One of the best-loved books for entrepreneurs is The E-Myth by Michael E. Gerber. In the book, he tells the story of a woman who always dreamed of owning a pie shop. She wanted nothing more than to spend her days doing what she loved and seeing her customers enjoy her pies. But once she opened her shop, she hated it. You see, instead of getting to enjoy the process of creating beautiful baked pies, she found herself exhausted, working 12 hours a day in a hot kitchen. Her feet were sore from standing all day, and she could never enjoy the look on her customer’s faces because she was too tired to even notice.
This is the story that a lot of small business owners find themselves in shortly after starting a business. In Gerber’s book, the baker set out to build a business that would allow her to provide for herself by doing what she loved most. Instead found herself enslaved by her business and unable to enjoy it.
Owning a business is always a labor of love, and you may naturally be more emotionally invested in your business and work longer days than you would if you worked for someone else. But there’s a difference between owning a business and working in one.
If you feel like you’re spending all of your time working in your business instead of your business working for you, it’s time to reassess whether your business is aligned with your desired lifestyle. If it isn’t, I can help you get back on track to loving your business again.
Visualize Your Ideal Workday
The first and most important step to making your ideal lifestyle a reality is to know what you want.
Now I know what you’re thinking – I already know what I want! But I want you to get even more detailed and specific about your ideal work-life balance. If your goals are broad or vague, then your plan to reach them will be equally broad and vague because your desired outcome isn’t narrowly defined.
For example, “I want to be a successful accountant” is a very broad goal. What does it actually mean to you to be a successful account? A more specific goal would be, “I want to pass my CPA exam and bring in 10 new clients this month.”
To help narrow down your goals, start by imagining what your ideal day would look like. Would you sleep in a little? Catch a morning yoga class or take a long walk with your dog? Would you drive your kids to school or meet a friend for breakfast?
Would you be hands-on in your business, or would you prefer to check in with a trusted manager to make sure that things are running smoothly while you take a step back?
Don’t worry about how practical these goals may seem to you right now. The first step toward getting what you want is letting yourself dream it.
Start Small and Start Delegating
Now that you know what you want your ideal work day to look like, you can start taking small steps toward making your vision a reality.
If you’re like most business owners (and most people in general), you probably find that you aren’t able to live your day the way you truly want because you simply have more to do than you can easily accomplish in one day. In order to make time and space for the life you want, start by making small changes to your routine and delegating small tasks.
For example, let’s imagine that your ideal work day starts with you enjoying a slow cup of coffee but instead, your mornings are spent guzzling down a travel mug while racing the kids to school.
To change this, you could get a programmable coffee maker to start brewing your coffee before you wake up, or you could hire someone to drive your kids to school and gain back 40 minutes to your morning.
Similarly in your business, if you feel like you always work late because you can never catch up on bookkeeping or inventory, it’s time to start delegating. If you have staff, train an employee you trust on how to inventory your supplies and then offload that task to them.
If you have no staff, start small by hiring remote help such as a virtual assistant who can work on an as-needed basis within your budget, and hire a bookkeeper to keep your finances straight (and who can tell you how much money you can use each month to invest in more help!).
Once you become comfortable delegating one or two tasks in your day, slowly work your way up to delegating more tasks to employees or outside service providers. By doing so, you’ll still be able to manage your business the way you want while having more time to generate revenue and enjoy the things you love.
Get Away From Your Business For a Little While
It’s easy to fall into the trap of believing that you need to be working all the time to be successful. But taking a break from your business can be one of the best things you can do to love it again. Stepping away from your business for a little while can give you a fresh perspective and help you see things in a new light. It can also help you recharge your batteries and come back to your business with renewed energy and enthusiasm.
There are many ways you can get away from your business. You could take a day off to go on a hike or visit a museum. You could take a weekend trip to a nearby city or beach. You could even take a longer vacation to a place you’ve always wanted to visit.
Just taking a mental break from your business can also be incredibly beneficial. Set aside an hour a day to learn a new hobby or skill, or join a club or class that meets once or twice a week. If there is a topic that always interested you but that you never had time for because it wasn’t related to your work, now is the perfect time to explore it. It may even trigger exciting new ideas and innovations in your business.
Taking a break from your business can be a scary prospect, but it’s important to remember that your business will survive without you, whether for a few hours or a few days. And when you come back, you’ll be better equipped to handle whatever challenges come your way. So, take that vacation or dance class and come back to your business refreshed and ready to love it again.
Create a Plan with Help From a Trusted Business Advisor
Making small changes to your routine and delegating tasks can seem simple enough, but you might think that some tasks you simply have to do yourself, or maybe you don’t have the funds or resources to hire help or outsource.
That’s where I come in. As an entrepreneurial business owner myself, I understand firsthand how hard it can be to juggle work and your personal life, and it often feels like you have to (and need to) do it all yourself.
If you feel like you’re not loving your business anymore or aren’t getting the life you wanted from owning your own business, give me a call. I’ll look at your resources, time, cash flow, and desires to create a strategic business plan that grows your business while letting you get back to loving your business and your life. And of course, I’ll make sure that your business’s Legal, Insurance, Financial, and Tax needs are taken care of too.
This article is a service of a Personal Family Lawyer®. We offer a complete spectrum of legal services for businesses and can help you make the wisest choices with your business throughout life and in the event of your death. We also offer a LIFT Business Breakthrough Session™, which includes a review of all the legal, financial, and tax systems you need for your business. Call us today to schedule.
The content is sourced from Personal Family Lawyer® for use by Personal Family Lawyer® firms, a source believed to be providing accurate information. This material was created for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as ERISA, tax, legal, or investment advice. If you are seeking legal advice specific to your needs, such advice services must be obtained on your own separate from this educational material.