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Admit it, when you have thought about being your own boss, you looked back at all the bosses you ever had and you told yourself you were going to avoid all of the awful crap they put you through. Perhaps you had a boss who was an awful motivator who hardly ever told you what you really had to do to maintain gainful employment. Maybe you had the kind of boss who yelled at you for seemingly no reason. Or, possibly, you had a boss so evil, that he or she sabotaged your work and prevented you from getting a promotion or a raise. If you've had bosses like these in the past, why do you have such trouble avoiding these management pitfalls while you're being your own boss?

Let's take the boss who is an awful motivator, who never tells you what a project is for or a good way to make some progress on it. Aren't you being the exact same kind of boss when you don't set goals for yourself outside of work or during your freelance assignments? If you don't set clear goals (on paper) and you don't make an effort to keep yourself excited and motivated about your work, you are acting just like that boss who could never seem to get you going.

What about the boss who yells at you for sport. No matter how well you were doing at the job, if you made a small mistake or if the boss was having a bad day, you got an earful. Aren't you doing the same exact thing to yourself, then, when you discourage your own mistakes and shortcomings? If you have a bad day, do you take it out on your optimism and your self-opinion? You need to keep positive when you're trying to do work on your own, or else you'll be just like that hateful boss.

I realize the trend is pretty established here, but if you have hated the boss who gets in the way of your productivity, intentionally or unintentionally, then you when you're being your own boss, you need to keep yourself focused on the tasks in front of you. Don't let yourself get pulled away to a movie or a video game when you should be working on your novel. Set a schedule and stick to it, don't let yourself be blown in the wind by some outside circumstance (or pushy friend).

Personally, I think being your own boss can be amazing, but you still have to work at it to be successful. Think about all the qualities you wish that one of your bosses had when managing you. Try to enact those very same qualities when you manage yourself, and you'll be an amazing worker bee as well. 

Done with Being Your Own Boss? Go back to Personal Time Management.

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Written by Bryan Cohen

Bryan Cohen is the author of more than 30 books, many of which focus on creative writing and blasting through that pesky writer's block. His books have sold more than 20,000 copies. You can find him on and Facebook.

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