The distinction we make between a job, a business and a practice is central to the labour of love, liberation model that sits behind running a thought leaders practice. Sometimes though, it will feel like a job and sometimes it will feel like a business. Your job is to think, sell, and deliver and the practice is a vehicle for delivering you a life by design. Here is a quick comparison between the job, the business and the practice. We don’t say one is better than the other and they are not actually mutually exclusive ideas but early on in your journey forcing the distinction is really, really important.
For you to be focused on the high yield activities of thinking, selling, and delivering within a practice, we need to get everything else done somehow, by someone or something!
The core value proposition for running a thought leaders practice is that you get to earn $500,000 to $1,500,000 working 50-200 days a year, with one or maybe two staff. The trick is to do this doing work you love, with people you like, the way you want. Your journey then becomes a labour of love. Making decisions from the lens of ‘is this getting me more of what I want and not less?’ becomes a primary heuristic for the black belt practitioner.
Three big ideas you will need to confront and face down as you journey to black belt as a thought leader are:
- The differences between contribution and exploitation. The practice model is about you being rewarded for the contributions you make. It’s not about the asymmetry of predatory entrepreneurism or resource exploitation capitalism. It is more akin to the Buddhist concept of right livelihood. It is a labour of love.
- The difference between obligation and inspiration. The practice model is about you doing work you love, with people you like, the way you want. Wayne Dyer famously said, “A relationship based on obligation has no grace.” There is a grace to the idea of being led by what inspires you rather than what you think you should or must do.
- The difference between input and impact. The practice model is less about working 40 hours a week, 48 weeks a year and is more about using your lived experience and gathered knowledge to teach 50-200 days a year and be paid $500,000 to $1,500,000 with one or maybe two staff. At times, a one-hour presentation is the delivered work of the day.
These big ideas are not just philosophical paradigms. They turn up again and again as you make decisions that take you closer to the ideal of a sustainable thought leaders practice generating a turnover of $1,000,000 a year and a take-home of 50-70% of that.
Sometimes it feels like a job, sometimes it smells like a business. With a labour of love orientation, it stays cleanly a practice. When it is a practice you stay close to the means of production, you are the value delivered and as such you become free of the constraints of enterprise and instead get to do the good work you wish to do in this life. You become self-expressed, in service to others and rewarded for your contributions. You never need to retire and would do this work for free (don’t).