While listening to Seth Godin recently, a thought rang true with me about an important distinction to be made as a business owner: Are you an Entrepreneur or a Freelancer?

The Freelancer Ship: Freelancers are hired for work they do themselves.  They are the identity of the business.  If not for them, the business doesn’t exist.

The Entrepreneur Ship: Entrepreneurs find or train people to do the hands on work so they can focus on marketing and growing their business.

There isn’t one ship better than another – they’re just different.

For example, if you own a restaurant, your business is cruising on the Entrepreneur Ship. You’ve trained someone to cook the food the way you want it cooked and greet, serve and clean the way you want it done.  People still eat at the restaurant even on days when you’re not there. They like what your business offers whether you’re there or not.  These are businesses that are able to easily change ownership hands in the future without losing substantial numbers of clients.

If you’re a musician or public speaker for example, your business is on theFreelancer Ship –  you’re the one who actually shows up and does the work. Could you image going to hear your favourite band in concert and arriving to find out that they’ve made a “smart business move”, booked themselves in 5 cities that night and paid a local band to cover their songs at each venue for a reduced rate while they stay at the office and make a profit? Freelancers are being paid to complete the work themselves.

The challenge is if you need to be on one ship, but you’ve built your business (and mindsets) to support the other.

If Mark Zuckerburg was still the only person writing code at Facebook, would it have grown for a few billion members? He’s on the Entrepreneur Ship.

If Jim Treliving was still working in the kitchen making pizza because he insisted he was the only one who could shred cheese the right way, would there be Boston Pizza locations all across Canada? Entrepreneur Ship.

If the Beatles had never written or performed their own music, just played what they already heard on the radio or let other people perform the music for them, where would Rock N Roll be? Freelancing Ship.

If (insert your name here) is (a freelancer / an entrepreneur).  If he/she rides the same ship as yesterday or last week or last year will (your business or organization) continue to grow to it’s potential?

Depending how you answer, maybe it’s time to jump ship… Make that decision sooner than later.

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