Are you having fun in your business?
Did you, like most entrepreneurs, start your business looking for wealth and freedom?
You wanted fun and enjoyment.
You expected your business to provide the money to enjoy a great lifestyle.
How’s that working out?
For most, instead of being the gateway to prosperity and freedom, business becomes a trap.
In this article, I’m going to show what happens to trap so many.
Then I’m going to demonstrate how to make it fun in the way the most successful enjoy their business.
If it isn’t fun, you must be doing it wrong!
I attended a seminar where the speaker asked everyone to stand and remain standing if they could honestly answer yes to the following questions. Think about your answers to these:
- You work on average less than fifty hours per week in your business. (That sent around 60% of the audience to their seats).
- You regularly take at least four weeks per year vacation from your business. (Another 20% sat).
- You regularly take more than four weeks per year vacation from your business and never worry about what might have happened while you were away. (Only ten people left).
- If I gave you two weeks’ notice to get organized, you could spend a year away from your business with only your laptop and cell phone to keep in touch and have no concerns that it may not survive while you are away.
- If I gave you two weeks’ notice, you could go on a twelve month holiday, leave your laptop and cell phone at home, and expect your business to not only survive, but be better than you left it when you get back home.
Only three out of the 130 attendees were standing after question five. These were the real entrepreneurs.
Everyone else merely owned a business and were falling into the same trap, trading time for survival.
Which of those questions would have had you finding your seat?
A recent international survey of over 7,200 businesses in 32 countries found that the world-wide average for business owners is to work for 52 hours per week.
What happened to those dreams of wealth and freedom?
Even the financially successful are stilled trapped in the hard work syndrome. They know their business wouldn’t survive for long if they weren’t there.
I know exactly what this is like.
After four years in my first business we were making progress and had grown to nine employees.
This was a bit of an ego trip on one hand, but a nightmare on the other.
Eventually, when you grow a business without experience or the right support, you are going to hit the wall. And when it gets tough, you naturally work harder to try to cope.
But working under pressure just makes it worse.
How do you manage employees who don’t seem to know what to do when they should and keep interrupting you when you are busy?
How do you keep the sales level consistent so you don’t have people feeling under too much pressure one week, but then having little to do the next?
How do you keep the costs and cash flow under control when there are so many inefficiencies and disruptions to the workflow?
I struggled to cope with these pressures and felt like giving up. The only reason I kept going was that I was so far in debt that I would have to go bankrupt and I didn’t want that. I could never pay off the debt earning a salary in a normal job.
If nothing changes, you just keep working hard to survive.
Eventually your health suffers and your relationships at home are strained because you get home anxious, irritable and exhausted, unable to give your loved ones what they deserve. And all the time you are working so hard for them; to provide for them, to give them a future they dream about. And while this happens, you children are growing up as strangers.
If you aren’t careful, they won’t be around to share the dream future that starts to seem more and more unlikely as time goes on.
What went wrong?
I was lucky. I found the help I needed to turn my business around and make it into a success that I eventually sold. Now I’ve done that five times and written about the success principles I’ve learned in my book, Run Your Business on Autopilot.
I hate to be a merchant of doom and gloom, but sometimes it’s necessary to face the facts.
If it’s not fun in your business, it doesn’t have to stay that way.
The big problem is that most business owners don’t operate like entrepreneurs. They learn how to run their business from watching their previous employers. This just perpetuates the same results.
Even if they are aware of the mistakes, they don’t know a different way, or a better way.
When the business grows because they start well and get the basics right, the growth creates pressure and chaos. The business grows by reaction instead of design. The right people, systems and processes are not managed properly and the sales grow but the profits don’t.
Eventually the original vision and excitement you start with are lost in the confusion and the business has you trapped in its dependency on you.
The critical difference is that successful entrepreneurs design their business from the start to be sustainable, profitable operations that work without them.
That’s the critical factor, because unless the business works without you, you still have a job and the business controls you.
When the business works without you, you have a valuable, wealth creation vehicle that frees you to enjoy your life.
The true definition of entrepreneurship is to create an enterprise that works on autopilot, providing you with wealth and freedom, without having to be involved in making decisions or doing work in the business every day. That’s when it’s fun.
For the true entrepreneur, the business is the product. The only reason for the entrepreneur to work in the business is to discover how the business works best. They develop the systems that become the foundation for future growth, in providing methods that others can follow without asking how to do the job. They don’t keep making all the decisions without empowering others to run their business for them.
If your goal is not to replace yourself in your business, you are trapping yourself in having to work hard for survival, even if it is profitable. Eventually the hard work and pressure will wear you down and your business and your life will be anything but fun.
In most businesses, the true entrepreneurial tasks are neglected. The real tasks that would eventually create freedom are overlooked when you are so busy making sales, or doing the workload of two normal employees. Or when you spend your time just putting out the fires, fixing the urgent issues that are upsetting customers or slowing the cashflow, without also designing the business to prevent those things happening again.
If you feel like you are always playing catch-up and not getting ahead, make sure the path you are on is not a downward spiral that leads you deeper and deeper into the trap of hard work and dependency on you.
Others have succeeded by taking a different path.
Sometimes that path seems counter intuitive and it’s hard to stay on it when you see fires raging around you.
But think about it.
If you keep doing what you’ve always done, you’ll keep getting the same results.
It’s time to take stock.
If your business isn’t fun, you must be doing it wrong.
Take a quick check and see if you are doing it like the majority who end up working long stressful hours. Or are you following the example of the successful few?
It shouldn’t be hard to work out.
Don’t say you don’t have time. It’s an easy read, but it’s packed with the answers that will set you free.
Be like Garry Prigg, who said this is the best business book he’s ever read – three times!