I’ve been my own boss for 14 years and have served over 50,000 students teaching them how to build digital courses and online businesses. Throughout this journey, I’ve learned there are a million opportunities to make mistakes and fall into what I call a “Boss Trap” while building a business.
A “Boss Trap” arises when you default to thinking like an employee versus a boss. Tackling challenges with an employee mindset when you’re building your own business throws your boundaries and self-respect out the window. Rather than moving toward your goal of creating a business that offers fulfillment and freedom,, you’re trapped running a business where you are playing small.
I uncovered five common “Boss Traps” while writing my book, Two Weeks Notice.
You see, when I got my book deal, things became weird. My head was full of doubt. Before the deal, I spent four months writing my proposal and felt like I was in the flow. After the deal, my progress stalled because I was on the hook and suddenly felt like nothing was good enough. And then it hit me… the thoughts and behavior patterns slowing my success now were the same ones that reared their head when I first started calling the shots 14 years ago.
So I got curious and talked to other women who had started their own businesses about their experiences falling into “Boss Traps.” And do you know what I found during these conversations?
That even though our businesses were in different industries and we were working towards different goals, we experienced the same missteps leading us to feel trapped!
Through these conversations, I saw how becoming your own boss is a process. It happens decision by decision, experience by experience – and it’s never a straight line to success.
Redefining Values and Principles
But by making mistakes and falling into these “boss traps,” we were all forced to redefine our values, update our operating principles, and learn what it meant to be the leaders we wanted to be.
So rather than keeping these conversations behind closed doors, let’s dive in and shed some light on five common “Boss Traps” business owners’ experience and three tips to navigate them so you can continue moving forward and impacting the world with your unique gifts.
The Five Boss Traps
- Letting Your Clients Boss You Around
- Thinking You Need a Man to Help You
- Staying Safe Through Self-Sabotage
- Mistaking Excitement for Good Business
- Superwoman Syndrome
Tip #1: Reconnect with Your Why
The first tip for navigating a “Boss Trap” is to get hyper-honest with yourself and develop awareness that you’ve fallen into the trap.
Once you’re aware, you’ll want to reconnect with your why. This doesn’t need to be big or altruistic. The only thing it needs to be one hundred percent honest. You become unstoppable when you know what you want and why.
So dig deep and answer this: What’s your motivation attached to the burning desire to be your own boss?
I’m standing here today because my why picked me up on the days my worries flattened me. My why carried me through the turbulent waters of early entrepreneurship when I thought I needed a man to help me build my business or when one of my clients was bossing me around. If you choose a why that’s bigger than your worries, you, too, will be in this for the long game.
Tip #2: Stay The Course
To be a successful entrepreneur, you can’t let the excitement of outside influences grab your attention at every turn. So each time you feel that sense of FOMO (Fear of Missing Out), keep your head down, and take the next step on the to-do list you already have.
Don’t self-sabotage by leaving projects unfinished when you are in the “messy middle” stage. You’re quitting before it gets good. Remind yourself that you can do anything you want in your business—you just can’t do it all at once!
This will help you courageously step into your vision, understanding that courage + time = confidence. Stay the course while confidence is taking shape behind the scenes, and watch the magic that will come when you double down on what’s already working for you (instead of starting something new).
And remember this: You are worthy of the opportunities in front of you right now. The only thing between you and success is your belief that you’re not good enough to have it.
Tip #3: Take Off Your Cape
Trying to do it all on your own is normal for new business owners. It can feel risky to pay someone else to help. But take it from me, overworking and overstressing to save a dollar or two does no good for your business and keeps you small. It’s what I call “Superwoman Syndrome.”
So what’s a Career Girl to do to shed that cape? ASK. FOR. HELP.
If you just cringed at that idea, know that’s perfectly normal! It took me six years to take my “Superwoman Cape” off and ask for help by hiring my first employee.
I was hesitant to let go of my work, mistakenly thinking I was the only person who would do it right. But over time, my first hire became an essential part of the business—freeing me to be more strategic and intentional with how I spent my time.
So where could you use help? What goals, campaigns, or new initiatives do you have coming up?
Think about the tasks you need to do to meet those goals. Write them down. Once it’s listed in front of you, ask: “What’s one thing I could ask for help with that would ease my workload and give me more peace?”
Choosing one thing—just one—can open the doorway to support, freedom, and growth in your business.
Being in business for yourself means you’ll make lots of mistakes. But progress comes when you trust that you’ll bounce back – and these tips will help you do just that!
So as you put these tips into action, you won’t get it perfect each time. 14 years into my business, I still stumble and fall into “Boss Traps.” And when I do, I remember that I can successfully pick myself up again by connecting to my why, staying the course, and not being afraid to ask for help along the way.
This guest post was authored by Amy Porterfield
Amy has worked with mega-brands like Harley-Davidson and Peak Performance Coach Tony Robbins. After one fateful boardroom meeting and witnessing the lifestyle, financial, and work freedom an online business offers, Amy developed her nine-to-five exit plan and never looked back.
Amy has helped hundreds of thousands of entrepreneurs turn in their two weeks’ notice and trade burnout for freedom, income, and impact through her best-selling courses and top-ranked marketing podcast Online Marketing Made Easy. Amy’s action-by-action teaching style provides aspiring business owners with the tools they need to bypass the overwhelm and build a business they love.
Amy empowers women across the globe to take their futures into their own hands and find professional autonomy, independence, achievement, and success far beyond what a corporate glass ceiling would traditionally allow. Be sure to check out her book Two Weeks Notice
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