By Karen Axelton

small business

Are you a small business owner, or are you just self-employed?

What’s the difference? Oh, there is one. Just ask Derek Sivers, founder of

Does this sound like you?

“You’re so busy, doing everything yourself. You know you need help, but to find and train someone would take more time than you have! So you keep working harder, until you break.”

In his blog, Sivers recalls how this happened to him. He was going crazy, putting out fires at his business all day long. Finally, he couldn’t keep going anymore (and more important, he realized his business couldn’t keep going that way, either). So he stepped back, figured out how he could start delegating–and went from being self-employed to being a business owner.

Oh that’s right, I was going to tell you the difference between the two. I’ll let Sivers put it in his own words: “To be a true business owner, make sure you could leave for a year, and when you came back, your business would be doing better than when you left.”

Does that sound like a desirable state of affairs? Then you’ll want to read Sivers’ five steps for effective delegation. Find out how he slowly came in to the office less and less, eventually stopped coming in altogether, and finally moved to another state from his business–all while growing it beyond his wildest dreams.

I promise if you’re like most self-employed people, you’ll be nodding your head in recognition every step of the way.