As an individual we are like a company. That’s one reason why I love to read business books: there are a lot of business ideas that can be applied at individual level.

But seeing ourselves as a company is not easy. It requires a new mindset and a new way to treat ourselves. If you do that, however, there is a clear advantage waiting for you: you will thrive in globalization.

Globalization poses the threat that our skills will be commoditized and our jobs get moved overseas. By seeing yourself as a company, you will treat yourself professionally – just like companies do – which make you ready to face such challenges. You will be a free agent that is not dependent on an employer.

I came to this realization when I read Thomas Friedman’s book The World is Flat. In it, he wrote that we now live in globalization 3.0. In globalization 1.0 (at the beginning of the 20th century), the main players were countries. In globalization 2.0 (1989-2000), the main players were multinational companies. But in globalization 3.0 (2000-now), the main players are empowered individuals. Thanks to technologies such as the Internet, globalization 3.0 allows individuals to do much more. For instance, it’s now possible for them to sell their products and services to worldwide customers, something that previously could only be done by companies.

That’s why I believe seeing ourselves as companies is crucial. It may make the difference between being a winner and a victim.

Here some things you should do to make yourself your own company:

1. Think of your employer as your customer

If you now work for a company, the first thing you should change is your mindset. You are not an employee of the company. Instead, the company is a customer of yours. You are your own independent company, and your employer is just one customer that wants to consume the value you produce. Having this mindset will help you see things differently.

2. Take responsibility

Since you are your own company, you must take responsibility for your career. When something bad happens, do not blame outside factors such as your employer or the economy. You are responsible for yourself.

3. Find your core competences

Nowadays companies can only thrive if they focus on doing the few things that they do best. There is no way they can excel in everything. More likely, trying to do that will only waste valuable resources.

So find your core competences. A good clue to find them is your passions. You can read more about it on my career tips article.

After you find your core competences, move your resources (time, money, and energy) to hone them and bring them to the next level.

4. Outsource things outside of your core competences

For things outside of your core competences, you should outsource them to someone else who can do it either better or cheaper than you. You can do that by hiring someone or using virtual assistant. Another way to do that is by using other people’s works and customizing them to meet your needs. For instance, you can use and customize someone else’s web template.

5. Find your mission

I know it’s easier said than done, but you must have a mission if you want to succeed, and – the book Built to Last suggests – it should be something higher than money. Find what matters to you and start from there.

6. Create your one-liner

After finding your life mission, you should create a one-liner out of it. The one-liner summarizes your mission in a concise form – ten words or less. It will make it easier for you to communicate your mission to other people.

7. Build your personal brand

Your brand is the promise of the value people will get when they come to you. The stronger your brand, the easier you can sell your products and services. So learn the laws of personal branding and start building your personal brand.

8. Diversify your customer base

No healthy company has only one customer. You should have many customers so that when something happens to one of them, the impact will be minimal.

If you are an employee with no other source of income, then you have only one customer: your employer. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket; you should diversify and find new customers. It usually means that you should have your own side-business. Or, if you already have a business, it means that you should find new income streams to avoid dependency on only one income stream.

9. Plan your moves

No good company works without plan. Most likely they will only work on the wrong things or work the wrong way. So plan your moves. Set your goals and outline the strategies to achieve them.

10. Record your financial activities

Do you know of a company that doesn’t have accounting? I don’t. So, if you want to be a company, it’s essential to record your financial activities: all your income, expenses, and investment. You can use software like Microsoft Money or Quicken, or use online applications like Wesabe and Mint. Just be sure that you have a way to see your financial situation instantly.

***

You can add more steps to these, but these 10 steps are the essential ones. Start doing them and you are on your way to have a healthy company called You.


Categories: Finance, Thinking, Working

Please use your real name and note that I reserve the right to delete inappropriate comments.

  • http://cuberules.com Scot Herrick

    This is a good perspective.

    Most have written that individuals should treat themselves as consultants or independent contractors and have that mind set.

    But companies exist for a reason and that extra push for an individual as a company is more aggressive than the passive “consultant.”

    Good post.

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  • http://www.aromahand.com aromahand

    This is a great post. I am a company as well and am diversified and constantly creating new products to sell online, etc. The entrepreneur today is empowered and has infinite opportunity to pursue their dreams! Take care, Brad

  • http://www.game-changer.net Jorge

    I completelly agree with your analogy of us being like companies. I especially like number 5 in that each and everyone of us has a purpose, a mission without a purpose will only be written in paper. What is needed is a deep commitment to purpose to make a difference in whatever it is you do.

    check out this link from strategy-business.

    http://www.strategy-business.com/press/article/05405?pg=0

  • http://cultivatingthemind.blogspot.com Martin

    I agree with your analogy but would make a distinction, that our professional lives are like companies. The personal life has the added dimension of emotions.

  • http://every1dreams.blogspot.com Brian

    Hi all,

    I’m calling out for help from people interested in the law of attraction or personal development. I know many people have vision boards and big dreams. Here is my dream…

    I want to collect dreams. Dreams of anything. Actual dreams when you sleep, or dreams of where you want to be in 5 years, what you want right this instance, dreams of career, family, relationships, money, life. Anything. I want to leave it open-ended just as a “secret” can be. A chance for us to share our goals, our desires, our dreams. If you have a vision board that’s already a great start. If you have a secret that is full of hope and love, then you fit right in.

    It is a combination of 43 things, Post Secret and a chance to make our dreams come alive in picture form. Feel free to write stories or captions. I would love to see anything your creative mind has to offer.

    So here’s the bottom line,
    Illustrate your dreams (passions, goals, desires, dreams when you sleep, stories and more) how you see best and please send them to every1dreams@gmail.com. (will be kept anonymous unless requested otherwise)

    My dream can be found at the site of Every1 Dreams
    http://every1dreams.blogspot.com

    Thanks so much,

    This means the world to me!

    Brian Wu

  • http://www.lifeoptimizer.org Donald Latumahina

    Thanks for your comments, everyone! My Internet connection was down for more than 24 hours which is why I can only reply to your comments now.

    Scot,
    Yes, having the mindset of a company is more aggressive than consultant. One difference, in my opinion, is the way we work. As a company we aim to create a system that can run by itself. As a consultant, we need to be actively involved in every project.

    Brad,
    I’m glad to hear that you are already a company. I agree with you that we now have practically infinite opportunities. It’s up to us to seize them.

    Jorge,
    Deep commitment to a purpose is indeed important. If the purpose matters to us, it should be easier to commit to it.

    Martin,
    I agree, we are like a company in the context of professional life. Though there are some similarities, I don’t think that way for my personal life.

    Brian,
    Interesting project. My dreams are related to my mission: “Helping people live life to the fullest”.

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  • http://www.stanleybronstein.com Mr Positioning (Stanley Bronstein)

    You are SO right with this one.’

    I ran into 2 or 3 people who emphasized this point while I interviewed more than 80 highly successful individuals in conjunction with my soon to be released third book.

    One gentleman in Hawaii who manages one of the largest appliance parts companies tells this to ALL of his employees. You may get your paycheck from this company, but you should think of yourself as a company of one. Do the right things. Treat your customers well and good things will happen.

    Take care

    Mr Positioning (Stanley F. Bronstein, Atty, CPA, Author and Professional Speaker)

  • http://thrillingheroics.com Cody McKibben

    This is a great post, Donald. I appreciate the reference to Tom Friedman’s The World is Flat. I listened to the audiobook some time ago, but are there any other resources you can recommend that talk about his concept of gobalization “3.0″ in further detail? I love that idea…

    Cheers!

  • http://www.pathstoreality.com/ LL

    Warren Buffett has good insights how he treats and runs his businesses in his Owner’s manual: http://www.berkshirehathaway.com/ownman.pdf .

    Although our form is corporate, our attitude is partnership.

    Once I had some fun with this company and business jargon when applied to personal life. These terms will take an entirely different meaning:
    - brand extensions (your offspring)
    - market penetration & test marketing (especially when single)
    - divestment (divorce)
    etc.

  • http://www.lifeoptimizer.org Donald Latumahina

    LL,
    Thanks for sharing. I’ve downloaded the PDF file and I plan to read it.

  • http://www.pathstoreality.com/ LL

    Hi Donald,

    Check also the annual letters from Buffett: http://www.berkshirehathaway.com/letters/letters.html

    The latest ones are rather amusing at times.

  • http://www.lifeoptimizer.org Donald Latumahina

    LL,
    They must be interesting. I’ll check them out.

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  • saleh

    i really want to be bank manager but im only 8 years old so im thinking to make a company and people could help me

  • Doris

    i want to have my own organisation and dont know how to go about it i need help

  • Jakee

    i own a company it is a little hard but you can handle it what you need is about 3-4 people working on diffrent networks and taking calls for people that need help

    • jitendra kumar chauhan

      i want to open my own company …but how i dont know it will be a service based company from where i registered it …i have experience of 7 year with different companies

  • king

    hi : i am Ahmed i want to make a big company but i know how start i have comfidence but how can i us it ?, please help me ::: thank you .

  • suresh

    hai i am suresh i want to make a company but how to start i have cnfidance but how can i use it.in which qualifications are got t star in company lse help meeeeeeeeeeeeee thanque tc bye.

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