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Is Working 18 Hour Days Part of Your Business Vision Statement?
This article emphasizes the importance of having a vision for your business, so you don't fall into the trap of working endless hours.
You've heard the sob stories. Seems like every business owner has his or her own story of working 18+ hours a day, seven days a week to get there business off the ground. If you get a group of business owners together, they all start moaning about how hard they work. "I haven't had a day off in five years." one says. "80 hours is a good week." another complains. Does it really have to be that way? Is that your business vision? The big question is, are you self-employed, or are you a business owner? They are not the same thing. If you are self-employed, your business depends on you. You are the person doing the work that brings in the money that pays the bills so that you can work even harder to do the work and pay the bills and on and on and on. If you are self-employed, don't be surprised if you are working more than employees. After all, you not only do the work of an employee, you also are responsible for all the support tasks that make that work possible. And that takes time. There is another way. Most likely, you started your business because you felt you had better skills or a better idea than other businesses out there. But you do not have to be your business. In fact, your business will not be able to grow unless you make it a point to get "you" out of the picture. Your business vision should allow for you to become the owner, not self-employed. From the beginning, focus on setting up systems and procedures, so your business can run your way, without you doing the work. I know it is "easier" to do it yourself, so it's done right. But if you are the only one who can do it, how is your business ever going to be able to run without you? For this week, keep a notebook handy, and write down everything you do. At the end of the week, take a look at how you are spending your time. How many of your daily tasks are truly things that only you can do? How much of your time is spent "fixing" things, because things are not done the same each time? How much of your time is spent on tasks that don't even really have to be done, or can be outsourced to others? If you truly want to stop working so "hard", you have to learn to work smart. Find the one item in your log that either annoys you the most, or that you feel is the biggest time waster. Fix it. Repeat. Sounds simple, but most of us keep doing the same things over and over, and then wonder why things aren't getting better. The only thing that you, as the business owner, have to do is provide the vision and direction for your business. That truly is your only irreplaceable task. As long as your business depends on you to get the work done, you will work long hours. You will be tired. You will feel like you are working harder this year to make the same income. After all, you are self-employed. Is that your business vision? Do you want to keep working harder and harder, until you finally crack? If not, it's time to take the "you" out of your business. One task at a time.