Archive for August, 2010

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Time is Money: 5 Steps Toward Balanced Business Ownership

August 16, 2010

I didn’t feel like working the other day; It was a Monday morning and I actually didn’t feel like working. That bothers me. In a big way!. Partly because I come from a family of workaholics, and thus our self-esteem is all nicely packaged with our work. But mostly it bothers me because 1) I had a fabulously free and fun weekend and 2) Monday is the day that I get to work ON my business, not IN my business. So, shouldn’t I be excited about going to work on a Monday!

I called my coach. He said “Stacey, don’t you think that there’s about 25 million Americans at this very moment who don’t feel like going to work today? Doesn’t that just make you normal?” Good point; I’m normal. I was really hoping I wasn’t, but I am.

How does this relate to the small business owner and their money? Well, time is money. In my experience, business owners fall to one side or the other of the scale; few fall in the middle.

There are the “I have all of these other things I need to get done, and I am the keeper of my own destiny, so I can work whenever I feel like it” business owners. Fine; great; IF they are independently wealthy, or have a wildly profitable business, or don’t have clients or customers that are relying on them. Then they can work whenever they want.

But for all of us who are normal, time is money, and not feeling like working can become an issue with our bottom line. My recommendation to clients who struggle in this area is to develop a schedule for themselves; an ‘employee contract’. If it is within your integrity to work 20, 30, 40 or even 50 hours per week, then provide yourself some clarity about it and stick to your schedule. If you’ve provided yourself this flexibility, and still consistently miss your 30 hours, well, you might consider an employee counseling session with yourself.

Would YOU hire someone that expected to earn a full time salary, agree that they only had to work 30, and then be happy when they were constantly on the phone with friends, running personal errands, coming in late and leaving early? I’m guessing no. I’m guessing you’d be counseling that employee, or firing them.

It is helpful to look at our performance as business owners from time to time from a different angle. Are we too soft on ourselves, or are we too harsh?

Some practical suggestions:

  1. Create a vacation, sick and mental health day policy for yourself. Track your time taken just like you would an employee.
  2. On days you don’t feel like working, rearrange your schedule for the day and fill it lightly with work activities you truly enjoy.
  3. When taking personal calls during the day, set an egg timer; or let your friends know that you can’t take personal calls during the day.
  4. Schedule quarterly or semiannual retreat days for yourself. You are your business’ most valuable asset.
  5. From Bryan Dodge: create a geographical line between the office and your work, and when you cross the line, you’ve crossed into work life, or home life. Never the two shall mix.