There are several prerequisites for having a business that loves you as much as you love being a business owner.
It’s tempting to delude yourself into accepting less than you deserve because you’re so enamored with the concept of being a business owner.
The reality of it can be a much different story.
When we live in a state of delusion, we’ll accept less than we deserve. We put up with and tolerate behavior that is not conducive to our well-being.
So how do you know if your business is being true to you? How do you know if it’s putting you above all else? How do you know if it would take a bullet for you?
“What’s a body to do?”, you ask.
Establish criteria and expectations that will allow you to lead a lifestyle that inspires you.
1. Schedule vacations
Without proper planning, you could end up working throughout the entire year. When you do your business planning (you DO do that don’t you?), decide how much time you want to take off and then block it out on your calendar. You don’t have to know where you’re going to go (although that helps), you just need to commit to when.
2. Work in your sweet spot
Most people go into business because of a passion or area of expertise thinking that’s how they’ll spend most of there time. Then they realize there is so much more that’s required in running a business. When you’re new you may not be able to afford all of the help you need, but before you think you CAN afford it, start outsourcing tasks you hate or aren’t good at. Doing so will actually free you up to be more creative and thus afford you the time to work on things that will generate more sales.
3. Value your time an expertise
You deserve to be paid what you’re worth. Focus on sharing your gifts with others for recompense in addition to the pure joy of it. Don’t undervalue your knowledge and passion. People need your unique perspective and want help from someone who knows more than they do.
4. Work with people you adore
This is definitely one of the big perks of being in business. You get to choose your ideal clients. This is particularly true if you’re in a service business. You target the kind of folk you want to work with. You don’t have to make an ‘offer’ to everyone if you’re not interested. Or, you could add a premium to the price so it feels more palatable to you. I don’t strongly recommend that option. It’s one thing to charge more for work you enjoy less. It seems almost mean to do it for such personal reasons as not liking someone. Just say ‘no’ and move on.
5. It pays you well
I remember talking with a graphic designer 20 years ago when I first started my jewelry design business. I sold hand-crafted earrings and necklaces at Art & Wine festivals in northern California. As we were chatting about my new business (I was very excited), I revealed how much I paid in entrance (booth) fees for the more popular shows. Her reaction was “Oh. I guess you’re happy to just break even.”
I looked at her in dismay. “No”, I said. “I almost always make a substantial profit. And on those occasions when I don’t, I know it’s an aberration and I don’t do that particular show again (unless it was just rained out which was a rare occurrence).
That jewelry business paid for a 3 1/2 week trip to Tanzania for a safari, a week in Zanzibar and a week in the ‘bush’ with the Masai. It was a great way to start off in the business world. And even today, my pricing reflects the value I provide to my clients not just the minimum to ‘break even’ and cover the bills.
So, if your business loves you, you’ll enjoy your work and your clients. You’ll have time to relax and enjoy live.
You’ll be valued by your clients and you’ll be paid what you’re worth.