Never look for a boss, always look for a client

Sean’s dad gave him this advice: “Never look for a boss, always look for a client.”

I try and communicate the same message to my clients and young people who ask for career advice. In today’s economy, for you to be successful, view your career as your own business.

I am not saying everybody has to start their own small business. I am referring to the way we think about work.

Starting your own business is a dream a lot of people have. If the market is open for your idea, go for it! And if I may share from my experience, it is enjoyable en challenging at the same time. So before you take the plunge, make sure you do your homework properly. Ask advice, write a proper business plan yourself (if you ask someone to write it for you, make sure you are involved every step of the way), and get get a business coach. It is worth the investment. Also know that it takes up to 5 years to start up a business, so have patience. It is worth it.

The advice Sean’s dad gave has more to it though. Like I said, it speaks to the way we think about work. It asks us to change our mental maps from seeing work as a necessary evil, something we do to pay our bills, to seeing our abilities, energy and knowledge as a product we sell to our employer. Our boss or the organization we work for becomes our client. And in the competitive world we live in, good client service plays a major role in sustainable success.

It ask that we start thinking like entrepreneurs about our work, creating the habit of asking “Where is the biggest need and how can I address is?” And of course, taking the initiative to act on the answers we get.

With this mentality, we be come a major contributor, adding value to the organization. We move our salary from the expense side of the cash flow statement tot the asset side. We become the dreamed of and elusive engaged employee that all business owners look for.

And when you choose to go on your own, this mentality will help you succeed as a business owner as well.