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Me, Inc.

25 02 2007

by Daryl R. Gibson

A few years ago, I started a new company. It was a company of one: Me, Inc. When you get right down to it, I’m not really incorporated, but that’s the way I try to think of myself.

“The biggest mistake that you can ever make in life is to ever think that you work for anyone else but yourself. You are always self- employed.
You are the president of your own personal services corporation.
The more you act as if you are self-employed and treat your company as though it belonged to you, the faster you will grow and the more you will learn… By taking responsiblity for results and for the success of your company, you will attract greater opportunities and responsibilities…” - Brian Tracy

I think of myself as a company, providing a number of services. I sell those services to a customer, or to a number of customers. The remuneration I earn from the goods and services I sell is dependent on supply and demand, value for value, innovation and leadership, mission and vision.

I may have only one customer at a time, which may be my current employer, but I’m still selling that value and that package of skills to that employer, each and every day.

“Silly man,” you might be saying to yourself. “What difference does it make if you think of yourself in as a company or not? You still have the same employer, and you’re still an employee.”

Well, for most of us, that’s the case. Some of us have our own businesses for real. Others work as contractors. Some of us are commission-oriented; others take home a predictable salary each and every month. Some may be paid bonuses while others may get stock options. Some may be in it for the security, some for the risk.

It really doesn’t matter what position you’re in, actually — it doesn’t really matter where you’re getting your paycheck from, or whether you work for yourself or not, in the traditional sense of the word. What matters is that you think of yourself as working for you — Me, Inc.

When you look at yourself as a company, selling a product or service, your mindset changes. You no longer define yourself as “a manager,” but now you’re “an owner.” You no longer look at yourself as someone who has his working life dictated by a boss — now, you’re a company owner, selling your product to your customer. You no longer look at yourself as depending on company training, company bonuses, and company cars. You look at yourself as making your product more competitive; you see yourself as investing in your product offerings; you concentrate on marketing your product line, broadening your personal advertising, and making your marketing more valuable to your customers.

Later, you may decide to move outside your current product offerings, choosing to develop new products (talents and abilities) that you can market to existing, and to new customers. You start to see yourself as more than just the slot that your current position has placed you into.

Making this changeover is not all that difficult, but it does require a bit of thinking.

First off, take a few minutes, and identify the services that you “offer” to your “customers.” If you wish, you can include customers who may pay you in other ways, such as family, friends, or neighbors.

Second, identify the items that are of the most worth to your customer base. You may have multiple customers, who may compete for the “products” you have to “sell.” You might choose to concentrate on one big customer, or spread yourself out over multiple customers. Remember, however, that when a company has only one customer, the loss of that single customer’s business is usually devastating to the company. Where you can, you’re better off looking at widening your “customer” base. In situations where you are the employee, that may mean branching out into other areas that you can do off the clock — investing, for example, when your main job is selling, or conducting training seminars on the weekends, when your job is a Monday-Friday only position. In either case, you are widening your customer base.

When you have a larger customer base, consult them on the services they would like you to offer. Customers are usually frank with their suppliers, and the suppliers rarely take it personally. When you operate from a “Me, Inc.” standpoint, you solicit feedback from your customers — whether that customer be a family member or an employer. You may find that the “products” you will gain your most return from are the products you don’t currently offer.

As time goes on, and you become more at home with this concept, you will find that you think of yourself less defined by the “box” that you currently find yourself in. If you’re a salesperson, you likely work on commission; this approach is especially valuable to you. If you own your own business currently, you may find that you need to widen out the business a bit, or perhaps sell the business and start something with a bit more return.

Too often, we define our existence by the categories we are currently in. Sometimes, we pigeonhole ourselves into categories that are no longer accurate, but are the way we’ve “always defined ourselves.” We see ourselves through a preset group of filters, each filter changing our possibilities and our vision.

Start today! Incorporate “Me, Inc.” for your own life. Determine your own future.

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