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 Eric Rea, CEO of Podium.
One common misconception about founding a successful business and being your own boss is that it’s glamorous. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. It’s incredibly difficult, and at times demoralizing. But in many of the not-so-obvious ways, the pros definitely outweigh the cons.
It eliminates office politics and red tape
The biggest benefit is the freedom to get things done quickly. You don’t have to deal with corporate politics or bureaucracy that can grind projects down to a halt.
Prior to founding Podium, I worked at the UN as a software engineer, so I know from personal experience how frustrating it can be to try and cut through red tape just to accomplish a simple task. But I now have the freedom to formulate a strategy and execute it on the fly without having to navigate through a gauntlet of approvals.
As the boss, you’re in control of what a work environment looks and feels like. Since the start of Podium, I knew I never wanted to deal with office politics or red tape again. The second we start worrying about not stepping on others’ toes is the day we become less efficient, creative, and cohesive. And without those things, we’ll never be able to accomplish what we set out to do.
It pushes you to your limits
I started Podium in the spare bedroom of my apartment. As a software engineer, I had no business experience, so I had to do a lot of learning on the fly.
I knew that my co-founder and I couldn’t do it all by ourselves, and we weren’t afraid to bring in smart employees to help us grow. I was lucky enough to find individuals with far more experience than me in certain areas to fill in the gaps. One of the keys when you’re working for yourself is knowing your strengths and weaknesses so you know the types of talent and expertise you need on your team.
Being responsible for my employees’ well-being and for growing the company has forced me to grow quickly as a person and as an entrepreneur.
I’ve been able to help others grow and achieve
Even though Podium now has 160 employees, we still want them to have the same hunger we had when there were just 10 of us working in the loft above a bike shop with no heat or A/C. We want our employees to treat their work like a startup within a startup. We give them autonomy to make decisions and have control over their area of the business. It’s important that we don’t have a culture where every process is micromanaged. And the results we’ve achieved speak for themselves.