At a certain point in your business building journey you reach a crossroads where you go from having created a nice little job for yourself, to wanting more.
This is a pivotal moment when you feel like you’ve outgrown your current role as Freelancer or Solopreneur who gets paid by the hour (or by the project) working mostly independently, to somebody who has dreams of being a business owner with a team of people and a vision for making a greater impact.
For that dream to become a reality, you must walk the intentional path from Solopreneur to Business Owner; there are two steppingstones along the way that you’ll need to know about.
Freelancing or starting off as a self-employed solopreneur is the single easiest way to start a new business. You can make a living doing that, setting your own hours, working from wherever you please, and picking and choosing the projects you like.
But, for some people that’s not enough. This was the case when my Creative Designer client, first approached me. She wanted to attract a higher-caliber of client, earn more income, and have a greater impact in the world.
For her to grow into being a business owner, she’d first have to stop thinking like a Freelancer, and start thinking like a CEO.
I often talk to my private coaching clients about the journey of the business owner, and how growing a business requires a combination of good business strategy and tactical implementation, plus continuous skill and mindset development.
As a business owner, developing your mindset is probably one of the most crucial drivers of success. Success is inevitable, as long as you work on your inner game as much as your outer game, and keep at it long enough.
When you change your mindset, your behaviour changes and then as a by-product, your results change.
Here are two steppingstones from Solopreneur to Business Owner that you’ll need to step over, and some behaviours to watch out for.
Ultimately, this journey is a call for you evolve from a Doer to a Leader.
THE DOER is the person who is actively working towards the goal in a hands-on way. Think of the doer as the mechanic (or technician); they are the one changing the oil, flushing the carburetor, and rotating the tires. They’re not thinking about how far the car has to travel or where the final destination is going to be; they are simply tuning up the car.
BEHAVIORS OF A DOER: attending too many meetings they don’t have to be in just so they can stay in the loop. They think they have all the answers. They think they are adding value by giving out answers and it makes them feel important and needed. Doers put out fires, and wear this s a badge of honour. They prevent failure and discomfort and see failure as a bad thing so they swoop in to save the day. Doers create a team of doers who all struggle with the same issues.
THE LEADER is the person that equips and empowers others to carry out the mission of the organization. They avoid getting caught up in the details and instead work on building, cultivating and encouraging their team. A leader is concerned with vision.
BEHAVIORS OF A LEADER: Leaders understand that too many meetings are unproductive. Meetings take up time you could spend developing and leading your people. Leaders delegate or delete every possible meeting from their calendars to create productive time. Leaders don’t give many answers, they ask questions. They trust their people to make their own decisions and come up with their own answers, that’s empowerment. Leaders make sure that their team has the proper resources so they can find the answers to their questions themselves. Leaders teach their employees how to put out their own fires. Leaders understand that failure leads to learning and ultimate success. They know it’s their job to lead their employees right to the edge of their comfort zone and then encourage them to step over. Leaders create a team of leaders who all understand what great leadership looks like and how to do it themselves.
This journey one of the hardest parts about growing a business, that nobody warns you about.
It’s nearly impossible to grow a sustainable and profitable business being in Doer mode all the time because you are always working IN the business and operating in short-term doing-mode (resulting in reactive rather than proactive behaviour, constantly having to put out fires, no time for holidays, working too many weekends, juggling too many balls, flat growth, inconsistent revenue, and more.) Doing-mode is a risky place to operate from for any length of time because it’s unsustainable. If you’re like me, you didn’t get into business to work more hours and have less freedom. But if your business feels like Groundhog Day, I assure you it doesn’t have to be that way.
Creating and prioritizing the time to work ON the business supports the journey from Doer to Leader. It also invites more of a long-term, growth perspective, so you can evaluate how you need to pivot with changes in the market, how to adjust your marketing and sales strategies, when to build your team and upgrade your operational systems, and move your business into a place of sustainable and profitable growth, which leads to increased joy, confidence, income and bottom line results.
When you’re ready to build a more sustainable and profitable business that truly gives you the freedom and fulfillment that you originally wanted when you first launched your venture, you may be interested in learning more about my Scale and Leverage Program. I created it with you in mind.
In the meantime, I invite you to think about which of the two steppingstones you are sitting on right now.
Drop by our online community at QYourBusinessSuccess.com and tell us what is one behaviour change that you can make today that will take you one step further on your journey to becoming an Elegant Leader. We’d love to show you some love and support your journey.
To your success,
p.s. Listen to the audio version of this blog on my podcast Q Your Business Success.