What’s the Difference Between Starting a Business vs. Creating a Job for Yourself?

There are important differences between starting a business and creating your own job.

It isn’t about taxes or your “corporate structure.” It isn’t about whether you offer a product or a service to Businesses or Consumers (B2B or B2C). It isn’t even about whether you’re a solopreneur or are building with a team.

Are you satisfied with doing your own work for others, then “rinse and repeat?” There are gazillions of very happy 1099s out there, and it is a valid path!

But it’s not a business. Starting your own business is not right for everyone.

If, on the other hand, you want your work to develop something – product, intellectual property (tools, programs, processes), people – that another business entity values enough to buy, yours may be a business.

Why does it matter?

It’s important because businesses and jobs have different destinations – outcomes – in mind. And different abilities to scale over time.

It’s about your longer term plans. (HINT: It’s why it’s important to have an exit plan from the git go. Though that plan WILL change, likely more than once over time.)

From Job to Business

One of my longest time clients ejected from great success as a corporate executive to be available for quality time with her growing kids. She was perfectly happy as a contractor getting hefty fees for her consulting.

Over time, as her stable of clients grew, she needed help serving their growing wishes. So, she subcontracted to other moms who had similar flexibility needs. Soon, she discovered that she had more to offer as her team grew. Quickly, more clients with increasing demands approached her for help. Before she knew it, she’d created an agency! And everything changed for her.

My Journey

When I first ejected from Corporate America 12 years ago, I too initially went that consulting route. As much as I enjoyed working with clients, I soon discovered that there were only so many hours in a day, and my “business model” wasn’t scalable. So I had to rethink – and reinvent – my business.

It is at the point when your job becomes a business that most people feel the strong need for additional skill training. Many have never managed people or projects other than their own before. It can feel daunting!

You’re also apt to feel very lonely. You can’t talk to your team candidly about leadership challenges. And your friends from corporate days just do NOT understand.

Your Tribe

When I left the corporate world, I did not know even one woman business owner. So, much of my first years was spent meeting and learning from them.

Meeting entrepreneurial peers wasn’t easy but it was life-changing. Once I had a tribe to learn with and from, my sense of my experiences being atypical, fear of failure, and feelings of being incapable lessened dramatically. These women business owners were great accountability partners, as they built me up but wouldn’t permit “pity parties.” They let me “learn all over them.” And they reported similar rewards!

So no matter where you are on your journey, rest assured there are friendly allies to accompany you and cheer you on.

You don’t have to go it alone.

For more about a learning community for women business owners, visit us at CEO School for Women™. And if you’re still figuring out your path, Corporate Refugees has courses, resources, and online communities for support.

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