It takes more to build a business than just working without a boss.
Does your painting work fit the definition of a business?
If you’re like most painters who work for themselves, you have an entrepreneurial streak. That’s a great personal quality because the world needs more entrepreneurs. The thing is, you might think you own a painting business when you really have a painting job of your own creation. What’s the difference? A job provides no money when you stop working it. A business, by contrast, is something you can sell some day because it has value beyond the efforts you put into brush and roller. And while there’s nothing wrong with having a painting job of your own making, if you want a business with marketable value, you need to make that happen intentionally.
Every young painter I’ve met has had strength, independence and a go-getter attitude. These are essential qualities, but dangerous, too. They often hide the need to build marketable value into your work. If our young painting contractor never does anything to change the natural trajectory of things, the once-young painter might be thinking differently about their career choice when they’re on the downhill side of 50, with nothing to cash in on when the ladders get taller and the rollers heavier.
The root of this situation is the lack of a succession plan. Even if our solo painter hires subs, but there’s never a succession plan designed to keep the business running without the founder there’s no business to sell. The hallmark of a business is that the founder is no longer essential. Important, yes, but also replaceable. You can’t sell your business otherwise.
Is a business what you want, not a job? If you manage yourself with that in mind, you’ll eventually sit at the top of an organization. It may not be a large organization, but it no longer requires your constant attention, exertion and youthful vigour. The business might even be able to run on auto-pilot, at least for short bursts and in most ways. And while it’s good to feel the vibrancy of being a young, independent painter, isn’t there something to be said for building a little organization with value beyond the well painted homes and businesses it has left behind? Your answer makes all the difference.
By Steve Maxwell