The idea of living a life independent from the usual constraints of business is not an illusion.
But you cannot live fully independently if you believe in doing it all by yourself while perpetually spinning the hamster wheel.
To use a Tolstoy analogy: “All independent businessmen are alike, each dependent businessmen are dependent in their own way.”
What element in your story prevents you from living an independent life?
Creating the freedom you want will be easier with this guide to living an independent life for business owners.
Listen to the Virtual Frontier Podcast:
Common Obstacles to Living an Independent Life for Business Owners
Living independently as a business owner means having absolute liberty to do what you want with your time and your resources. It also means creating the best possible personal life to live on your own terms, and not a life that lives you.
Here are the common obstacles that make most business owners feel trapped in their businesses:
- Client mismatch — ”I only want to work with big clients.”
- Inability to scale the business — ”As I grow my business, so do my costs as I have to hire new people.”
- Unsteady project supply — “I don’t know how to deal with uncertainty.”
- Overwhelming workload — “ I have to do everything myself. ”
- Unmotivated team due to overload — ”Projects get stuck or fall behind time because people don’t do their job as expected.”
- Time constraints — “I’m too busy to change something.”
- Stress due to working long hours — “Instead of working less as a business owner, I work more.”
- Lack of efficient business systems and procedures — “People come and go and take the procedures with them.”
- Talent shortage — “I cannot find reliable and talented people with special skills for my project.”
Do any of these descriptions sound familiar? If they do, here is how to solve them and create the independence and freedom you always wanted to have.
Living Independently Comes Down to…
1. Identifying the perfect client fit.
Is wining the biggest client always on your mind? That can be the biggest mistake for living an independent life. Big clients, corporations, and those positioned at the top of their fields are demanding. They take a lot of your time and resources. Everyone competes to get them. That’s why it is so easy for big clients to drop projects and replace you with someone else. They have a budget to do so, while it can be a deadly hit for you to lose a big client. You will break your back trying to bend to meet their requirements.
On the other hand, the perfect client fit may not be a huge corporation, but a company that relates best to your products and services, which depends on who is your ideal customer and how you build your sales funnel to reach them.
Learn more: How to Win New Clients with Facebook Ads
2. Developing sustainable business growth methods.
If you grow too fast and too much, you take greater risks in terms of stress, workload, and burnout. But what does it mean to grow “too fast and too much”?
It can be employing a full-time person for a one-off project. It can be signing up for a project before carefully considering product requirements and making correct estimations. It can be saying yes to unclear and non-transparent project goals.
To create sustainable growth, you need to be able to scale up and down your team, your time, and your skills.
Learn more: 7 Business Strategies for Virtual Teams
3. Creating a flexible business structure that supports you during a crisis.
You can show what you are made of during difficult times.
Instead of risking it all by sticking to traditional office work, full-time employment contracts, and depending on local talent, why not expand globally?
Make the virtual environment your office, reach out for worldwide talent to increase your competitiveness, and build a flash virtual team that can jump on and off a project without giving you a headache or losing sleep.
4. Effective task delegation is a must for living independently.
It is impossible to live an independent life of freedom if you do it all by yourself.
Many managers remain stuck in the office for 60 hours per week only because they think no one can do the job better than them.
This is simply not true. You cannot be an expert on everything. Businesses grow when they are built by high-performing teams. If you hire the right experts, you’d be surprised to learn that there are people who can not only do the job as good, but even better than you.
5. Role clarity, team transparency, and clear communication.
When you have a team and a company structure, you need to create “rules” for managing the structure effectively. Everyone on your team needs to:
- Know what they do to the dot.
- Commit to what they do.
- Communicate change in a transparent and visible way.
- Track progress to move towards common goals.
Learn more: Grow Your Startup with Virtual Teams
6. Time prioritization with timeboxing.
Timeboxing is a time management technique that uses time boxes (minutes or hours) to help you prioritize work. Successful timeboxing comes down to five principles:
- Decide what work brings the greatest value to your business.
- Do that important work first thing in the morning (or assign a time that works for you.)
- Separate focus work from communication work.
- Separate “me time” from “others time”.
- Reduce video meetings.
The key insight to pick up from timeboxing is to give your most to what brings back the most., i.e. to the activities with the highest return on investment.
Learn more: How to Stay Focused Like an Olympic Champion
7. Designing workflows for living an independent life.
While most of this guide to living an independent life comes down to strategy, the actual results will come when you use the right tools to transform strategy into actionable goals that bring results. This is where so many business owners fail — they know what they do wrong, but they lack the grit to solve the problem once and for all and create a life of freedom that doesn’t depend on them being present 24/7, seven days a week.
Furthermore, workflow tools are needed to:
- Help your team do their job independently
- Hire replacements for absent employees
- Onboard new people when someone quits
With workflows, the way you work is immediately obvious. Your business will run like a well-oiled machine regardless of the number of people on your team that change. You can be on the other side of the world, if you have digitally set up tools with clear workflows, your business will work automatically.
Learn more: Make Workflow Management Tools for Any Project
8. Working with global freelance teams.
The freelancer solution doesn’t come to mind the first time you think of business growth and stability. But it is wrong to think that your business fails to get you the freedom you want because of other people. It is possible to make a mistake and hire a person that does not do a hell of a job. But repeating the same mistake over is not because every freelancer is unqualified, unreliable, or untrustworthy. It is because of errors in your hiring method.
To succeed in creating the story of living an independent life, you need to work on your digital leadership skills, which encompass developing the virtual strategy, virtual tools, virtual workflows, and virtual teams that can handle working independently as well.
The only way of being a boss with time on your hands to live independently is by helping others do their job without you or with only minimal supervision.
If you are interested to put this guide to living an independent life into practice, there is no better time than the present.