Do you own a business or just a job?

A lot of blue-collar bootstrappers own their businesses. On the other hand, many of the "business owners" I run into don't actually own anything more than a plain old job.

There's nothing wrong with owning a job—but it's not really a business. At least, it's not a business that can handle your absence for any length of time. It's not a business that will have value for someone else when you exit.

It usually looks something like this: you're really good at painting, plumbing, cleaning, handyman work, home remodeling, or something similar. You tell yourself, "No one does this work as well as I do." Anyway, you can't find anyone who really wants to do the work at all anymore! And besides, you have enough work to keep you busy, and having someone else to keep busy would just add pressure.

Sound familiar?


Only 20% of businesses for sale actually sell.


Out of that group, a percentage really only sell their tangible assets—equipment, buildings, vehicles, and customer lists. The problem is that many so-called business owners really don't own anything besides a job.

If you want to own a business truly, there are two things you have to do and one you must be relentless about.


1. You have to train and delegate to your team.

Of course, they won't do it as well as you—until you train them. They don't stand a chance until you teach them the "secrets" you've learned that make you a master of the craft.


2. You have to build the muscle to train and correct them—you have to have the difficult conversations.

Step into the danger zone. Give them 1% corrections and feedback. If you're a chicken and wait, it'll blow up, and you'll both be frustrated. Let them know upfront that feedback and hard conversations are part of the process.


3. Be relentless about making your process repeatable.

You have to put all that knowledge down on paper, in a digital file, page, or both! At my commercial cleaning company, we knew the exact best way to clean every building under our care: where to start, how to walk the building, and what steps to do it in. We knew each client's unique requirements because we used two repeatable processes. The first was our "procedure cards," which captured our expert process for cleaning any commercial building, and the second was our "route sheets," which captured the unique things about each building. None of this lived solely in someone's head. If a question was asked, the answer 99% of the time was either, "What does the procedure card say?" or "What's on the route sheet?" We relentlessly got tribal knowledge out of our heads and onto paper. Then, we could focus on training the right person to do the job.

None of this is rocket science. In fact, these three steps are so simple that you're already writing them off. They're simple, but consistent execution is the muscle behind them.

There's nothing wrong with owning your job. You can make a great six-figure income doing that. But if you want to have greater impact, freedom, and income, hire someone and start with these steps. Then, be tenacious about executing them! When you're tenacious, you'll become a true blue-collar bootstrapper yourself.


Pete Gazlay
Post by Pete Gazlay
October 26, 2023
Pete Gazlay grew up in an entrepreneur’s family and caught the bug early with his own lawn moving and landscape installation company. The road to business ownership was never a straight path. The “five-year plan” got interrupted with children and Pete had to support his family and launched is career as a police officer. He rose rapidly in the leadership ranks, but saw his future with bureaucrats and politicians and new that he was a square peg in a round hole. He did the unthinkable at retired mid-career to launch his speaking career. He wasn’t quite as successful as he hoped and after three years he found a “real job” again. He worked for an incredible entrepreneur in the Facilities Maintenance industry and was exposed to site operations and Fortune 500 companies and world headquarters in the US, Canada and Costa Rica. In 2009 he left that company and in 2010 he and Linda started Total Facility Care with zero clients and zero employees. A truly bootstrap company Pete did business development in the days and cleaned buildings at night get things off the ground. In 2022 Pete and Linda exited the company with sales in excess of $5M and 145 team members. Pete attributes his ability to exit to two primary decisions. First he joined a Owners Accountability Group in 2015 that grew is network and gave him a place to process business and marketplace issues. In 2018, Pete lead the self-implementation of the EOS® System in Total Facility Care and over the next few years the business became less dependent on Pete and more reliant on a leadership team. This increased the value of TFC and enabled Pete and Linda to make their exit.