How you describe yourself in business matters

In the vast and dynamic world of business, individuals assume various titles to define their roles and responsibilities…but how does this pan out for solopreneurs? You know those of us bravely growing businesses on our own?

Does it even matter?

It can feel a bit grandiose calling yourself a CEO when it’s just you and your cat in your makeshift office, but isn’t that what you are? Or do you see yourself as more of a CGO…a Chief Grafting Officer…the one who does ABSOLUTELY EVERYTHING in your business. Every. Damn. Day?

In my What Kind of Business Are You REALLY Running Audit it is clear to see that there is no consensus over what to call ourselves, but the responses have helped me to really understand that it does MATTER. I have been digging into the data recently, and there is totally a correlation between how folks describe themselves and the income they are making through their business.

Let’s take a look shall we? 

1. CEO (8%):
The title of Chief Executive Officer implies a position of leadership and decision-making authority. CEOs are often associated with larger companies and organizations, symbolizing a hierarchical structure and strategic vision. I know when I get into CEO mode, I am much more likely to take a step back and make more informed, strategic decisions. 

2. Director (20%):
By identifying as a Director, professionals highlight their role in overseeing specific departments or areas of the business. This term conveys responsibility, expertise, and a guiding influence within the organization. But surely if you are director…you are directing the work, and if you are the only person doing the work, does that even make sense?

3. Founder (20%):
The entrepreneurial spirit shines through as 20% of respondents identified themselves as Founders. This title emphasizes their role in conceiving and establishing the business, often conveying a sense of passion, vision, and innovation. As Founder of three businesses with strong brands, Too Fat to Run, Tribe Builder and The Year to Change…I understand all too well the need to get credit for being the creator of the idea.

4. Freelancer (7%):
Freelancers, with their independence and autonomy, accounted for 7% of the responses. These individuals enjoy the freedom to work on a project basis, forging their own path and often possessing specialized skills in their respective fields. This is 100% where I started out, I worked out that I got my first official freelance job 29 years ago yikes.

5. General Dogs Body or CGO (8%):
While the term “General Dogs Body” may seem unconventional, it represents those who take on various roles within the organization, often performing tasks across multiple domains. There is nothing inherently wrong with being Chief Grafting Officer, these individuals possess adaptability, versatility, and a willingness to get their hands dirty. But do you want to be working this hard forever?

6. Owner (36%):
The majority of participants (36%) referred to themselves as Owners, showcasing their sense of pride, commitment, and personal investment in the business. Owners often have a comprehensive understanding of the company’s operations and drive its success. But the question this poses, is do you own a business or do you own a job? A job where the boss is a pain in the butt at times?

How we perceive ourselves within our professional environments significantly impacts our mindset, self-confidence, and approach to work. Understanding the role we play in the broader business landscape can help us align our goals and aspirations accordingly. It also has an impact on how others see us.

We all must take on the energy of a CEO from time to time. We need to be setting the strategic objectives, we need to be reviewing the metrics that matter. If we are doing all of the doing and never doing any of the thinking, developing, initiating, then we really are making it hard for ourselves…because who else is going to do that work for us?

The presence of the “General Dogs Body” descriptor highlights the importance of adaptability and versatility in the modern business landscape. Wearing multiple hats can be a valuable asset, allowing individuals to contribute to various facets of the organization and gain diverse experiences. But this can also lead to burnout, and even your ideal clients losing confidence in you, if you are seen to be doing everything in the business, rather than focussing on the strategic, and the stuff that is totally in your zone of genius. 

Curious to discover what kind of business you are truly running? Maybe it is time to upgrade the way you talk about yourself. Maybe this week it is time to do more of the tasks required of a CEO rather than a CGO. Maybe it is time to get clear on where it is you want to take your business, and who you need to be to do that.

What type of business are you running?

Take my FREE business audit, What kind of business are you REALLY running?” uncover the hidden dynamics and identity of your business.

I am on a mission to help solopreneurs get clearer on the type of business they are currently running, so they can make better quality decisions about the direction of travel, and what their next steps should be.

I will be sharing the insights from the data (anonymously of course) and inviting participants to book a call with me to discuss their results. 

Looking for a business legacy strategist?

If you are a solopreneur doing all of the doing, AND all of the thinking, and have got yourself in a bit of a pickle. I might be able to help. As a business legacy strategist I help solopreneurs to get clear on their vision, their strategy and the best tactics to deploy, but most importantly I help them turn their ideas into sustained, successsful action…and before it’s too late and they have run out of time or steam to reach their full potential.

I have been a solopreneur for close to 30 years, and have been supporting freelancers, artists, coaches, creatives, experts, speakers and sole traders of all kinds of proffesions for more than 20 years. I am a keynote speaker on the topics of productivity, purpose and profits and the author of the book How NOT to be Broke.