Addressing the root cause of why businesses succeed or fail is the beginning of real success. Businesses suck because of low sales and thrive because of high sales. Cash flow is the lifeblood of any business. Anything else is secondary. Even the purpose of the business, which is to create and keep customers, comes after the daily need to earn a living. Understanding this very early on in your journey of transitioning from being an employee to an entrepreneur, will make a lot of difference. The first challenge is how you will fund your own business. Figuring out “how” is crucial. The majority choose the easiest path of finding investors and taking out loans. The minority sell their freelance services based on the expertise that they have and make money that will fund their coming product-based business.
Waves of technological change engulf everything and render us confused. The world of work is different than it was a decade ago. Workplace is undergoing sweeping changes. Jobs are no longer sustainable, or even secure. The average career in US, for example, lasts a little over four years or so. No employee expects to spend a lifetime in a single corporation anymore. Americans typically work twelve jobs between entering the workforce and retiring. The corporate safety net of the industrial revolution is no longer viable in today’s economy.
The adverse side of this traumatic currency is an opportunity to take charge of our lives. Don’t expect any corporation, or even your government to take care of you. Be the owner and chairman of your own life. The best way to start is to transition from being an employee to an employer, then eventually to be an entrepreneur. After making this decision, hold a clear vision of where you want to be. Then, work backwards and start from now by leveraging your skills to bring you money. Forget about depending on others’ money to fund you, for you won’t be in control. Work as a freelancer in the field you are very good at whether it is copywriting, web development or whatever skill you excel at. Next, build freelance business around this skill. You can come up with your own products and learn acquiring new skills that help you become an entrepreneur.
Seth Godin is best-selling author of many business books including his revolutionary book, Permission Marketing. At the outset of his career, he co-founded Yoyodyne, a unique marketing service company, and he ended up selling this company to Yahoo in 1998 for $30 million. During that time, he launched another Web company called Squidoo, a company that was later acquired in 2014 by Hub Pages. He confesses that his success at the beginning of his career was due to hustling more than most people in a way that indicated he was not prepared to give up.
Having started his career as a freelancer then as an entrepreneur, Seth has become an authority of the how to differentiate between the two. He kept on saying that, “what I did as an entrepreneur is different than what I did as a freelancer.” He elaborates that freelancers get paid when they work. A freelancer is a technician available to the one who needs the service. The entrepreneur understands that being a talented technician is only part of the business puzzle. The other parts of the puzzle the entrepreneur got to take care of are things like finding the right people, scaling up the business, managing cash flow and the like. Still, freelancing is the best way to gain experience in running your own business on a small scale before managing the other disciplines of running the business.
To survive the early stage of transitioning from being an employee to an employer, making sales should be your prime goal. It is sales that funds and sustains your life and your business. The best way to achieve sales in this survival stage is to freelance your skills to bring you money and prepare you for proceeding in the direction of becoming an entrepreneur.