Category Archives for "Growing Your Business"

Own a Business or Owned by a Business? The difference is everything.

I recently talked with a very well paid business analyst who works for a billion-dollar company. He makes good money and has a stable career path. But he wants more. He wants to be self-employed. 

Being self-employed is great. You only have to work half-days. You can pick whichever twelve-hours you want.

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His comfortable salary and quarterly bonuses are nice. But he wants more. He reviews financials for a living, and believes he can vet a business and make a great purchase.

He's right, but in a way that's all wrong.

You see, he keeps trending toward businesses that will own him rather than be owned by him. This is a very common mistake made by the self-employed. I can recognize this mistake because it's one I've made myself. 

The self-employed trap regularly happens to very smart people. They seek freedom. They want to be self-supporting. But they end up designing a job for themselves where they are only called "boss". THE REAL BOSS IS THE BUSINESS. And it is a vicious taskmaster. 

Self-employed and wondering if you're owned by your business? Here are some signs that you're only called boss:

  • You are the business. When customers think of your business, they think of you. And they count on you to deliver the goods.
  • You're still trading hours for dollars. When you stop, the business stops. When you're not working, the revenue stops flowing.
  • It's feast or famine. You work non-stop while contracts last and you're out of work when they end. 
  • You're scared to say no. Turning down a job or firing a customer is terrifying. You never know when the work will end.
  • You most likely do your own bookkeeping. Lack financial controls and accounting processes.
  • Cash flow feels like a roller coaster ride and it's the end of the year before you know if you've made a profit.
  • Most of your time is spent working in the business. You've got almost no energy to work on the business.

Recognize any of these symptoms of the self-employed? If you're happy with your current lot, don't change. But, if you're ready to become the real boss, use these three steps to stop being owned by your business.

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