Happy Sunday my friend,

Many of the conversations I’ve been in lately have come up around people selling their services versus people building a business as a system that works independent of them. Both are fine and a matter of personal choice, but they are not the same thing and sometimes people confuse the two.

As Jumpstart grows and we prepare to launch some new market initiatives, one of the perspectives that I have to consistently communicate with the team is that we are building a business as a system, not just selling our personal skillsets.

A lot of people get hung up on this.

As I’m detailing in my book, any business has eight core concepts that are always present:

  • Leadership
  • Finance
  • Operations
  • Growth
  • Product
  • Service
  • Sales
  • Marketing

There is a lot there to consider across those concepts, regardless of whether you are a sole proprietor or you are leading a company of thousands of people. You can’t run a business and get away with not having a basic level of competency in each of those areas.

It is my belief that many (if not most) new entrepreneurs, are really tired of having a boss and want to “control their time” and sell their personal skill set and talents. That’s great. But where they inevitably end up getting their ass handed to them is on the core concepts.

When I first left Emma to start my business, this is the kind of entrepreneur I was.

My business was selling my ability to lead software projects. I could quote a price, communicate with the client and deliver the end product. But I was incredibly weak in finance and operations, as well as stretched thin on service and marketing. The result was that the business was really stressful to manage and ultimately not very successful. It wasn’t enough for me to just want to be an entrepreneur, I needed to develop competency in the concepts.

When I accepted this, I decided that entrepreneurship was the skillset that I wanted to be great at, and I’ve been focused on these core concepts ever since. That is why I personally am involved in so many ventures, it’s because starting and growing businesses is now my primary skillset.

There is a point to all this…

I’ve highlighted over and over that I believe deeply in partnering up with others to achieve great things. All of my successes have had great partnerships attached to them. I don’t believe there are any exceptions to this rule for me personally.

I have seen exceptions to this rule in others, but in those cases, the solo entrepreneur is incredibly talented at business and manages the core concepts in accordance with their strengths and weaknesses exceptionally well. This is rare. Most people have deficiencies that make it difficult for them to both do the thing they do well AND run a business at a high level.

So people I mentor say to me “ok, I get it, I need a partner. So how do I find a great partner?” And that is a great question.

The answer is, know yourself and be a great partner yourself.

Trust me, great people are out there looking for other great people to partner with. It’s not just you in search of someone.

Now for the bad news… it may take years for you to find the right partner. Or maybe, it will take years for you to develop a relationship with someone you already know to a point where it can become a great partnership. Vic Gatto and I built our relationship at Jumpstart over 6 years before we went into a full time partnership. Before that, I had lots of partnerships that ranged from terrible to pretty good (they got better each year between 2007 and 2014) but nothing as healthy and high-functioning as my partnership with Vic.

We have to be patient on this stuff and realize that we don’t come here with all the self awareness and skills needed to be a great partner, nor do we start with the ability to identify and attract a great partner. It takes a lot of experience, which usually results in lots of mistakes and a few failed partnerships to realize who you are and who you need to work with to make something great.

I just want you to know:

  1. You might be special, but most people don’t launch great ventures that aren’t super stressful without a partner.
  2. . most people don’t get the partnership thing right out of the gate. There are usually some scars developed (many self inflicted ones) as you work your way towards the right partnership.

Be ok with that. Don’t be too impatient, this takes time to do well. Don’t be afraid to jump in there and work your way towards your ideal partner, as well as being an ideal partner yourself.

To the power of partnership… on the Grind,

Marcus

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