For most of us, work is a fact of life. You’ve got to pay your bills, support your family, and keep a roof over your head. Unless you’re independently wealthy, you’ve got to get up in the morning, grab a cup of coffee, and head to the office to make things happen.
But, for ambitious entrepreneurs or small business owners, you don’t just have to work, you need to—you want to. Creating something out of nothing is your passion. You want to see your business grow and pay dividends to you, your investors, and your employees.
So, you strike out on your own. Maybe you open a shop, develop a new technology, or work as a coach, helping people to be their best. Well, pretty soon you just might find that you’re putting in even more hours at the office and spending even less time with the people you love. At that point, you need to ask yourself: “Do I really have a business…or do I have a job?”
There’s a difference, and it’s an important one.
Turning Your Job Into a Business
To put it simply, if you can’t take a month off to travel to Italy (or to write the Great American Novel or do some other time-intensive activity), you’ve got a job. That means you need to be there day in and day out to keep your business running, and things can’t function without you. If, on the other hand, you’ve developed systems and hired the right people to execute the plans you’ve put in place—without you looking over their shoulders—you’ve got a business.
When I started my first company—one that I owned for 18 years—I thought I was out of the grind of a job. After all, I owned my own business, right? I could show up in jeans and a T-shirt if I wanted to, and I didn’t have a boss micromanaging my every move. But, something was missing. Sure, my company was successful, but after nine years I realized that I still had a job, not a business. My stress level was still high, and I hadn’t made myself any happier than if I had a regular job. So I made some changes, which resulted in my next nine years at that company being vastly different—and all for the better.
Do you want to make the shift from job to business and realize your dreams of independence? Here are five steps to help get you there:
1. Make a plan. You’ve got to be strategic about creating a business, and once you’ve created a plan, you need to use it. It’s best if you can define your priorities by breaking them down into daily, weekly, monthly, and quarterly activities. Figure out where you are as a company right now, where you want to go, and how you want to get there.
2. Surround yourself with the best. If you think you can go it alone and not end up having a “job,” you’re mistaken. You’ve got to be intentional about surrounding yourself with great people. Use a hiring strategy to ensure you’ve got “A-players” on your team, and then make sure to provide the proper guidance and training necessary for your A-players to succeed, and work independently.