitations that may hinder your success and determine how you plan to overcome these weaknesses.

Running your own business entails many challenges and requires a determined work ethic. Evaluate your crucial skills such as self-discipline and time management and determine which areas to work on. The objective is to be realistic while also considering solutions to help you achieve your goals.

4. Plan the transition

Next, it's important to plan your transition from your current situation into being your own boss. If you're currently in a job or studying at university, a slow and carefully planned transition can be the most logical way to start organising your new life. A slow transition from regular employment can also have the disadvantage of potentially relying on the security of your current job and not fully investing in your new pursuit. It may be useful to set a pre-determined date that marks when you step away from your current job.

Whether you want to transition slowly or launch into your new business right away, it's essential that you carefully plan your exit from your current situation and take steps to ensure yourself the most success and financial security. Some of these steps can include:

  • Calculating your living costs: Assess your repeated and regular expenses such as rent, transport, groceries, utilities and personal spendings.

  • Developing a budget: Reduce your expenses as much as possible to increase your savings.

  • Acquiring more training: If you're currently working as an employee, take the time to earn as much relevant training and knowledge as possible.

Related: How to quit a job

5. Assess your business's financial needs

Effectively planning your business's finances is crucial to being a success. This includes detailed planning for all stages, from start-up costs to ongoing operation costs like rent for a shop or warehouse, merchandise purchasing and technological needs. The amount of money needed to start and sustain your business depends on the size and type of business. Here are some factors to consider:

  • Selling or producing a service: If you plan to sell something intangible like your knowledge or services through freelancing or consulting, your start-up costs are likely to be minimal. Providing a service may still entail start-up costs to pay for branding material like a website, logo, business cards, equipment and hiring an accountant.

  • Selling or producing a physical product: In the case of providing a physical product, your starting capital is likely to cover the costs of inventory, renting for retail space and potentially hiring key roles.

  • Inventing a product or new method: If you're providing a new product, it's important to consider the cost of a patent to protect your ideas, along with other costs such as product development.

6. Learn about running a business

As you prepare to start your own business, it's important to increase your knowledge of business management by reading up on the subject or speaking with professionals. You can consult a certified accountant and solicitor to help guide you through the start-up phase. There are many online courses available that can help you with self-improvement, keep you informed on changes in the business world and teach you marketing and management strategies. These courses can also help you discover your funding options, such as planning to acquire funding through business loans, business grants or investors.

Related: [Self-employed vs. employed: the differences between the two options](

7. Develop your business identity

Planning how you want to brand your business is another important part of starting your own company. A brand is essentially a company's reputation and this is influenced by how you present your company to customers. Determine how you want to represent the brand through your company logo and name. When it comes to choosing a business name, try to find something that suits your company in the long term. To check if it's available, you can look it up online. Once you've decided upon a company name, ensure you buy a corresponding domain for your future website.

Related: [What is email marketing? (Tips on how to launch a campaign)](

8. Register your business and take the final step

To make your business official you're required to register as a sole trader, which is someone who runs their own business. HMRC can guide you through this process, including how to register and which steps you're to complete while running your business. This can include keeping a record of your business's sales and expenses, sending a self-assessment tax return every year and paying income tax on your profits. Once you're aware of all legalities, start considering how you plan to promote your business. This may be through creating a website, printing business cards, networking or investing in advertising.

Please note that none of the companies mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.