Do You Own a Business -- Or a Job?

So you have recently decided to go out on your own, start your own business, and be your own boss. Or maybe you have ran your own business for years and are a seasoned entrepreneur. Whatever your experience, you want to be careful not to fall into the trap of owning a job. I have been there myself, fooled by the misguided notion that I was an entrepreneur and all my "hard work" would pay off in the end. The reality was that I had built a job for myself, not a business.

The differences between owning a job and a business are many. People who own a business work "on" their business -- not "in" their business. In my experience, the end goal of starting out on your own is the freedom being your own boss, the ability to generate higher levels of income than you could make employed and building up a tangible asset that can one day be sold so you can retire or move on to something else.

You may never want to sell your business (and if you don't that is awesome, do what you love!) but that doesn't mean you don't want to build a valuable asset. You may never want to sell your home either, but you still want the value attached to it.

So how do you work "on" your business instead of "in" your business?

  1. Create system for every function of your business. Systemic, well laid out processes, are the life blood of any successful business. You need the ability to train people in a brief and inexpensive amount of time to produce similar results as everybody else in the organization.  These people should be replaceable (not that you want to replace them!), because you have well documented processes in place. These processes will become the cornerstone your business and its value.

  2. Leverage other people time instead of yours. This can be a tough process for the work-a-holic type. You'll have to learn to rely on other people if you want your business to grow beyond being just a job. You cannot and should not be doing everything.  Your job should be to inspire your employees, gain new business and improve your processes. This takes time to accomplish; most of the time is just coming to terms with the idea that the business doesn't need you as much as you think.

  3. Have the right structure and vision to achieve your goals. A mindset can make or break a business. By this I mean, you have to think like a true entrepreneur to grow your business. Take the time and the risk to build your processes properly that will help you achieve your goals. You do have goals, right? Remember when we were talking about freedom? How are you going to achieve that without the proper structure and goals carefully laid out beforehand?

  4. Try some business or leadership coaching to boost your management skills. Not all entrepreneurs are born leaders. Leadership is often a learned skill. Hiring a business coach can be a good way to accomplish this. They can help you stay on track and not get too bogged down in the day-to-day business minutia. Get some advice on how to formulate your operation.
An entrepreneur's income is independent of their inputted time. This doesn't mean you can't sell your time or skills, but making a business of it is really just owning a job.

One Response to Do You Own a Business -- Or a Job?

  1. Anonymous says:

    Great article Brad. I couldn't agree more with your point about systemising your business. It's the real differentiator between building a business and owning a job.

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