Understanding yourself and the life choices you’ve made enables you to clearly see and choose the path that lies ahead.
Owning a business is not for everyone.
We each need to find our own path in our business and personal lives. I’m going to stay away from the “personal life” side, except where it intersects with how you function in your “business life”.
Work for Company? Work For Yourself?
The way I see it, in business there are two distinct paths, and the one you choose is personal.
Let’s start with the fact that we are all our own, personal company – a “Company of One.” As individuals, we all have skills and time, and we choose where to use them.
Being a homemaker, getting a job, starting a business – these are all personal choices we make based upon our free will and circumstances.
You may combine your resources with a spouse, friends and family, but ultimately you choose your own path. You make the decisions.
The “Company of One” is you.
When you choose to accept money for your time, the paths are:
Path #1: Work for Someone Else: Perform tasks, get paid. Lower Risk, Measured Rewards
Path #2: Work for Yourself: Perform tasks, earn money. Higher Risk, Variable Rewards
The choice your “Company of One” makes is how much risk you are willing to assume. It’s a very personal decision and there’s only one right choice.
I’m continually asked, “Why did you purchase a Window Cleaning Franchise when you could have built one on your own?”
The answer: Because it is the right choice for me.
Becoming An Entrepreneur
Anyone who knows me will tell you that I’ve been an entrepreneur all my life.
In fact, I come from a family of entrepreneurs though they’ve never really called themselves such.
My mom opened a cake decorating store, my sister started her own architectural firm and my Dad joined his fellow PHD graduates and started a prominent scientific research firm.
I even married an entrepreneur. My wife Cynthia is a musician and actress and it’s called show “business” for a reason. You are your own company and definitely your own boss.
Though as a child I sold lemonade and mowed lawns, I became a entrepreneur during my first “real” job in my senior year at college.
The Secret Key to Success
Working for a small computer consulting firm, the owner told me the following story that changed my life forever.
What is Success?
An enterprising young man is working for a large corporation and he really wants to know what success is and how to achieve it.
He works late every day and one day around 7pm he sees the company’s Founder/CEO walking down the hall. With some nerve and a good amount of naivete, he approaches this successful man and says, “good evening, sir. My name Mark and I’ve been working for this company for two years. I admire you and I would really like to know what success looks like, and how I can achieve it.”
The CEO looks at his watch, sees they are the only two still in the office, and realizes this kid is giving his all to this company.
“OK”, the CEO says. “Meet me tomorrow evening at 7pm, on this building’s helicopter pad.”
The next day, Mark wears his best suit, puts in a full day and at 6:50pm walks onto the roof. At 7pm sharp, the CEO arrives, they board the helicopter and take off.
The CEO pulls out the Wall Street Journal while Mark looks out and reads the CEO’s name on the building. He looks at the city below and just smiles. Yes, this is success.
They land 20 minutes later in a grassy area and get out of the helicopter.
Mark is very excited and the CEO begins to speak. “Mark, imagine up on that hill a large ranch-style home with swimming pools, tennis courts and horse stables. In this area, there’s a gated community and we are standing on the private golf course.”
Marks is awed and very impressed. “Yes, yes. These are all examples that demonstrate a successful life. How does one achieve these?”
The CEO answers.
How do you define Success?
“Work hard every day, listen to your manager and exceed at your assignments. Focus on moving up in the company and take on more responsibility.”
“Yes, Yes.” Mark is soaking in every morsel of this wisdom.
“Motivate and inspire your fellow workers to also work hard and contribute to the company.”
“OK, I can do this!” Mark says with a smile.
“Find ways to innovate and grow this company and make it great.”
Mark nods and waits with baited breath, listening for the secret key to success…
The CEO points to the imaginary house, pools and golf course and concludes:
“Give everything you have to this company, and one day… all of this will be mine.”
I was changed.
The CEO (and my boss who told me this story) had clearly demonstrated his own Risk vs. Reward relationship. He started and owned a business and pointed to his Path – Path #2: Work For Yourself.
There are many secret keys to success, just as there are many paths to success. This one resonated with me.
Path #2 had worked for them and it could work for me too.
I worked with this computer consulting firm until graduation then joined the working world with a new focus – Being an Entrepreneur.
Do you have a similar story that changed your life? Please share in the comments below.
Next week I’ll answer why my wife and I chose a franchise and share with you our thought process.
Thank you for reading and have a great weekend!
About the Author
John Gran & Cynthia Julian
John Gran (@FishSouthBay) is an entrepreneur and former marketing and product development executive who has grown his successful Fish Window Cleaning franchise in the Los Angeles – South Bay area to become a leading professional in window cleaning services for business owners and home owners.
With his popular blog A Clear View Through Clean Windows, John shares his window cleaning expertise by addressing topics and answering questions that customers continually ask him during his day. He also uses window cleaning pictures, inspirations and stories about his business to demonstrate the fundamentals for building a strong, healthy, thriving business.
John lives & works with his wife Cynthia in Redondo Beach, CA (she runs the business too!)
If you have a question or would like window cleaning services click Here or Call 310-973-3474 for a Free, on-site written estimate.