seven ways to be your own worst boss…

Next month my  home-based business will be ten years old.

It has been and continues to be a joy AND a major “source of life lessons” – ha!

The joys are too countless to list here.   The lessons are also abundant.  As I prepare for this anniversary, I’ve been pondering the most significant lessons.   Most of them involve being my own boss.worlds_worst_boss_mug-p168105894964280687trhr_400

In my working life, I’ve worked for people I considered bad bosses.  I’ve also been blessed to work for three exceptional bosses.

The past ten years have taught me I have a LOT to learn about being my OWN BEST BOSS.

Up ’til the past few years I SO deserved to receive the mug that’s pictured here.

So here are seven ways I earned it:

1.  I avoided getting organized . This has just become a major focus in the last year.  I now know I wasted HOURS of time, TONS of anxiety and WAY TOO MUCH money by waiting.

2.  I commingled home time with work time. Sure, doing laundry while I’m in the midst of designing a new line of handmade paper posters seemed to make sense –  often it resulted in light purple T-shirts (which used to be white) and less-than-inspired artwork.

3. I didn’t ‘clock in’ and ‘clock out’. I’ve done my share of packaging orders while watching Letterman.  Big mistake.  I’ll always be so grateful to that customer who returned my favorite coaster which arrived with her order.  Finite working hours are a MUST.

4.  I skipped having an annual review. Thankfully, I figured out this one FAST.   For me, this means I need to set aside a specific time each year (the first week in November) to review and adjust my business plan.   I know. I know.  It can be as boring as it sounds.  AND (note I didn’t say BUT here) it CAN be fun.  And asking “what’s working?”, “what’s not working?” and “what changes need to be made?” IS essential.

5.  I didn’t encourage communication between company departments. Even though I was all of the departments for a long time, sometimes I forgot to let the production part of my brain let the sales part know what was possible –  i.e. I said YES, when NO was the truth.  Not to fret.   I’m SO over this.   We have a complete company meeting every single day.

6.  I didn’t praise/encourage/nurture my employee. I was MUCH better at noticing what I had NOT done than what I HAD.  That whole “getting organized” thing is helping me with this.  Now I have a worksheet/ ‘things to do list’ I can glow over at the end of each day/week/month/quarter.  YAY TEAM!

7.  I didn’t take advantage of my generous vacation/leave benefits. For a while there, I forgot what was important.  While I love and celebrate the honor of creating paper art, there are people in my life I love much more.

Whether or not you own your own business,  how do make sure you’re your BEST BOSS EVER?

6 thoughts on “seven ways to be your own worst boss…

  1. Congrats to your 10 year anniversary!
    Isn’t it great how the boss gets better w/ age?

    Taking notes on your list – I know I need some fine tuning here … thanks for the tips & the smile 🙂

  2. THANKS, Michele! Hope you’ll add to this list as you think of things.

  3. Lisa – I love this! Kudos on making it ten years, girl – that is truly something to be proud of!

    I can attest to the inefficacy of cooking while making art (is that an acrylic glaze or food coloring?). I’m not great at stopping one thing before doing the other, but at least being aware of it helps, right?

    The biggest lesson I’ve learned in my 3 year stint is to delegate! It was so hard for me to hire a helper for shipping and soldering. What if she doesn’t know how much tissue to put in each box? What if the jump ring isn’t attached just the way I like it? In the beginning I checked Lisa’s every move, and after six months of not a single customer complaint, I figured she’s probably pretty good at her job.

    Another big lesson I’ve learned is NOT to let the computer/business time take away from the art time! It’s important to refresh those creative batteries…

    And finally, remembering that it’s more about making people happy than making me money is my bestest lesson of all. I’ve received the most heartfelt emails and notes from customers who are touched by my work – yay!

  4. Allison, thanks SO much for taking time to share your lessons. manoman, can i ever relate to that delegation lesson. letting go is qUiTe the adventure, eh?
    and YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSS to keeping what most important smack dab in front at all times. you’re my kinda boss woman!

  5. Thanks for this, Lisa. It was more timely than you can know!
    And CONGRATULATIONS on 10 years. You have beat the odds big-time.
    (I think I might do better with a “boss” imposing some discipline and order, but I won’t let anyone do that, so I’ll keep plugging away. Sigh.)

  6. Thanks for the cheers, Robin. And for what it’s worth – i think your boss ROCKS!

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