You Are a Business of One (Even if You’re an Employee)

Harvey Mackay, bestselling author of The Mackay MBA of Selling in the Real World says that no matter where you work, you’re not an employee, you’re a business of one.

Yes, even if your Dad is the President of the company. And even if you have a mentor, supervisor, boss or someone up above that has taken a liking to you. You are a business of one.

What does that mean?

You must continually adapt and learn

Don’t rest on your laurels. You must constantly upgrade and improve your skills and experiences — because the worst thing that could happen is that ‘sure-fire’ promotion never comes and then you see yourself getting older without progressing any further in the organization you are working for.

Your personal brand is critical

Whether you know it or not, your personal brand is being defined. If it’s not being defined by you, it’s being defined by others. Do you want other people to define what you stand for?

Why is your personal brand important? It helps you win work with customers (internal and external). It gives you the benefit of the doubt. It gets you new jobs, raises and promotions.

Again, I ask, do you want to define what you stand for or do you want other people to define it for you?

You must have a long-term view

Some people start businesses with a short-term exit plan. But those with a short-term exit plan don’t make it massively big. Look at the biggest companies in the world today: some (Google, Facebook) had opportunities to sell their companies to another company. Others (Amazon, Netflix) continually re-invested profits into building moats. Whether the company had a grand vision or continually re-invested profits, they all had a long-term view. They weren’t building a company to sell it the next day. They were all building companies that would stand the test of time (for now). Treat yourself the same way — you’re going to have a long career, which means:

  • Take on interesting projects, even if you don’t see the connection to your brand
  • Take jobs where you will learn the most, not where you will earn the most
  • Partner with people who bring out the best in you, and avoid the people who try to push you to become someone you’re not

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Author of Essential Habits. I write about personal development, work and managing your career. Connect with me at

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Wang Yip

Wang Yip

Author of Essential Habits. I write about personal development, work and managing your career. Connect with me at

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