I’ve been wondering about this. Some of you are content to have a job, essentially, where you can be your own boss. That’s so critically important that you’ll take on more risk, make less money, and do many things that you don’t like (managing people?).
It doesn’t have to be that way, though. Nor does one overriding goal have to stomp the life out of the other goals that are important to you. However you express that hope for your business, I’d like to suggest that the hope is best comprised of a healthy balance between multiple things that are important to you. Here’s a stab at how you might phrase this in one single sentence, comprised of multiple themes:
- This entrepreneurial enterprise will be successful if
- we move the needle on behalf of respectful clients who align with our mission,
- willingly paying a price premium for our hard-won, non-interchangeable expertise,
- letting us direct the process as experts who have found the most effective way to create change, all the while
- keeping us significantly engaged to keep learning and growing.
When you search with a browser or attend a conference or engage an advisor or enlist in training, the goal should always be to enhance whatever that statement is for yourself. This business needs to serve you, and if all you’re doing is feeding a machine, it’s time to stop and fashion your own statement and then test all your other decisions based on how they contribute to your balanced goal.
Pretend that you’re invited to give an 18-minute talk at TED, and the person introducing you says: “Next we welcome [principal] of [creative firm], a leading expert on [your positioning].” How would you fill in that last blank? It’s the clients and environment I’ve described above that will yield a brilliant talk, and you owe it to yourself to make every relationship count.
Personally, I’d rather live in a van by the river any more than work with a client who isn’t a good fit. How about you?