Becoming self-employed is the dream of a lot of people and a fantasy to even more. Dozens of these dreamers go ahead to living their dreams of being self-employed each decade. While this is a dream come true, it is initially accompanied by an endless list of erroneous thinking 一called fallacies. Most seasoned self-employed professionals are familiar with these fallacies, although new practice owners often do not recognize or even question these fallacies.
Here are a few of the major fallacies that over the years have proven to be most threatening to the success of new practice owners.
Now that you are self-employed you get to “set your own hours.”
Of course, being self-employed means working on some terms that are influenced by you, but in the best interest of your clients or clients. Believing that you get to set your own hours when you are self-employed is a complete joke and should be given a second thought.
Once you become truly self-employed, you carry some responsibilities that most employees have no idea existed. These responsibilities will set your work hours above the limits you ever imagined. Many experienced business owners have been in daring situations where huge payroll, home payment, and lease payments are all flying in at almost the same time. This can get overwhelming to some entrepreneurs and professionals. In my experience as a new business owner, I suddenly had over $35,000 payments due at the beginning of a month. Five days before the due date, I had about $4,000 in liquid cash. Every seasoned entrepreneur understands how these things go. When you find yourself in situations like this, you are likely going to find your usual 40-hours-a-week insufficient to meet up with those payments. And, unfortunately, situations like these are a given throughout your journey as a self-employed professional or entrepreneur.
Unlike regular employees, small business owners and self-employed professionals, who go from being employees to achieve their dreams, are likely to work about 100 hours a week, get paid last 一if they ever get paid at all, and stay mentally active at every point. This is a sad end to the numerous TV shows that followed the old evenings after work and the regular fixed income that runs into your account through paychecks.
Adding employees means I have to do less myself.
Haha! The truth is that adding employees means doing more work in managing them than is required to actually do the job. And a rather fortunate thing is that you are going to need some employees to help get things done. Until things are done, you and your business aren’t going anywhere.
Almost everybody, at a point or another, has been an employee. We worked for people who spent a chunk of time tailing our actions to make sure that we aren’t doing things wrong. Of course, that’s a familiar experience. For every employee that you add to your business to handle a role, you have to put in almost equivalent work to ensure that the employee does what you want them to do.
With this, there are undeniably two truths of employees: An owner will ALWAYS care more about the results than an employee; and without aligned purposes and proper supervision, any employee will ultimately detract from rather than add to the quality of your operation.
Therefore, it’s essential to build with a mindset that adding employees doesn’t mean reduced work for you as a business owner.
The staff will run the show; I will tell them what to do and that’s all.
There’s so much work in managing and supervising employees. I get that. This is one of the reasons why most business owners and self-employed professionals focus on employing people who are self-motivated, self-starters, and who can do really good work with little or no supervision. I have seen a lot of HR experts and small business owners focus on employing people with these qualities.
Sometimes, you may have the right staff that can do the work just as you want. If you are an owner that has an opportunity to work with staff with these excellent qualities, then you’d better pay attention to some important aspects of managing great talents. Ensure that their remuneration and lifestyle matches their skill set as soon as you can. If you fail to do this, it won’t be long until they will be working relentlessly with a dreaded competitor to kick you out of business in no time.
Thus, even with the right employees, you still need to run the show because no one can run the show as you would. It’s your business. It’s your show. Take charge of it.
Now that I own the place… I’ll do the stuff that I enjoy.
The aim of being self-employed is not primarily to do what you enjoy. The real goal is to enjoy what you do. As an employee, you do what your boss instructs because your boss signs the paycheck. As a self-employed professional or entrepreneur, things will be more or less the same. The only difference now is that the clients are your boss; they sign the checks and you have to do the stuff that you do in the ways that they want you to do it.
It’s known by every professional that the market will remain the market and there’s nothing you or anyone can do about it. So, what smart business owners do is to meet the market at one of its various points of need. Many times, those points of need include stuff that you don’t enjoy but you have to do them anyway… and you have to find ways to make them enjoyable.
I’m my own boss. So, I’m not taking instructions from any boss.
This is one of the funniest paradigms I’ve heard from new business owners and self-employed professionals. Unfortunately, there is something they are missing about being self-employed. As an employee, you report to your supervisor and take instructions from your direct boss or a few supervisors, as the case may be. I understand people hate being told what to do sometimes, especially when their opinion is not sought. Once you are self-employed and running your own business, it’s a completely different league. You become a sort of servant to many masters. You will now have to frequently receive and process instructions from countless bosses ーclients, the IRS, your landlord, and the city and county government.
Once I’ve delegated a task, I don’t have to worry about it anymore. The delegatee should know what to do.
Delegation is one of the two ways to hand off a task to employees as a business owner. When delegating a task, you are passing on the responsibility for that task to the delegatee but this doesn’t mean that your responsibilities have been diminished.
Efficient delegation involves a series of responsibilities on the part of the business owner. When the owner plays their roles well enough, the team will be move forward quickly. The roles of the owner in delegating tasks include:
- Clearly define the task to be completed, with outcomes that define successful completion
- Provide training on key processes for the completion of the task
- Involve the employee in defining the action plan for the accomplishment of the objective
- Define benchmarks and timetables
- Supervise at predefined intervals
- Provide support and coaching during the process
- Reward, train, or punish depending on performance results
Successful owners and managers are defined by their ability to train and support staff, and by their ability to delegate tasks without losing track of the timeline or training needs.
Abdication, being the second way to hand off a task to employees, is not an advisable way for owners to hand off tasks. It means the act of handing off tasks and forgetting about it; no inspections, no expectations, or anything. Doing this for tasks with even the slightest importance without supervision is a quick way to send your business out of the market. You alone are responsible for your success in the business world.