Are you creating a business or a J.O.B?

Are You Creating a Job or a Business?

Picture three would-be entrepreneurs, each signing up for a seminar on Starting Your Own Business.

· The first one thinks, “Great. I’d love to leave my job and work for myself. I’d rather work hard and be my own boss, even if it’s risky.”

· Another one smiles, as he imagines the endless possibility of being able to pursue his hobby as a business. “I could take the early retirement my company is offering, and make a little extra money doing something I enjoy.”

· The last one envisions something entirely different. She’s been working on a new invention. She thinks to herself, “If I can get the funding, I know I can build a business that will make millions of dollars.”

Each of these entrepreneurs might use the same words, but they have quite different concepts in mind when they say, “I want to start my own business.”

My experience

When I first went to work for myself 12 years ago, I fell into the first category. Like most self-employed individuals, I was looking for a way to be my own boss, to make sufficient income to support myself, and to have interesting work to do. But I didn’t want to have any employees or added responsibilities. It worked. For well over a decade, I provided consulting services as a self-employed individual. I had independence, interesting clients, challenging work. I worked hard, but also had enough spare time. I made enough money to support myself. But eventually, I realized that, as a consultant, I was selling my time, not leveraging my work into more lasting value. The minute I stopped working, the money stopped.

That’s when I decided to start a different kind of business, not just have a job. I wanted something of lasting value not just current income.

The Four types of Businesses

Based on two primary factors — the role of the business for the entrepreneur and their long-term plans for the business — I developed a set of four classifications to describe the different scale and scope of businesses. These are:

  1. Additional Activity: Entrepreneurs who are launching an “Additional Activity” business have additional sources of income or can survive on very little income. These fortunate entrepreneurs are able to choose which business to start based primarily on how it meets their personal goals, not their financial requirements.
  2. One Man/Woman Band: The largest group of businesses falls into the classification of “One Man/Woman Band” companies. These are simply one-person businesses that provide critical income for only the entrepreneur. You know many people who have One Man/Woman Band businesses — consultants, hair dressers, construction workers, doctors, Lawyers, and on and on.
  3. Career Business: Overwhelmingly, the majority of businesses with employees fall into the category of “Career Business.” By “Career,” I don’t mean that they have gone to school to do this, although I certainly wouldn’t blame them if they did. Instead, what I mean by “Career Business,” is that the goals of the founders/owners for the business are fairly well balanced: the business is designed to be a career for the owner, and it provides jobs for others. The business provides current income and may be capable of providing lasting value. The business is big enough to support growth but small enough for the owner to be able to control it. You deal with “Career Businesses” every day. They generally have two to 25 employees, in all kinds of industries.
  4. Visionary: These are the businesses that get all the press — the exciting, sexy, risky new businesses that aspire to great heights. The entrepreneurs who starts a “Visionary” business hopes to grow huge and one day sell the business or go public. They require greater amounts of money to fund. Obviously, only a very small number of companies succeed as Visionary businesses. Many fail completely; others are revised into more manageable, career businesses.

Remember, having a bigger business isn’t the right choice for everyone. When I decided to change my “One Man/Woman Band” company into a “Career Business”, it didn’t solve anything, my problems and my debts increased, and my income and spare time decreased.

So find the right kind of business for you and your needs and lifestyle. And remember, your goals may change over time — just as mine did.

  • Posted on: October 2nd, 2008
  • Category: Business
  1. Redfox RebatesNo Gravatar said on October 2nd, 2008 at 12:52 pm

    I kept waiting for you to say that we all needed to start huge businesses (Visionary); but I’m glad you didnt. I work with business owners everday, and they are very distinct in their goals and aspirations. I think you hit the “nail on the head” saying that each person needs to find the right business for themselves.

  2. Andy - Mr MultiVarNo Gravatar said on October 4th, 2008 at 6:07 am

    I fall into the Additional Activity category I think. I quit my career to build on my hobby of making money online. If I had to fall back on the career, I would go back as contractor to make a lot of money quickly doing something I don’t enjoy but it would fund another few months working on the business escape plan.

    Now I am definitely building a business by building online assets in the form of websites that get traffic, creating code and documents that can be sold etc. and there is money coming in from the web. Not like the corporate pay and perks, but business income that can be built on.

    At the moment, most of my web income is from Adsense and some from affiliate programs to the tune of 1/10th of full time western income but it is a start. And I bolster this with investment income.

    I also minimised my cost of living to an extreme by emigrating to another country :-)

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