5 years ago, I recalled feeling unwell in Jakarta, and my aunt, my mom's sister, had to come to my apartment and take care of me. At the time, it was pretty obvious that I got sick because of the stress I got from work. My aunt, who's an entrepreneur, suggested that maybe it's time for me to consider starting my own business. According to her, being your own boss opens the opportunity to manage your own time, and we have the liberty to take a rest when we need it.
Moving forward to today, I see where she came from, but I wish she could also share the disadvantage of running a business on our own. The fear of fluctuating income, the pressure to get your team to work together so that it's time-efficient and effective to get the result you want, and the list go on.
It's been almost 5 years since I jumped on the bandwagon to start my own business. 5 years as a self-employed freelancer, and almost 2 years as someone who runs her own business and manages a team to keep it going.
It's been a while since the last time I wrote something work-related, so I figure maybe it's a good time to share some knickknacks about being an entrepreneur and how being your own boss isn't always rainbow and glitters.
In this post, I want to share some things that no one told me about running my own business. In short, some disadvantages of being your own boss.
1. No amount of experience will prepare you to get used to fixing someone else's problems.
As the eldest daughter of an Asian family, I really thought I got used to carrying the burden alone and responding to the trauma by trying my best to fix shit for everyone. I thought being a boss came naturally to me because of that, but nope…
There will come a time when you try to delegate tasks to your team members only for it to get messed up that you end up having to work double than you should. I know I may sound like an entitled bitch by saying this, but I disagree when I saw some articles about questioning why managers get paid higher when they barely do anything for the business.
Eeeek, that's where you're wrong. If you get involved in an organization, whatever it is, with a defined hierarchy, chances are the higher you are on top of the pyramid, the higher chance you are to get yourself accountable for the mistakes that others have made.
That's some real pressure when it happens because as much as you try to be a good boss, you know you need to cover what they did wrong.
But there are times when you get too tired to do it for others, and you start understanding why being self-employed is much more comfortable than working with a team even though you know that building a team will also give you a chance to grow as both a professional and a human being.
2. It's so easy to deal with self-blame when things go down.
Being a decision-maker comes with a price. While it's easy to be proud of yourself when things work for you, when things go down and you have the final say to do whatever you do, you know you have no one to blame but you.
There's something that I've learned through my entrepreneurship journey, and it's the necessity of having enough self-love when shit goes down.
The ratio of people who believe in you and those who don't will be significantly high, and there will be more of the latter than the first. You need to build your confidence and make sure that things will work despite all the doubts people have in you.
In a world where you need to fix other people's mistakes, the only thing you can do to yourself when you're being your own boss is to believe in yourself.
3. Suddenly it makes sense why movies portray bosses to be that snobby, intolerant bitch.
Some say it's just Hollywood's way to antagonize strong female characters in the movies. From the infamous Miranda Priestly from Devil Wears Prada to Ugly Betty's Wilhelmina, you know what the fictional characters have in common.
They're all women, they know what they want, and they come across as badass bitches due to their nature as a boss. Now, if you want to see it from the negative perspective, yes, no one deserves to have to deal with boss bitches. I used to deal with a boss that was a pain in the ass (though he was a man!), and I know how painful it could get to deal with such a problematic manager!
But, now that you've become your own boss, you suddenly can see where they come from. When you decide to run your own business, you have a vision of how your business can be. What potential it can get, and what kind of strategy to get there. More often than that, you can easily visualize that to happen until it doesn't.
Now that I know how it feels to be my own boss, I get to understand one thing. It's the progress we've made, professionally.
Pretty much like the progress of how we've grown up as a person. We spent our formative years getting to know the basic things about the world, then there came the teenage period when we got kinda naive with that “me vs the world” mentality. During our 20s, we were still naive but we kinda made peace with ourselves to adjust to reality. Finally, in our 30s, we start thriving to get to what we are.
In your career, especially when you're an entrepreneur who just tries your best to make ends met, it's pretty similar. So we started trying to be the ideal boss that you wish you had when you were subordinates. But then you got to the point when you understood that sometimes the soft approach didn't get the job done, so you had to get harder a little. That, until you realize that the work got done when you were hard to some people because that's the only way to get them to respect you.
It's the cold truth, and maybe we come across as ‘toxic' when shit like that happens. But it does the job, then being the snobby, intolerant bitch is the only way to go from there.
4. Sometimes it gets lonely up there.
Being an entrepreneur is a lonely journey. You can decrease the burden by having partners for your business decision, but even then, you need to ensure that you can be an effective communicator to minimize the chance of conflict. It's complicated.
Yes, being your own boss means you get to control your time. You are responsible for choosing what time you get to work, and you can even stop if it's something you'd like to do. But what they don't tell you about it is that it's more likely you carry all the stress alone.
Even when you have business partners, sometimes you get lonely when you don't see things eye-to-eye, and that's why some businesses don't work for a very long time. But it's harder when you do it alone.
Running your own business isn't for the fainted heart. You need to learn how to trust your own gut, and even swallow the bitter pill if you have to. But it helps a lot if you have someone to talk to about the problems you encounter. Having a support system that believes in your journey matters, and more often than not, they're the one that gets you far in your entrepreneurial journey.
So, now that you understand how being your own boss also comes with disadvantages, are you ready to be one?!
Marya The BeauTraveler
I am the founder and main editor at The BeauTraveler. I spent 4 years working in the aviation industry but ironically got to travel more right after quitting the industry in 2015. Born and raised in Indonesia, I started working remotely in 2017, and while I stay at home most of the time, I also regularly spend 2-3 months living a semi-digital nomad life elsewhere every year.