Two guys reportedly wanted to work for Facebook. Tell me if you’ve heard this one. It could be an urban myth, but it works in business and for the purposes of this blog. If they had been hired as workers, they would have made a great living somewhere in the range of 6 figures. They didn’t get hired. They went on to start a company that was later purchased by Facebook for 19 Billion dollars (11 figures). What? No Whatsapp!
Why You Stay at Your Current Job
Your lot is not to be a worker for life. Capitalism does require a worker class. But, you don’t have to stay in that vocation always. You will quickly point to your promotions and gradual increases in salary, but the fact remains that you are selling your labor for income. If you stop working, you stop earning. That’s the position I want to call you out away from.
Beyond the safety and predictability of that position, you stay there because you don’t know any better option. As always, I’m here to enlighten. Find the Business Model (Mechanism). Insert your business doing what you love. Never work again. Or, at least never sell your labor.
Every profitable (or potentially profitable) business has a business model. It is a detailed accounting of inputs, mechanisms, and outputs in financial terms. The idea is that the long the business model is in operation, the more money the company makes.
You too have a business model in operation. The problem is that your business model has not been updated since the 1820s (a reference to my son’s history lesson about Samuel Slater’s manufactory created in 1787 and its replacement called the Lowell method—Inside Joke). Your business model is much like other models in that the longer it operates, the more money you make. The problem is that you are wearing yourself out. Your business model may be called the “Sell Your Labor” method.
Another way exists. I call it the “Own the Means of Production” method.
Objective Function: Insertion
In this alternative business model, you look around at other business propositions, even models, with the potential to be enhanced with what you enjoy doing. Beyond sale of your labor, this model requires clear articulation of your ideas. You either propose to increase, decrease, or satisfice something within the business operations you target. Every time the business operates, your inserted improvement, efficiency, or innovation get used triggering payment to you. Think barcode scanning companies that inserted themselves in retail sales, robotics companies that improved warehouse management, or drone companies proposing to insert themselves between you and grocery delivery. The model has been used over and over again with great success.
Competency Steps to Consider
In order to pull this off, most think that they need a grand scheme and a genius plan. Those would be great if you have them handy. But, all you need to start is the audacity to believe that it’s possible, and a clear, authentic knowledge of yourself including what you love to do. I have compiled the rest of the list as well.
- Identify your passion. Describe the activities that you would enjoy participating in each day. Outside checking the ripeness of fruit on the vine. In a board room using a laser pointer. On a plane traveling to your next convention. No matter what it is, the main point is that you have it clear in your mind.
- Identify a suitable business model. Look around at businesses represented within your network, or opportunities you can access through connections introduced by your network. Look at industries that interest you that may benefit from your expertise.
- Conceptualize your Insertion. Describe the benefit that you will bring to the business model you will innovate. You will endeavor to increase, decrease, or satisfice something. Increase things like efficiency and revenue. Decrease costs or time to market. An example of satisficing can be found in the movement to build a viable company out of insects as food. Most Americans cannot overcome the texture or visual barrier of eating insects though the protein content is beneficial. A number of companies are satisficing the product by grinding the insects into powder and presenting the product as meal or flour—much more common and acceptable food items.
- Create user case scenarios. Identify a set of customers that would benefit from your insertion. Three to 5 will suffice. Describe the customer, their backstory, and the needs they represent. If possible inspire these case scenarios based on the complaints, suggestions or other musings of actual customers.
- Build your prototype. If possible, demonstrate the innovation in operation. It can be in a lab, on a smaller scale, or in the actual business process. Be careful to show the specific points where the status quo and your innovation differ. Compare and contrast the process, outcomes, and impact of theirs versus yours.
- Test with the user case scenarios. Demonstrate that your innovation provides something greater than before to the customers. Articulate how the innovation addresses the customer needs with the product before, and their experience after your innovation. Talk about the customer experience improvement, customer loyalty, and the potential for word-of-mouth and publicity gained from the innovation.
- Report positive results as pitch to the target business. Prepare elevator pitches, board room presentations, and full workshop versions of your idea. Elevator pitches are typically 2-3 minutes. They cover what the innovation does and why anyone would care. Board room presentations are meant to capture the imagination. They are more like commercials that move the audience to some emotional connection while describing the innovation. They can be anywhere from 5 -15 minutes. It may include some specificity of financials. If you get past those two stages, you may be invited to workshop an idea. This may be an interview of the course of several hours. In these, you would specify the innovation in detail, layout financial projections, and present data on case outcomes.