Have you created a Job or a Business?

When owning and running a small publishing business, it’s important to distinguish whether you have created a job for yourself or whether you have and are creating a business. There is no problem with either as long as you are clear about your vision and don’t get stuck with a job when you really want to have a business. The real difference between business owners and the self-employed is in the mind set. Here are some of the most important things that they think and do:

A business owner uses income to develop capital

To the self-employed, income is the whole point, as they need it to live. To the business owner profit (and cash flow) is a resource for reinvesting in the business and growing the concern. It is not that income doesn’t matter to a business– it’s what is done with it that’s different.

A business owner works on the business rather than in it

The self-employed are likely to be busy working every hour to meet deadlines and deliver services related to the publishing they’re in. The business owner, by contrast, is focused on building an enterprise that can run without the owner – a business with staff, a place with structure, systems and processes, a concern with clients and customers who don’t relate only to the owner. In short the business owner is building something which is independent and ultimately saleable.

A business owner has a plan for the business

The self-employed are seeking income and security while the business owner, has a plan for what the business (however small at inception) could become. They are already thinking about the eventual nature of their business, how it could grow, who might ultimately buy it (or manage it) and how it would be distinctive.

A business owner develops goodwill

The self-employed are usually much too busy doing their work to focus on where they are headed. The business owner on the other hand knows that ultimately a great deal of the wealth they generate will come from goodwill: the intangibles that belong to the business.

A business owner is seeking appropriate returns

Business owners are looking for much more than a wage: they are seeking a return on their investment commensurate with the capital, skill and time they have invested in it.

A business owner wears a strategic hat

The self-employed person thinks like an employee and often regards administration, management and finding new customers as interruptions to the work they have to do. Business owners, on the other hand, are thinking about the leadership and management of the business and the development of capital. One is tactical in outlook: ‘Where is my work coming from today and what will I get from it?’ The other, the Business owner, is strategic and thinking longer term about what the business needs to do to thrive.


Extracted from ‘Don’t Get A Job, Build A Business’, by Joanne Hession and Joan Baker