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How to Live the Professional Dream as Your Own Boss Here are three ways to make it happen.

By Thogori Karago Edited by Dan Bova

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.


We're living in a golden age of entrepreneurship. More individuals are aspiring to be their own boss and turning this dream into a reality by saying farewell to the traditional 9-5 job. And why wouldn't they?

The numbers show there has never been a better time to strike out on your own. In fact, four out of every 10 working-age adults believe there are ample opportunities for starting a business in their area, according to the 2016/2017 Global Entrepreneurship Monitor Report. More than half of respondents to a recent LinkedIn ProFinder survey confirmed they'll never return to more traditional, full-time employment. And freelancers are expected to make up nearly half of the workforce by 2020, according to a study conducted by Intuit.

Related: These Are the Best Cities to Be Your Own Boss

With today being National Boss Day, it's the perfect time to dive into how you, too, can pursue the professional dream of being your own boss. Here are a few ways you can make it happen:

Always be learning.

Being your own boss requires continual learning and professional development. According to LinkedIn data, the average shelf life of a professional skill is less than five years so, for many of us, the skills we learned in college don't cover the technology and in-demand skills of today. Consider registering for online courses offered by Skillshare, Udemy or LinkedIn Learning to learn a wide range of capabilities across business, creative and technical topics. Lifelong learning will be essential for staying competitive and thriving in your career.

Related: Do You Really Want to Be Your Own Boss? Answer These 6 Questions First.

Be in the know on the industries that are booming.

If you want to be your own boss, make sure you're privy to where customer demand exists. For instance, LinkedIn ProFinder found if you work in fields like marketing and branding, design and software, offering your services to small businesses is a good route to consider. Or, if resume writing, interview prep and leadership training are more your lines of expertise, keep in mind that career coaching is a hot growth area for independent professionals. With the world of work changing at an unprecedented rate, employees today are navigating ever more complex career paths and, as such, turn to career coaches and mentors to assist them with these sorts of jobs.

Leverage the power of your network.

In addition to joining relevant industry groups across Twitter and Meetup or reaching out to other experts via sites like Quora, turn to your existing professional connections to help you land your next career opportunity. Industries like animation, computer networking or semiconductors, as found by LinkedIn, are three fields most likely to hire from within an existing professional network.

Related: Why You Should Buy a Franchise Instead of Starting Your Own

Being your own boss comes with a variety of perks: the most obvious, maintaining control and calling the shots. It's no surprise it's continually named the top motivation for professionals who decide to go solo. The flexibility that comes with this lifestyle allows you to set your own schedule, work from a variety of environments and pursue jobs based on your passions and interests. You can also enjoy the financial benefits associated with freelancing. It's not unheard of to make six figures or more from your freelance work -- in fact, 20 percent of professionals shared in the LinkedIn ProFinder study that they expect to make at least this much. Overall, professionals are opting out of the traditional workplace to enjoy any number of these benefits.

Whether you're seeking professional independence, looking to fill your inner most passions or seeking a higher income, the benefits of the freelance way of life are fruitful. Whether it happens today, tomorrow or the next National Boss Day, if you keep some of these tips in mind and jump into the independent career track with a plan, there's no limit to the success you can achieve on your own.

Related Video: The Only Thing That Can Stop You From Starting Your Business Is You

Thogori Karago

LinkedIn ProFinder Senior Product Manager

Thogori Karago is the senior product manager of LinkedIn ProFinder, LinkedIn’s marketplace dedicated to connecting consumers and small businesses with top quality freelance professionals. She previously led the LinkedIn Premium Jobs team.

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