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WORK-LIFE BALANCE

The True Test of a Business

Do you want to build a business or a job? Many entrepreneurs don't understand the difference.
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What's your top priority as a business owner?

I believe the first principle of business--the one that shapes every single decision you make from the moment you decide that a business of your own is something you truly wish to create--is that your business must be able to grow.

Seventy percent of all companies and 100 percent of home businesses are sole proprietorships. One person, or two, operate the business. That's all. These businesses are populated by owners working for a living. They are working at a job and nothing more. All they ever wanted to do was to create a job; to create control over their personal income; to create a place to work, a place to do what they know how to do. Or, if not that, to do something, anything, they can turn their labor and ideas into money. In short, they want to be self employed.

They are told that the idea of going out on their own is to do what they love. And once they do that, everything else will come their way.

Unfortunately, it isn't true.

Being self employed, and building a company are two very different things. And that's why most businesses fail ... because they aren't businesses at all.

The true test of a business is whether you--as the business owner--can step away and have it run without you. That should be your primary goal: to build a business large enough where you aren't the one doing the work. You have employees who do the work, and your job is to think about growing the business even bigger. Your top priority should be to get to that point, and to get there as quickly as possible.

So, decide. Do you want a job? Or do you want to build a business? Work for the sake of work is ultimately an exhausting enterprise. All pain, no gain. Working to build something that can then run itself can provide a lifestyle most would love, but few can ever achieve.

Don't worry so much about doing what you love--just love what you do. Fall in love with what you are building, and what it will do for you in the long run. In order for your business to thrive, it must become much more than a job like it is now... it must possess the ability to grow.

Last updated: Feb 21, 2013

MICHAEL E. GERBER | Columnist | Author of The E-Myth

Michael E. Gerber is a true legend in entrepreneurship, helping transform 70,000+ businesses in 145 countries over the past 25 years. Michael?s New York Times best-selling book, The E-Myth Revisited, has sold over 5,000,000 copies.

The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.



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