Owning a Business vs. Owning a Job

how to start a construction company

I can vividly remember the day.

It was January of 2011 and I was sitting at my used desk on a folding metal chair in the 80 square-foot “office” I was borrowing from a friend.  It was located on the 2nd floor of a wedding event venue, right above the restrooms.  On the weekends the “office” would be used by the bridal party, preparing for the event.  Needless to say each Monday morning was spent playing “pick up the undergarments” inevitably left by people. (How does one forget underwear so often?!?!)

It was on that day I clearly realized what I’d done to myself; I’d spent the past 5 months building a job, not a business. I was literally creating a situation where I had to do nearly everything myself. I had no team, no system, no process and certainly no freedom. I was a slave to my new company.

In this post I’ll talk about the difference between “owning a job” and “owning a business” and why we created CRATE Franchise Systems to solve just this issue.

The Difference Between Owning a Business and Owning A Job

Owning a job means if you’re away from the office for a few days your revenue either stops or is dramatically affected. It means you’re wearing way too many hats and most likely the company revolves solely around you. This isn’t uncommon for owners of construction companies. Most of us by nature are “technicians,” meaning we know how to “do it ourselves.” While this is very helpful in understanding our business, it makes us much more reluctant to turn over the reigns to others, no matter their qualifications.

Owning a business means you have a system around you that allows you to run your business from a 30,000-foot perspective instead of from the trenches. It means you’re surrounded by capable team members that may not do the job just like you would, but understand their role and are improving daily in their execution. Have you ever felt the freedom of being “out in front” of your business, leading instead of reacting, imagining instead of dreading?  If you have, you know what it’s like to properly own a business instead of a job.

Reasons Some People Own a Job

There’s three main reasons why an individual owns a job instead of a business.

First, they may like it that way. For some, wearing all the hats and doing it all themselves is enjoyable. They like feeling needed, important and in control. And they’re OK with hitting the revenue ceiling and staying highly localized. It’s comfortable for them.

Another reason some own a job is that they’re just starting out. It’s fairly unusual, especially in the construction sector, for a start-up contractor to be able to afford a team from the get-go. Most of us have to start by spinning all the plates. The challenge is to make this temporary as opposed to the long-term strategy.

The third reason why some own a job is fear. Yes, they’re afraid to go further. What it I fail? What if I run out of money? What if the economy takes a dive? All logical questions; yet all a symptom of fear. For some owning a job feels “safe” (until they get hurt and can’t work). And fear can be a pretty tall wall to scale.

Transitioning from Owning a Job to Owning a Business

So what do you do if you decide owning a business fit’s your goals more than owning a job?

First, write out the tried-and-true 5-year plan. That’s right, take out a pencil and paper and dream about what owning a business would look like. What would you do during the work day? What team would you need around you? What service sector would be most appropriate to focus upon? Take some time and dream about your future and write the “story” of what your life would be like.

Next, come up with an action plan to meet your 5-year goal. What are the major steps you need to take? Now what are the smaller steps you must take to get there?

Lastly, execute. That’s right, it’s time to put in the work. Day-by-day, week-by-week, month-by-month march towards your dream of owning a business instead of owning a job. Pretty soon you’ll look around and you’ll be at 30,000 feet instead of in the trenches.

CRATE Franchise Systems helps existing contractors pivot from owning a job to owning a business?  We’d love to talk with you about a CRATE Franchise in your location.  Click here to download our complete CRATE Information Guide, or click here to schedule a phone call with me at a time of your choosing.

Scott Monday is Co-founder + CEO of CRATE Franchise Systems, the franchisor of the kitchenCRATE and bathCRATE remodel products.  You can follow him on Linked-In or email him at scott[at]cratefranchisesystems[dot]com.