by Debra Russell | Featured Contributor
Many WAHMs and solo-preneurs think of themselves as self-employed. Why? Because that’s what the IRS calls you. When you file a Schedule C and your income is 1099 and you are not incorporated or part of a partnership, then you are considered self-employed.
As I teach in my Business Management for the Creative Mind class, here is my definition of a person who is self-employed:
An employee with lousy pay, terrible benefits, and a maniac for a boss!
Instead, I recommend you think of yourself as a business owner. It doesn’t matter if the IRS thinks of you that way. It doesn’t matter if you’ve set up an LLC, S-Corp or whatever. It doesn’t even matter if you’ve registered a dba!
I want you, in your mind, to think of yourself as the owner of your business.
There are several advantages to thinking of yourself this way:
Stop thinking of yourself as the product – you’re the business owner, the product is the product.
When you think of yourself as self-employed, then you are the product! Your services, skills, and expertise becomes the product (even if you’re selling pies – they’re YOUR pies).
As a result, every job bid, every new concept, every marketing attempt becomes a measure and representation of your personal value. And your self-esteem and self-worth is now inextricably linked to every failure and success in your business.
As a result, you may find yourself unwilling to take risks, ask for the job, charge what you’re worth – because if the answer is “No” that means you’re not worth it!
If you’re the business owner, and the product is the product, you will be free to test ideas, try things, experiment and discover what will work for your business. Because every failure is just something that didn’t work. It’s not a measure of your value.
You create a business that can be expanded beyond your own capacity to run by yourself
When you’re self-employed, you do the work yourself; its your employment. When you’re a business owner, you can choose to hire other people to do the work – when you’re ready to. Most self-employed people are limited in the growth of their income by what they themselves have the ability, time and energy to accomplish.
Business Owners know that they can hire people with skills they don’t have (either as independent contractors or employees) and exponentially expand the hours in the day by increasing the number of people working for them.
You hold yourself in higher esteem
It’s fascinating to me, but I see it every day in my business coaching practice. You will stand up straighter and hold your chin up higher when you say, “I’m a business owner.” Try it out! Tell me if I’m wrong!
Now go back and say, “I’m self-employed.” See? Feel the slouch?
You can begin to build business systems
When you think of yourself as self-employed, you’re basically an employee. You show up, you do the work. Period. You likely don’t think about questions like:
- Is this the best way to approach this?
- Is there a faster, more efficient, effective way to do this?
- How can I design this activity so someone else can do this job as well, or better?
As Michael Gerber says in The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It (an absolute MUST READ), you must work on your business, not just in your business.
That concept has no meaning for a self-employed person. It only makes sense if you think as the business owner when it comes to your business.
Understanding this can absolutely set you free – expand your time, improve your efficiency and effectiveness, make your results duplicatable and therefore easier to sell, and so MUCH easier to delegate!
You build big picture goals and long term plans, strategies and tactics (as opposed to living gig-to-gig)
When you’re self-employed, you’re just looking for employment. What’s the next job, the next gig, the next paycheck. When you’re a business owner, you think about where your business will be in 1 year/3 years/5 years. You begin to make plans for how to take your business to those goals. What are the marketing methods, strategies and tactics? Where do you need to expand your capabilities?
When you’re self-employed, you might think about ways to expand your own skill set, but as a business owner, you can expand beyond your skill set because you can bring in other people to do the things you don’t want to do, are not trained to do (and don’t want to learn) or aren’t the best use of your time – as the business owner…
Resolve Today – You Are a Business Owner
It’s amazing, this simple change in mindset will make a profound difference in how you think about and do everything in your business.
Are you willing to accept this challenge? Please tell me in the comments how it affects you!
Debra Russell, Certified Results Coach, Owner of Artist’s EDGE , works with professionals in the Music Industry to help shape their success. As a business coach, Debra works with performers, songwriters/composers, venue owners, agents/managers, producers, engineers, and executives. In addition to working with private clients, Debra has delivered several innovative programs for entertainment industry trade conferences and organizations including NSAI, ArtsNorthWest, TAXI Road Rally, and West Coast Songwriter.
Debra Russell, Certified Business Coach, founder of Artist’s EDGE, http://Artists-EDGE.com, Certified Master Results Coach and Master NLP and Hypnosis Practitioner, uses her business knowledge and ability to facilitate change and growth to help small business owners create a prosperous and sustainable living doing what you love.
Debra specializes in small business and the Arts and Entertainment Industry and has delivered several innovative programs for entertainment industry trade conferences, Universities and Colleges and private organizations across the United States and in Europe and Australia.
As a fan and follower of SheOwnsIt.com, Debra is thrilled to offer women business owners her expertise in the day to day management of your small business and support in overcoming the challenges to success we all face as independent entrepreneurs.