Do you own a sign business or a job?

You own or run a sign shop so you have, what the government calls, a small business. BUT do you actually own a business or do you own a job?

A few years ago I read several books written by Robert Kiyosaki. Mr. Kiyosaki is most commonly known for his book Rich Dad Poor Dad but he went on to write (and sponsor) a whole series of “Rich Dad” books as well as founding an organization dedicated to Financial Education. Mr Kiyosaki’s books and theories have sparked quite a bit of controversy and you can find die hard fans as well as rabid detractors all over the internet.

Regardless I how I personally feel about the books I did find one of Mr. Kiyosaki’s concepts intriguing. Robert Kiyosaki has an interesting and very pointed definition of the difference
between being self employed and owning a business. It was very easy to take this definition and apply it to owning a sign company….
My paraphrased and translated definition… If you were to leave your sign shop, for one year, with limited or no contact with it’s employees, customers, systems or organization what would happen? If your sign company would fail and disappear then you are self-employed and you own a job. If your sign shop would continue to survive and, even better, to thrive… then YOU own a business.
Wow,… based on that definition I found that I was not real happy with what I thought was a successful sign business. It was plainly obvious to me that if I was not out there selling the signs, designing the signs, making the signs and doing all of the fun administrative tasks that come with running a sign shop then my “sign company” would probably be dead in 6 months. I really did not like that realization and resolved to make some changes…
Change, it seems, is sometimes difficult and often damaging. After beginning to actively take better control of my sign shop and it’s growth I found I needed to make some tough choices. I have learned to say no and I have learned to be creative in building systems and forms for my sign business in several areas. Some clients were gently released and more profitable clients have been found and developed. Change might be difficult but, man, am I glad I did.
I have not fully succeeded in my goal of owning a sign business (as defined by Mr. Kiyosaki) but I AM much further along than when I started. As of this writing I CAN take off for an extended period of time and know the shop is moving along just fine. I CAN take trips to New York, Las Vegas and Argentina and know that my sign company is still making me money. I CAN spend time working ON my sign shop and not just IN my sign shop.

So… do you own a sign business or…?