How Being Your Own Boss Can Lead to Bad Habits

You started a business yourself, or work from home as a freelancer, and you’ve become successful and comfortably well off. Surely one of the perks of being your own boss is being able to do as you please with your time? Isn’t that one of the reasons for giving up the relative security of a nine to five, for the freedom to run your own working day as you see fit? Yes, that is true – to a degree. If you are regularly leaving work early to go for a round of golf, or you spend the time you had intended to use for reviewing your marketing plan looking at possible vacation destinations, that is time lost on consolidating and growing your business, and you need to look at why you may have fallen into bad habits.


There are reams of self-help websites, books, and articles on how to deal with the perennial problem of fiddling about with one thing while you should be getting on with something else. The problem is that if you are running a successful business, you can fall into the trap of feeling you are entitled to take time to check your finances or play a quick game of Candy Crush before you tackle the marketing plan. Or, maybe you’ve gotten used to rewarding yourself with half an hour on social media when you’ve completed a difficult task. The problem is that believing you should be able to do as you please may be affecting the profitability of your business. Look at how you can use your time more wisely, for example employing the services of a Betterment advisor rather than spending time dealing with your personal finances at work and make sure you aren’t doing fewer hours because of the way you are working.

Ashes in your belly

If you are the boss, you are only accountable to yourself. You could argue that if you have investors or staff, you are accountable to them also, but it’s not the same as having a boss standing over you who can fire you for not being up to the mark. For many people, this means they work even harder and do many more hours than they would have if they were working for someone else. Sometimes, however, decreased productivity comes about as a result of not having anyone there to crack the whip, or because the fire in your belly has turned to ash. If you find yourself wasting time at work because you have lost interest or the business has lost its appeal, you need to question whether you should quit while you’re ahead. Why not move into another sector or go back to being employed, and sell your business while it is still profitable; or whether there is anything you can do to re-ignite the flames. If you enjoy taking risks for example, and the business is running smoothly and profitably, you may feel like you haven’t got any big challenges and you are getting bored. If so, look at how you could give yourself a new challenge by getting into new markets, expanding your offering, or opening a new branch.

If you aren’t operating at peak productivity, you’re not doing your best for the business or anyone who depends upon it. By all means, take a break when you want to, but not at the expense of losing your edge.