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Paul and Sarah Edwards
Known as the "nation's self-employment experts," Paul and Sarah Edwards brought their careers home in 1974 and in 1980 began researching the work-at-home phenomenon. Since their best-selling book Working from Home was published in 1985, they have been the subject of scores of articles in many periodicals. They have produced and cohosted the "Working from Home Show" on Business Radio for six years, and they host "Working from Home with Sarah and Paul Edwards" on Scripps-Howard's new Home and Garden TV cable network. Their other best-selling books include The Best of Home Business for the 90s, Getting Business to Come to You, Making Money with Your Computer at Home and Making It on Your Own: Surviving the Ups and Downs of Being Self-Employed.
  Entrepreneurs vs. Propreneurs   #726
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To build a successful business, you must be very clear about who you are and what you want. Here are Paul and Sarah Edwards to tell you the difference between entrepreneurs and propreneurs.

Let's talk about the new breed of entrepreneur, today's new independent worker. Classical entrepreneurs love the business of business. They probably had lemonade stands and paper routes as children. And by high school or college they were running one or more sideline businesses to help pay their expenses.

For this classical entrepreneur, business is like a game, and money is the scorecard. Making deals and living with the uncertainty and experimental nature of business are exciting. The classical entrepreneur moves eagerly from venture to venture, loving the business of doing business.

You're probably one of the emerging new breed of entrepreneurs who, like us, are setting out on their own in order to have greater control over their lives, and to work on their own terms in their own ways. Many of this new breed are men and women who want to earn enough to have a good standard of living and still be at home to raise their children. Others are seeking a viable way to stay in or move to a more desirable locale, or to pursue their preferred career.

For the new breed of entrepreneurs, being in business is more a means to an end than an end in itself. For this reason, we call them propreneurs — individuals engaged in business enterprise not for its own sake, or even for the profits per se, but for a purpose beyond the enterprise.

Propreneurs want to create a livelihood for themselves that enables them to do more meaningful work, enjoy their lives more and do what they do best, the way they want to do it. They're more interested in doing the work of their business than in running a business. Here are some examples of what we mean.

Chellie Campbell is a classical entrepreneur. She took a job as a bookkeeper and, seeing the potential for bookkeeping services, proceeded within two years to buy out the owners of the business. She wasn't particularly interested in doing bookkeeping herself. In fact, she immediately hired others to do the bookkeeping so she could go out and get more business. Soon she had sales personnel to do that as well, so she could spend her time overseeing the business. She planned to expand and sell her company.

Georgia Graves, on the other hand, is a propreneur. When her daughter was born, she didn't want to take her baby to day care while she continued commuting every day to the downtown accounting firm where she worked. But she loved doing bookkeeping, especially helping people manage their money. She had no intention of giving up her career.

In fact, with the new baby, Georgia and her husband needed her income more than ever, because they had just moved from their rented apartment to a house. And she believed her chances for getting any substantial salary increase on her job were small. Opening a bookkeeping service of her own was a way for Georgia to do what she loves without having to leave her young daughter, and still make more money than she did on salary. "I work when I want, as much as I want, and I love what I do," she says. "I have the best of both worlds."

Instructional designer Mike Greer is a propreneur. He was frustrated by the bureaucratic inefficiencies of the instructional design company where he worked. He got in only five hours of productive work a day. The rest of his time was spent in meetings, hassling with office politics and the like. He also knew his employers were billing his time out at nine times his own hourly rate. He felt confident he could do a better job on his own and charge substantially less. And he was right. After creating I.D. Network, Mike tripled his income, although he was charging clients far less. He's still working only five hours a day, but the rest of the day is his own.

As you can see from these examples, the classical entrepreneur — the one for whom most business courses and books are written — wants to work on the business; the propreneur wants to work in the business. Which are you?

Now, here are two things you can do immediately to get the most out of these ideas.

First, take a few minutes to decide for yourself exactly what you want to get out of your business. Do you want to build the business and then sell it, or do you want to work in the business and do the job?

Second, describe your business as though it were perfect in every way five years from today. What would it look like? What would you be doing? What could you begin doing today to create your ideal business in the future? These are the key questions in personal and business planning.

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