Franklin D. Roosevelt once said, “Men are not prisoners of fate, but only prisoners of their own minds.” As an entrepreneur, it is easy to be a slave or prisoner to your business. We are dedicated and driven to become successful, we sacrifice time, sweat, family, and ourselves. But, at what cost? If we have a true asset that runs itself and can provide for us in good and bad times, then it might be worth it.
Ponder these questions:
- Can you even escape for two weeks from your business?
- Can you walk away from your business today for 1 or 2 months and come back to a smooth operating and profitable business?
I had one client that was a husband and wife, who had not been on vacation together for more than 3 years because someone had to stay and run the business.
- Have you ever had a work-free vacation?
If the answers to these questions are “no,” then, I hate to tell you, but you don’t have a successful business; you have a glorified job to which you are a prisoner. Your success may have led to you being a prisoner, but you are a prisoner all the same.
I have been there before myself. I respect your dedication and success, but you desire more. Most of my clients want to be a business manager, in part, due to wanting freedom or possibilities. You deserve that. I get paid to help my clients “face reality” and then hold them accountable for the changes and goals they desire.
Bottom line, you should run your business; it should not run you, your family, or your life. Your business should work harder so you don’t have to. It should be systems-dependent and not owner-dependent or expert-dependent for its success. It should have its own heart, mind, and soul – it should not steal your vital organs and spirit!
I had an acquaintance that worked his business for 7 years, and after a back injury had to sell it. Unfortunately, because the business was too dependent on him, he could not sell it – he just had a glorified job. He ended up having to sell it as parts and inventory, getting pennies on the dollar.
If you are a prisoner to your business, you have it backward. Your business should serve you and your dreams. It should give you greater freedom, not less. In fact, your business, properly designed, should function practically without you, not solely because of you. Your business should not depend upon your presence, personality, problem-solving, and perspiration for its daily survival. If so, your business does not work– you do!
Consider this: If everything in your business flows through you and is dependent upon you, then you are restricting dramatically the growth and profits of your company. As a single human being, there are natural limits to the amount of work, problems, and even decisions that can flow effectively through you in a given day. You become the clog or bottleneck. You create your own prison. Stop missing out on greater personal freedom, money, and happiness.
Let me be very clear: you are the expert in your business and industry and should be. But, do you see CEOs of Fortune 500 companies doing everything in their companies, being the bottleneck of the company?
To stop being a slave of your business, you first have to face reality. Where is your business today? Are you a CEO (chief executive officer) or a CEO (chief everything officer)? In the next few years, will our business be an asset or a glorified job?
Next, you have to identify clear solutions, that will lead you to your true dream – having a business that is an asset and runs itself. Like a GPS gives you clear turn-by-turn directions to reach your destination, you need clear solutions for your business to reach its.
And, finally, you have to stay on track. Many businesses develop a business plan, but less than 10% usually implement and follow-through to completion. It takes discipline, focus, and accountability.
A quote I share with my clients is:
“Entrepreneurship is about living a few years of your life like most people won’t,
So that you can spend the rest of your life like most people can’t.” – Anonymous