What It's Really Like To Be Your Own Boss

Hannah Burton/Bustle

Like many young women just out of college, I started my career in an entry- level position. I couldn't count on one hand how many superiors I had at the arts organization I worked for, and after a few years, juggling so many conflicting personalities and projects got pretty frustrating. Once I started to daydream about what being your own boss would be like, it was only a matter of time before I set out on the road to self-employment. By my 30th birthday, I had left the 9-5 grind for the even more intense grind of being a freelancer sans boss. It was awesome, but it was also terrifying.

There have been multiple studies and surveys that link increased happiness with the freelance life. (Although being your own boss doesn't have to mean you are a freelancer, it often correlates.) For those who have yet to tread in the waters of self-employment, it can be liberating for certain personality types. Bad babes who dare to be their own bosses know that three hour lunch breaks and four margarita business dinners can be a regular reality. At the same time, six months without a day off, and lack of affordable healthcare can also be a reality. In essence, there are as many plusses and minuses as any other kind of job — except for that whole working for someone you can't stand bit.

Here are seven things only women who are their own bosses understand, because, apparently, we are a growing breed.


You Are Mistress Of Your Sleep And Work Schedule

Commuting in rush hour got you down? Waking up to an alarm clock a total bummer? Being your own boss injects a lot of flexibility into your schedule. Every job differs — and so does every client you might work with — but since there are 24 hours in a day, it often doesn't matter when or where you work as long as you're working.


You Don't Get Sick Days

Reality check: being the boss means there's no one to pick up the slack when you're down for the count. Deathly ill with the flu or hungover from your BFF's birthday party, it's not like you get to laugh at your boss slaving away while you rest up at home (and get paid while doing it!). Some days I fantasize about how great it was to call in sick on a whim, but unfortunately, this perk is not in the self-employment cards.


There's No Performance Review At The End Of The Year

Ah, the performance review. That special time of year you awkwardly sit in your boss' office, waiting to hear if you lived up to their expectations. Who doesn't love hearing about all their flaws while dressed in business casual? The only person you have to impress when you're self-employed is yourself (and your clients). Still, there's no one making you answer that "what would I improve about myself?" question every year (the best avoidant answer is "caring too much"), and that's good enough for me.


When Things Go Wrong, You're To Blame

When things go wrong, there's no shifting the blame or passing the buck if you're the one in charge.


When Things Go Right, You're To Blame

When things go right, there's no one else waiting in the wings to take credit for your work. Enjoy those goodies, you deserve them.


It's Hard To Take A Real Vacation

If you know a freelancer who is their own boss, ask them if they've had a vacation without doing work during it. No? I didn't think so. When you have no paid vacation days and no boss to hold down the fort while you're gone, it's pretty hard to tune out while you sip Mai Tais on a beach somewhere.


It Can Feel Deliciously Empowering

Independence may not be defined by financial independence, but it does feel fantastic to be a woman in charge. I have worked under many men in my professional life — some great and some horrible. Being free from relying on their approval to make a living has been one of the most powerful additions to my sense of self-worth.

Taking care of business solo isn't easy, but that doesn't mean it's not rewarding both personally and professionally.