• Mel B. Cook

Being Your Own Boss Requires Discipline

Guidant and the SBTA surveyed over 2,400 current and aspiring small business owners nationwide with their annual Small Business Trends survey. The most popular reasons reported for starting a new business are people were ready to be their own boss or they were tired of corporate America. I have met hundreds of small business owners that ventured into entrepreneurship for the same reasons. Those two reasons are rarely enough. Often, people have a misguided view of what it takes to be their own boss and generate consistent revenue. As a result, what gets them into business doesn’t keep them in business.


Becoming your boss always sounds great in theory. However, being your boss requires discipline, consistency, and character. You establish your metrics and milestones. If you don’t meet those metrics and milestones there isn’t a warning, a reminder, or a paycheck. A failure to produce results in a loss of revenue. A consistent loss in revenue will lead to serious consequences. I have watched entrepreneurs lose their homes, family, and dignity because their focus was on being in charge versus being a leader. Leadership requires a vision, plan, and consistent execution. Emotions are fleeting, so when you no longer feel warm and fuzzy then discipline must go into overdrive.


You only eat what you kill, or you harvest and I promise that’s more than a catchphrase. It is a promise and a reason most businesses are not able to sustain. There are so many times I wake up and I don’t feel like performing. I used to hate cold calls, networking events, and social media but losing is a luxury I can’t afford. I have a family that needs me. I have a child in college, one who loves the arts, and dreams that require resources. Also, I have parents that are aging and a community that requires my presence. Therefore, I make a different choice on the days I want to hit snooze, lay in the bed, and stream movies all day. That doesn’t mean I am all work and no play. It means I must consistently remain conscious of what I am building and why I am building it. If the only thing I considered was being my own boss, then I would rarely get up. However, outside of my personal pep talks, there are few practical things I put in place to keep me focused. A few of those tools include:

  • Time blocking to keep my schedule in check

  • Personal development to keep my character in check

  • Clear targets to keep my goals in check

  • An accountability partner/coach to keep me in check

It’s aspirational to seek entrepreneurship to escape a corporate career or to become your own boss, but that’s not enough. You must develop your leadership skills, character, consistency, and discipline. When you’re the boss it’s too easy to lose due to bad habits and a lack of accountability. There is nobody there to tell you to get up or to assign your priorities. In addition, you don’t get paid whether you perform or not. Therefore, put the proper measures in place to succeed, so you can show up consistently every day and produce. Safeguards that will prevent you from being the next entrepreneur with a big dream and big desire to succeed but lacks the skills to sustain it.