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.