Are you self-employed or are you a business owner? Did you leave a corporate job only to find that you?re working harder than ever ? with very little time and just enough money to live on? Caution - you?re probably self-employed! Here?s the thing. If you started your company to have a little extra money and work a ?little? weekly, this article isn?t for you.
Let me explain. The self-employed have done one thing for themselves -- created a job with a paycheck, a job with the burden of a lot of extra jobs, and taxes and the stress of being the boss. On the plus side, they've created a system that includes tax deductions -- Whoopee!
Most people I know who?ve gone into business for themselves intended to become business owners and not just trade a corporate box of too-much-work-too-little-pay for a separate, but equal, box of their own devising!
Unfortunately, some of them have become trapped in self-employment and haven?t made the ?jump? to business owner.
Face it ? the self-employed are slaves to their businesses, because no one is working for or with them. Many go from one client to another, or they have only one big client and a few little ones. As they work, they keep reinventing the wheel because they don't have long-term plans or systems in place.
They can't take days off, let alone take a vacation! The words they use -- often, and to anyone who will listen -- are "overwhelmed," "tired," and "have no time for that." (For more on the self-employed versus the business owner, read the book my clients all read -- "Rich Dad, Poor Dad" by Robert T. Kiyosaki and Sharon L. Lechter.)
Go All the Way -- to Business Owner!
Business owners, on the other hand, give themselves the gifts of time and self-value, while they give others one of the most important gifts they can give ? a paycheck. And when the vision they had for their business becomes real, they?re then able to give the gift of donations, time, and philanthropy.
Business owners learn and appreciate the importance of strategic, tactical, and operational planning. (Sometimes they learn this lesson the hard way, sometimes the easy way!) They monitor their marketing activities.
They know exactly what is unique about their business and what they bring to it that adds to its unique quality - plus they know who their ideal client is. They run their business like the "big corporate boys," but without all the hassle -- or lawsuits!
If you've been in business a while, you might think you're no longer self-employed or running a hobby. Beware ? length of time is not an indicator of being in business. Over the years, only 2 out of more than 100 clients who thought they were in business were really "running" a business. The rest had businesses stuck in "infancy."
The amount of money you make also doesn?t determine whether you have a business or not. I remember a businesswoman named Angela (not her real name), who owned a company with 19 employees and earnings of $8 million. After an hour's consultation, she asked me what I thought was keeping her company from making as much money as she knew it could. My answer: She was running a hobby.
That didn?t go over well with Angela, but I asked her to read "The E-Myth Revisited" (another must-read business book). Two weeks later, Angela called to start working on her first system -- her company's business and marketing plans. Eventually, four others in her company created plans for their departments, and nine months later, Angela was working one day a month (yes, per month), and the income for her company was $14 million. So just because you?re making money doesn?t mean you?re running a well-oiled business machine!
Those who ?shift? to the business owner's frame of mind take steps to emulate what successful and practical business owners do:
--They create simple business, marketing, and financial plans for their business and then turn those plans into gauges to manage their performance.
--They find alliances to bring in extra income.
--They network at least twice a week.
--They create their ideal client profile and market only to their ideal clients.
--They package their knowledge -- turning it into classes, articles, CDs, etc. that bring extra income and recognition.
--They know their "rack rate" and stop giving away time and business.
AND they hire employees, contractors or consultants to do what they don't enjoy doing, eventually handing over even the tasks they do enjoy.
Why? Because they want the time to pursue other goals. So, if necessary, they barter to get the process started.
Why do they hire help? Take a really good look at the list on below. You will see that there is NO WAY you can do everything yourself.
Who in their right mind (or left one, for that matter?) could do ALL these jobs correctly and accurately -- day in and day out? But most people who call themselves business owners sure do try!
Which of these are you doing that you need to find someone else to do?
Human Services Manager
Customer Service Rep
Quality Control Manager
R & D Team
Unbiased Business Advisor
At a minimum, assistants to all the managers and specialists above
If you think you can't yet afford to hire consultants or employees to help you, consider this. What is your usual hourly rate? Let's say it's $100. What tasks are you currently doing that you can hire someone else to do at less than $50 per hour? Bookkeeping? Filing? Housecleaning? Database management? What else? Those are the tasks you could be outsourcing.
Still think you're unable to hire help? Focus on your business. Look at the critical initiatives that will help your business grow. Seriously consider creating your one-year business and marketing plans now so you'll be able to hire some much needed help soon. It will put you on the path to being a successful business owner sooner rather than later ? and isn?t that what you want?
© 2006 Maria Marsala, Business & Marketing Strategist http://www.ElevatingYourBusiness.com
Let me help you substantially grow your financial advisory business or nonprofit with P.E.P. Increase productivity, efficiency, and profit.
Learn more and get free tips at http://www.ElevatingYourBusiness.com