Guy Didn’t Mean Don’t Have a Vision or a Plan
With the start of the Perfect Virtual Manager, I’ve been talking a lot to bloggers. Even more interesting is that I’ve been not talking to a lot of them. I’ve noticed something about people who work outside of a traditional setting. We fall into two categories: freelancers and entrepreneurs. Some think they are one, and they’re really the other. Which one are you? Do you know that for sure?
Guy Kawasaki wrote a wonderful post in January called, Mantras Versus Missions. Thank you, Roger von Oech, for reminding me of it. You see, I think some folks do as Guy suggests — make a mantra — and unfortunately, they stop there. That’s not what Guy said to do. He was talking about replacing a mission statement with something more focused. His mantra was meant as a guiding force, not as a replacement for a business plan.
A person with fabulous skills and only a mantra is a freelancer not a solo entrepreneur.
The two think and work differently.
Do you know how to tell a freelancer from a solo entrepreneur?
Turn the page and I’ll show how.
How to Tell a Freelancer from a Solo Entrepreneur
In my conversations with bloggers who work alone, I found some distinct differences in the way they approach their work, in the way they talk about it, in the way that they relate to every part of it. I’ve found that two groups seem to stand out. I call the groups freelancers and solo entrepreneurs. Here’s how to tell the two groups apart.
- A freelancer is about the work. An entrepreneur is about the business.
- A freelancer is a doer. A freelancer knows the tactics. An entrepreneur is a negotiator, a visionary and a thinker. An entrepreneur builds strategy and is constantly testing it.
- A freelancer thinks the work is the business. An enterpreneur knows the business supports the work.
- A freelancer is disinterested in “business controls and necessities” — including thinking, budgets, invoices, business plans — that gets in the way of the “real” work. An entrepreneur understands that without those “business controls and necessities,” it’s not a business. It’s a job.
- A freelancer might want to grow a client base. An entrepreneur knows a business either grows or decays, and is constantly looking for ways to keep the growth managed and within reasonable risk parameters.
- A freelancer lives in the now with an eye to long term client relationships that might afford some security. An entreprenuer is looking to a vision of the business, now is a reflection of what the business will be.
- A freelancer often doesn’t invest in his or her own equipment, training, or help. Many freelancers don’t delegate low-level skills or tasks they don’t do well, because they think “poor,” rather than think investment. An entrepreneur knows that time is money, invests in future development and the business vision. An entrepreneur will pay for skills that he or she doesn’t have knowing that it is money well spent on quality and commitment.
- A freelancer works from day to day. An entrepreneur has a business plan.
Whether you work alone or in an enterprise, you probably think like one or the other. Did you find yourself in the group that you thought you would be? What is your opinion of the other? Both groups are necessary to make a business work. Looking deeper, we also need managers to bridge the gap between these two groups.
So, develop your mantra. Focus it well as Guy says, but don’t stay on the surface of his guidance or mine. Go deep. Make sure you know where you are and what you’re going for.
If you’re out on your own, or before you go there, are you a freelancer or a solo entrepreneur?
–ME “Liz” Strauss
If you think Liz can help with your business, your brand, or your blog, check out the Perfect Virtual Manager on the Work with Liz!! page in the sidebar.
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