By Kelly Gibbons, founder and managing partner of Main & Rose.
Five years ago, I left a career in the fashion and entertainment industries to start my own business. After more than a decade in corporate America, I made the move because I wanted to take back control of my projects, my time and my lifestyle. And I'm not alone: Today, 27 million working-age Americans -- that's nearly one out of every eight people -- are starting or running a young business. Entrepreneurs have become a new brand of celebrity -- thanks in no small part to shows like Silicon Valley -- and an unprecedented share of Americans are now considering launching their own businesses.
So, what's the hype all about? Here's what I love most about running a business and being my own boss:
Building your own schedule.
Are you a morning person who likes to be at your computer by dawn and be done in time for happy hour? Do you prefer to sleep in and then work late into the night? Fit in a mid-day run or a yoga class in-between calls? Being your own boss means that you can create and follow the schedule that makes you most efficient and happy: no more punching in and out of time clocks if that's not your style.
Of course, it's not always as fun or easy as it might sound. Crafting your own schedule takes discipline. Without a boss to assign deadlines and oversee your progress, it can be easy to fall behind. Creating structure is key.
Being your own boss gives you a special degree of ownership over your projects. You shape the scope of work, make the big decisions and get the work done. I've found that this makes me a better worker. With full responsibility and accountability for my work, there are no excuses to hide behind and no one else to blame if something goes wrong. This is a powerful motivator to do your best. After all, it's your reputation at stake.
And, of course, ownership means that the successes and high points -- not just the slip-ups -- are uniquely yours. Glowing testimonials and warm thank-you emails from clients feel far more rewarding when you know you made these happen.
Creating a positive work culture.
The fashion and entertainment worlds that I came from both have notoriously bad work cultures: Long hours, unreasonable bosses, poor compensation and high pressure all can make these industries extremely difficult to persevere through. The going is particularly tough for young people, no matter how impressive their resumes may look.
Being your own boss means that you make the rules. You can create channels for communication, empower talented strivers and set the tone for the kind of work-life balance you believe in. This is one of the most impactful things about leading a company or a team: You can create a virtuous cycle of workplace positivity that will guide your employees throughout their careers. Set the bar high for how you treat employees and they'll reciprocate when they themselves are bosses.
Chasing your mission.
The best part of being your own boss is being able to build a company or a team that pursues a mission aligned with your values. I left the corporate world because I wanted to only work with companies and entrepreneurs who were committed to making a positive global impact. Now, I'm fortunate to work alongside clients who are tackling our shared global waste problem, offering free banking and investment services to underserved Americans, and busting fake news stories, among other projects.
Building a portfolio that reflects one's personal beliefs and philosophy gives my job purpose. When I get up every morning, I don't feel like I'm "going to work." Instead, I feel like I'm doing my part to make the world a healthier, more just, and more positive place. And there's no better feeling in the world than that.
The benefits of being your own boss don't just apply to people who start their own businesses, of course. Bring this mindset to your job and -- no matter where you work or where you are in your career -- you will be happier, more efficient, and more fulfilled.
Kelly Gibbons is the founder and managing partner at Main & Rose.