Recently I read Business Model You. It is based on Business Model Generation but instead of building business models you build a career (or a personal business model).
I found it useful, with a bunch of techniques to explore what I currently do and want my ideal life would be like.
When I Grow Up
It is more than the generic “what do you want to be when you grow up” and the results from the exercises were eye-opening for me.
For example, after examining what I’ve been doing and building a canvas I discovered that I wasn’t working with new businesses and early stage businesses enough anymore. Most of my clients have been large and enterprise sized companies, which was different from the small businesses I worked with when I started. This explains why I’ve been feeling behind the curve recently, established businesses can’t take on as much technological risk as younger ones.
I really like how Business Model You helps you figure out how to transition from your current state to your ideal state. Basically for each part of the canvas you decide if you want to increase, decrease, add, or remove parts. For example in my Cost Structure I have “Hosting Fees”, which I want to decrease. From there I can figure out what I need to do in order to decrease my hosting costs. Perhaps consolidate some servers, check that I don’t have unused resources sitting idle, or offload some self-hosted services to third-parties.
After doing that for each part of the canvas you have a clear(er) path to go from where you are now to where you want to be.
The bonus part: if you’re a freelancer you’re aware that it is difficult to separate work and personal life. I found Business Model You really encompasses both quite well, probably better than the original Business Model Generation (which is better for larger or multi-person businesses). This lets you draw a direct connection between stress (a Cost Structure) to the work you do (a Key Activity) or the clients you serve (a Customer Segment). Then you can try to come up with ways to change parts in order to reduce the stress (e.g. offer different services, work with different clients).
Overall it is a good book, especially if you are feeling stuck or can’t figure out where to go from your current point. Don’t skip over the worksheets and activities though, that is where you’ll get the most value.
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