Owning your own business can blur your personal and business life. Emotions and responsibilities on each side of the equation are complicated. One thing is for sure, if your business is messed up, your personal life suffers. Ironically, if your personal life has issues, you may or may not have a messed-up business.
In fact, through the years, I’ve witnessed some businesses succeed because of ownership’s need to win somewhere.
Yes, there are many an exciting story about successful entrepreneurs, but there’s also many others about a ruined life or bankruptcy. Owning a business and finding personal balance can always be a struggle.
Being an entrepreneur can be just as much of an addiction as alcohol and drugs. Getting your juice by the next deal or sale can be a never-ending high. Learning to control the emotional adrenaline and bringing balance to your life is a long-term cure. Boring businesses are good businesses. Here’s some steps you can take to have a more balanced life.
1. Make Money
The U.S. Bureau of Labor statistics says 50% of all businesses fail within the first five years. Lack of money puts stress on yourself, your business and your relationships. Make money and use that money to grow rather than try to grow to make more money. Know your costs. Know where you make and lose money. Most contractors who do under $1 million in sales double their income the first two years we work with them. We accomplish this with simple formulas on determining where you make and lost money and developing business strategies.
Lately, we’ve had an influx of millennial business owners who are trying to build a contracting business that’s less owner driven. Great idea, but you can’t do this in three years, and if you’re not careful, you’ll build a financial hole that will take years to get out of. If you don’t make money at $500,000 in sales, you probably won’t make money at $2 million. Get the business details; grow like a burning ember, not a wildfire.
2. Practice Good Time Management
Focus on activities that have return on investment and business goals. As your business grows, learn to delegate less profitable tasks. Too many owners fail to succeed because they spend too much time picking up material and babysitting crews. Hire a good office manager to help you so you can focus on what’s important. Adapt your calendar so you can spend adequate time with your family and other personal relationships. Traditionally, I was not a morning person, but I learned to get up at 5 a.m. and do my overload work then so I could be home for dinner. Make your personal relationships as important as your business relationships.
3. Understand Yourself and Be Brave Enough to Change
Lying is never good, but lying to yourself can be particularly destructive. Know what you will and will not do. Hire people to help you with things you are not good at. Keep in good health. Good health is more than just working out. If you’re extremely ADHD or have sleep apnea, have it treated. Don’t let your ego get in the way.
If your business has not been successful and you are personally struggling, don’t be surprised if you become depressed. Depression is driven by many factors, but a sense of hopelessness and isolation goes hand in hand with it. It’s very unhealthy to do the same thing over and over and with the same negative results. If you own your own business and are overwhelmed with business struggles, call me, I’d be happy to talk with you at no charge. I can’t be your shrink, but I can help you get the business started in the right direction. Life’s too short to be unhappy and struggling.
4. Find Balance
I think balance is different for everyone, but if your only passion is your business, what happens when the business succeeds, or it becomes time to retire? If you own a successful business, one day you will be financially independent. What are you going to do then? Know when you have won financially and plan life accordingly. Define what success looks like and work toward it. If you’re an adrenaline jockey, use hobbies, not your business, to get your jollies. Ski the trees, bicycle race, climb mountains, etc., but refrain from changing or doing something new just because you’re bored.
5. Find Key People to Depend On
Running a business can be a lonely and isolated endeavor. Find and develop some key people you can depend on. Start with a strong office manager. This person needs to be someone with experience who’s a take-charge person. Most are going to cost you $40,000 to $50,000 a year. It’s probably not a family member because this person needs to be able to tell you what to do and guide you without the family politics and emotion. Employ several key field people who you know you can depend on. Be patient, it may take time to find and develop these people.
Enjoy your business but don’t be addicted to it. No one is going to put your business’ annual sales on your tombstone.