Are You Building a Business or Owning a Job.
It was back in the 80s when I started my 1st business. I had several years of graphic design experience. I had taught myself and mastered the art of Desktop publishing, and I had reached the top of my pay scale. My expenses kept rising to be just beyond my income. I needed to do something different.
It was 1987; I took my tax return, baught a new computer some software and was ready to go -- or so I thought. I had what I thought was a great idea, but I had no Idea what starting a buisness really entailed. Instead of the team that I was part of with my former employer, I was now on my own. Rather than having a single job, I was now wearing multiple hats! The bottom line was that I was working harder and more hours for much less money! Oh, speaking about money -- who knew that the startup expenses were just the tip of the iceberg. The bottom line is that I was not prepared in the least to start or run a successful business. Growing up in Southern California the mantra was 'finish high school and college, learn a skill, and get a job." No one ever told me to 'go to school and learn how to start your own business.'
With unemployment rates at unprecedented levels, more and more Americans are finding the best path to a new job is creating it themselves. As a result, we’re seeing an increase in the number of self-employed individuals. Whether you label them as consultants, independent contractors, or freelancers, they are in business for themselves and by themselves.
But I have to ask myself, “Have these people really started a business?” I would argue that they have not. There is a difference between creating a job for yourself and starting a business. When you create a job for yourself, once you stop doing what you are doing, the business — or income — stops too. By contrast, when you establish a business, the company eventually becomes bigger than you alone and can survive without your daily contributions.
The MYTOP theory.
MYTOP stands for Multiply Yourself Through Other People. In order to build a sustainable business, your service or product offering needs to be easily taught to and followed by others. Otherwise, you will always be “the business.”
At this point in my life, I own and operate two companies: Diabetes and Weight Loss Network and Lion's Share Network. Diabetes and Weight Loss Network is a Health Coaching company where I assist people who have weight loss and health goals. It’s a business I launched because I have a passion for for helping others do what I did -- lose weight and reverse diabetes. This business will never be a sustainable business model because without me, there is no product.
However, Lion's Share Network is a company I've launched that has the operational processes in place to become a sustainable business with a clear exit strategy. My partners and I wanted to build something with value beyond the our individual efforts. So today, Lion's Share Network is growing organization supported by a team of talented individuals who know how to duplicate my efforts, expanding our efforts into our target market — with or without my day-to-day operational involvement.
Why is this distinction so critical? Because building a business is hard work. It’s a major commitment of your time, financial resources, and intellectual capital. If you are “the business,” when you want to retire or sell the company, it will have little if any value. Without you, there is no business.
Conversely, a business organization that’s functional without you has ongoing value. Your exit strategy may be to pass your company on to your heirs. I’m seeing many businesses continuing with second- and third-generation ownership. Another strategy is to develop your business around a product or service that offers long-term residual income. In this scenario you are able to develop and pass along not just a business, but, a legacy
Either way, it is your choice. You can choose to own your own job or take your efforts to a higher level. Some people are happy with a consistent income stream and don’t want to grow their business beyond that point. However, it’s important to recognize the limitations of that decision early in your business development. I’ve met many dissatisfied entrepreneurs who were unable to sell their businesses or practices because they allowed themselves to become the business.