Entrepreneurs are a unique breed of “animal”; they are typically highly motivated, independent, self-starters who believe they can do it bigger and better. This confidence sometimes accompanied by some real world experience makes them want to strike out on their own and start a business. The allure of being “free” and to no longer have a boss is exciting and fulfilling. The problem many would be entrepreneurs have is that they end up back at a job, only this time the hours are longer, the pay is sporadic, and the new boss always seems to be stressed out and won’t leave.
Well known speaker, trainer, and bestselling author Seth Godin made a statement during a training conference that really hit home for many in attendance who were unsure if they were really entrepreneurs, he stated “Consultants Are Always Freelancers”. This may be upsetting to some and a relief to others to understand what they actually do.
Self employed people go to work, maybe not daily or from a traditional office setting, but they still go to work and perform “labor” for compensation. Pure entrepreneurship is about creating a business entity apart from you; like a 3rd party that can stand alone and operate without the owner actually doing work.
Another powerful message that Seth made during the conference is “One of myth’s we tell ourselves as entrepreneurs is that our business cannot run without us”. If you don’t believe that statement is true here are a few examples to support it: Sam Walton, Ray Kroc, and Steve Jobs are all dead, yet Wal-Mart, McDonalds, and Apple are still thriving and growing. If your business is “John the Business Consultant” and John dies, in most cases the business is buried along with John. See the difference?
Being self-employed works for some and can be a great way to earn a living. Seth even mentioned during the conference that at various points of his career he needed to take on freelance work to support the business he was building at the time. Entrepreneurs and self-employed people both have to work, the biggest difference is that at some point the entrepreneurs business begins to grow and he starts working less if he installed good systems. His continued growth means that he no longer has to go to work in his business; he has options and time freedom to pursue other interests.
Growth as a self-employed person generally means selling more time and working harder to keep up with the growth; this unfortunately leads to “burn out” and sometimes worst consequences for self-employed individuals. If your goal in becoming an entrepreneur is truly the pursuit of time and financial freedom you have to evaluate your business model and ask yourself: Can this business run without me? If the answer is no than it’s time to look at adding systems and business tools that can transform your “personal job” into a streamlined business that would continue to run smoothly even if you went away for months at a time. It’s possible to make your business run without you, but you have to ready, willing, and able to release some control and allow the systems to work on your behalf.