There are many ways to become your own boss.
Here are a few:
- The agent. This group consists of real estate agents and insurance agents. They can work independently or under a franchised larger organization.
- The professional. Included in this category are licensed professionals such as physicians, accountants, lawyers, and financial advisors as well as freelance website designers, writers, consultants, and others. The distinction is that the professional business generates its revenue through the professional activity of the owner.
- The main street business. These are traditional mom and pop businesses such as restaurants, auto repair shops, dry cleaners, gas stations, cleaning companies, and many more. Unlike the professional business, the owner of a main street business doesn’t provide a service specific to their particular area of professional expertise.
- The small business. These are companies that may have started as one of the above and have now morphed into a larger business. They are typically owned by an individual, a family, or a small partnership.
- The startup. Often in technology, these are companies created with the intention of finding outside funding and growing quickly. They are usually not cash flow positive and can only operate in this area for a limited time. To keep going, they will either need to raise outside money, sell, or shut down.
- The venture capital-backed company. These are companies that have already received an outside capital investment. Typically, these companies will need to be sold or taken public at some point to provide liquidity for the investors.
- The online business. This can include anything from a running a small blog to an eBay or Amazon seller. The online business makes money through various means typically including selling products or services and advertising or other promotions.
The Agent and The Professional
The agent (#1) and professional (#2) routes are relatively low risk paths to become your own boss although not all options may be immediately available (i.e., you will need to go to medical school to become a physician). These can also be good ways to create side income streams while you’re building a small business at the same time.
The Main Street Business and The Small Business
Main street businesses (#3) and small businesses (#4) are generally what come to mind when most people think about how to become your own boss and are often associated with entrepreneurs. The differentiation between the two is that a main street business is completely dependent on the owner/operator being present while a small business has reached a stage where they can hire a general manager. Not that the owner of a small business can disappear completely, but while the owner of a main street business is directly involved in every aspect of delivering the product or providing the service, the owner of a small business manages a team delivering the product or providing the service.
The Startup and The Venture-Backed Company
Building a startup (#5) or a venture capital-backed company (#6) is a route to become your own boss and is flashy, gets most of the media attention, and has the greatest upside; but, the failure rate for these companies is extremely high. And unless you have significant personal resources, are willing to live an ultra-frugal lifestyle, and/or have connections, this can be a risky and difficult path to pursue.
The Online Business
Creating an online business (#7) may be the least risky way to become your own boss. And although an online business requires little upfront capital, success can require a significant investment of effort over a long period of time.
Obviously, there are many other routes you can take to become your own boss. These are just a few but are the ones most readily available to the majority of people. In the end, to become your own boss requires creativity, imagination, effort, and above all perseverance. Success doesn’t come overnight but with enough time and energy, you can achieve your goal.
Readers, what other ways can you become your own boss? Do you have specific examples of companies or individuals that have gone this route?