The Entrepreneur Insiders network is an online community where the most thoughtful and influential people in America’s startup scene contribute answers to timely questions about entrepreneurship and careers. Today’s answer to the question, “What are the benefits of being your own boss?” is written by Brian Smith, co-founder of Winc.
Being your own boss is both a blessing and a curse: You have total control of your future and achievements, but are ultimately responsible for all of the issues, challenges, and failures. And it’s these ups and downs that either keep you up at night or make you feel like you can conquer the world.
When risk and reward are at play almost every day, you must learn to manage it, but also to thrive on it. With freedom comes responsibility.
You have the freedom to manage your time and energy
When I started my first wine company, I was working alone out of my “cloffice,” which was basically a closet that I turned into my office. I had no income and my wife and I were expecting our first child. Stress levels were at an all-time high. At that point, everything in the world seemed critical—and truly was. There was no room for error and no time to slack. Every second of the day was spent marching toward my goals.
I found I was most creative and strategic when I was out taking a walk, surfing, or talking to customers and buyers, not when I was stuck in my “cloffice” sending emails. It took me a while to switch from being “on” all of the time to creating enough time and space to let new perspectives and ideas bubble up. When you are your own boss, your instinct is to commit every second to work, but the truth is you must take advantage of the freedom you have with your schedule to take a step back, breathe, reflect, and absorb. But that’s the beauty of it. Your schedule is yours, and you can choose when to allocate your time toward the things that count most in business—and in life.
You’re empowered by setbacks
I remember my first sales visit with a new distributor and big buyer in New York. This buyer could have really put my brand on the map. It was sort of a make-or-break first pitch for a product I had worked on for over a year. I sat down at the table and made an emotional presentation of my project, my vision, and my dream. I was so confident in my 1-liter packaging concept, the brand, and the quality of the project.
The buyer tasted the wine and paused before informing us that not only was he not going to buy it, but that he hoped I hadn’t invested too much money in it because my liter concept wasn’t going to work.
Not only was I turned down personally, but also in front of a sales team I was trying to inspire with success. It was horrible, to say the least.
But it was also incredibly empowering. In fact, it gave me the conviction to drive harder than ever before. I knew my vision for the product had a market fit, and hearing someone tell me that I was destined to fail encouraged me to sell that much harder. That buyer became known as the “dream killer.”
Since then, I’ve probably used the dream killer story 100 times to get people to believe in my business and me. I have sold thousands of cases of wine by using rejection to empower myself and the brand. Being your own boss allows you to believe in yourself and to leverage that belief to the fullest extent.
You foster growth
Not only are you required to grow financial metrics and fundamentals of the business, a great team, and a healthy culture, but you get the opportunity to help individuals grow.
We have someone on our team who started as our social media intern two years ago, and is now a director of our wine program. We also have someone who started as a temp on customer service, and within a year, became a full-time project manager for our engineering team. Helping to grow culture, teams, and individuals is one of the most rewarding parts of being your own boss.