Building a Business vs. Building a Job

This was originally posted in August 2011 but it is just as valid then as it is today.

If you are reading this, you are probably a business owner or someone interested in “Building a Business” or being their own boss. I’m going to give you a quick distinction that can change the way you think about this thing called a business. I only recently made this distinction and it has totally changed the way I think of business.

Most entrepreneur, or people that “Start a Business” don’t really have a business they have a job. How many entrepreneurs do you know that work 60–80 hour weeks on a consistent basis? Are you one of those? It seems that this is the case in many small companies especially in this tough economy. Most people start a business the wrong way and end up with a job that if they are not there for an extend period of time it will cease to exist. The entrepreneurs forget to build that management team, they place way too much responsibility on themselves which is not sustainable in the long term, and forget to put in the correct systems and process to ensure that it is sustainable, scalable, and efficient.

This happens unconsciously, mostly out of necessity to get ahead. But it is not sustainable and the “Business” will fail because one did not build the right support systems

I’m not saying that building a job is wrong it works for many people and some people are not interested in owning a business. They don’t care if it doesn’t scale because they are comfortable with where they are. But some people are under the illusion that it is the same thing as building a business and it isn’t. It takes a completely different mindset to build a business.

Most entrepreneurs want to build a business yet they don’t understand what it takes to build one. They built a job, because it’s easier, and often necessary. But then they can’t get out of their own trap. I guess that this keeps many entrepreneurs up at night and they don’t even understand it. This is the reason why they are working 80hrs a week. I’ve personally experienced this very close to home and I’m glad I made this distinction now and not later because I don’t want a job I want a business I don’t want to be trapped by my own creation I want my creation to work for me.

Yes, there is a lot of hard work at first, and you will have to build multiple jobs, but make them ones that others can accomplish, not just the entrepreneur. When building a business, you should be able to see the light at the end of the tunnel if not be careful because it might have caved in and you’re going to have to dig yourself out. Take the time, plan for both the long and the short-term. Be the clock-builder not the time teller.

Notes — More on this can be found in a great book I read called Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies.