When you’re employed, there’s always the “they” to blame. When you’re self-employed “they” is you! There’s no one else to point your finger at but yourself. This means that you need to take ownership of your business in every way. Every accomplishment, every mistake, and every to-do on your to-do list is yours.
When you claim ownership of something, you take responsibility for it and hold yourself accountable. This is more than just having your name on the company letterhead. Imagine two scenarios where you lost $50.00. In the first case, the $50 was given to you as a gift. In the second case, you earned the $50.00 by working for it. In both cases, you own the money. However, most individuals will be more distressed in the second case because they took ownership for earning the $50.00 and worked for it.
What does this mean when you’re self-employed? When it’s your business, accepting full responsibility for outcomes motivates you to do what’s necessary to see your dream become a reality. This typically involves three key attributes:
1. Taking Risks
Put your money where your mouth is. Get some skin in the game. Big risk – bigger reward.
These phrases are saying the same thing. If you want something, you need to be willing to make some sacrifices for it. By investing your own personal time, money, and other resources in something, you solidify your commitment to it. When committed to success, you are less likely to accept failure. Hence, when obstacles arise – and they will – you are more likely to be motivated to overcome them and persevere.
2. Following Your Passion
It’s much easier to take ownership of something you care about and enjoy. That’s why it’s important to find, follow, and most importantly, keep your passion alive. There are many business owners who fall out of love with what they do. When this happens, work becomes a burden. You lose your sense of purpose, and your commitment begins to fade. If you want to succeed you need to keep your passion alive, especially as your business grows and your responsibilities change. This means having fun and adding more “play” into your business. You can discover specific ways of doing this in Dr. Deborah’s article, Why Being Playful Can be Good for You and Your Business.
3. Continually Learning
To take ownership of something, you need to fully embrace it and continually nurture it. A business is a lot like a child. Giving it life and encouraging it to grow will require you to grow with it. This requires continually learning new things. You can learn from your customers, suppliers, banker, accountant and so on. You can gain knowledge via free online courses, YouTube videos, forums, articles (like this one) and traditional classroom learning.
Taking responsibility has a bad rap for many of us. We’ve heard it from our parents, teachers and past employers, often when they want us to do something that they don’t want to. When it’s your own business however, taking responsibility can be quite liberating. You’re doing what you love, you’re good at it, and you’re reaping the rewards for your efforts. Why not take responsibility for it?