I met with a colleague yesterday and the conversation was about an interesting opportunity he was pursuing. As part of the discussion, we talked about the difference between being engaged in making a commercial product compared to being an owner in the manufacturer of that commercial product. You might be the creator of a feature or product delivered, but since you may not be interested in being engaged in the longer term business associated in the creation of that feature you are not the owner. You are a tenant.
We agreed that if a person just wants to make things and be paid a set amount, that is an acceptable response. The risk, time and money, is minimized and the transaction is very clean. Depending upon the venture, this decision is sometimes the best solution. The business world is littered with people doing speculation work and not getting paid or realizing the anticipated return. There is nothing wrong with being a tenant.
However, if you want to be an owner, you need to make an investment and be willing to risk and lose that investment. I know this is entrepreneurship 101…but it comes up everyday in big and little companies. In things that I do, I strive to be an owner.