Welcome to the 12th episode of Smart Brand Marketing with Tom Libelt.
I know what it feels like to start a business and get so caught up in it that it completely burns you out. One of the hardest things to do for almost any entrepreneur is to start letting go of tasks. Pete Hall takes us on his journey of regaining freedom that took him over a decade to even start. It all goes down in this session of The Smart Brand Marketing Podcast.
Regaining Freedom In Your Business
For most of us, the reason why our businesses exist is that we want to do things our way. There is a certain level of independence that running a business affords to us that cannot be matched by a 9 to 5 job. Of course, there is that opportunity to earn more than a job can offer to you.
However, there comes a time when any businessman loses that sense of freedom and independence and still retain full ownership on their businesses. How does this become possible and what can you do to remain fully free in running your business? To answer these questions, we would have to look at a few things first.
Is Your Business Running You?
Do keep in mind that, in all instances, that you are always in command over the goings-on in your business. You can call it quits if you want to and your business will not fight back. With that said, however, there comes a point in it that your businesses is seemingly prodding you to make decisions that you did not plan or intend for. This is where all sense of control over your business is lost and the business will be the one running YOU; not the other way around.
How does this manifest? There are 5 ways.
- 1. You Don’t Have Enough Time For Yourself AnymoreFor any business owner, time is a valuable asset. In fact, you may have put your business up because you don’t want to do more out of the same 8-12 hours you have allotted for earning money.
However, things can get too hectic in your business that you spend more time addressing problems than doing more beneficial activities for the business like planning new strategies. Soon enough, your approach towards business shifts from making things even better to just surviving on a day to day basis.
It might even seep into your personal life with you holding off on vacations or even the holidays to be in your business. There’s nothing wrong with taking your business into your home, mind you. It only becomes a problem when it prevents you from taking care of your own needs outside of the business.
- 2. You Start Missing Out Crucial Details
The thing about stress is that it forces you to hyper-focus on small things that you miss out on other important matters. You spend so much time fixing the smallest of problems in your business that you miss out on other priorities. You start accumulating fees, creating penalties and fines, and even miss out on important opportunities.
- 3. Problems Are Recurring
So, you encountered this problem that you devoted your entire day to solving. It’s all well and good for a few weeks I your business until the same problem popped up. Most likely, it was because you did not address the problem sufficiently or you lacked the time and resources you need to fix it properly. Either way, your business is facing the same problems on a regular basis and you have no idea why they keep popping up.
- 4. You Start Micromanaging
A telltale sign that your business is running you is the people under you can’t make a decision without you. You have seemingly placed yourself in a position where every decision or move the business has to make has to pass through you. This will result in a bottleneck where you will get overwhelmed by too many things at once which means your business cannot function as efficiently as it should be.
- 5. The Business Cannot Function Without You
Here’s a scenario: you have to walk away from the business like, say, you have to take a vacation with your family for a few days. You return from your trip and find out that everything fell apart when you were not around. This problem is understandable if your business is just starting but it becomes concerning if your business has already been operating for a few years. By design, a business should run even if you are not in it. If it doesn’t, then there’s something wrong in the business right at its core.
What Kind of Freedom Do You Need?
Believe it or not, a business can afford to you several kinds of freedom.
- Physical Freedom
The ability to earn money doing whatever you want and wherever you do it is something that lies at the very core of the business. Technically speaking, you don’t even have to show up on your business every day to be deserving of a portion of the income it earns regularly. All you have to make sure is that everything is set up in such a way that the business has some form of autonomy from you.
- Financial Freedom
Ask any person that has a job and the one thing that they would tell you about what they want is the ability to earn more from doing preferably less. Unlike a job, with its fixed rates, the amount of money you earn from a business is directly proportional to the amount of effort you have put in it and, of course, the number of sales it successfully closes. It’s not as secured as a paycheck, mind you, but the free-flowing nature of income in a business is far more favorable.
- Time-based Freedom
The premise of running a business is that you want to make the most out of your available time, something that you don’t have when you’re stuck at a desk job. The freestyle nature of business allows you to determine what you want to do at what time and still have your goals met at the end of the day.
So, Which of these Freedoms is Most Important?
Without a doubt, that would go to time not because the other two freedoms are less important but because they can’t be enjoyed without time. What good is earning a lot of money if you don’t have the time to buy anything with it? What good is being able to go anywhere you want and do anything you like if you are running a tight schedule?
Securing your time-based freedom is also important for the fact that time is an ever-depleting resource you personally have. Think of it this way: the money that you spent on food waiting for someone who never showed up can be earned back the day after. The hour you wasted, on the other hand? It’s gone forever. Start putting in more value to your time as a commodity and the rest of the freedoms that a business can afford you should follow.
How to Retake Control in your Business?
So how you do re-secure your freedom in your business? The process is actually quite simple but there are a few tips that you should keep in mind.
- 1. Optimize EverythingFirst of all, stop micromanaging. That’s not your job. Stressing over the smallest of details in your business is a surefire way to waste time and can leave your business at risk of not scaling properly as time passes. As the owner and manager of your business, it’s not your responsibility to check every transaction, monitor every review for the business, or do marketing. You employed people for those jobs so let them do it.
Instead, what you should do is find ways to make things more sufficient on your businesses while also taking the look at the feedback from your staff and customers. You have to think optimization as this way: plan every transaction or process in your business to be so simple to the point that your staff can be depended on to completing them without you hovering over their shoulders. With your business properly optimized, this should free up your schedule to do other important matters such as meeting with partners, securing new deals, and improving your business’s relations with the market.
- 2. Treat Your Business as another Employee
Remember that “be your own boss” premise of business? You should always remember that since you likely wanted to set up your own business so that you don’t have to work for another person ever again. If you just set your business up so that you can just be overwhelmed by its problems, then why choose running your business over having a job? It’s practically the same thing with that kind of a setup.
To avoid making this mistake, always make it a point to run the business in your own terms. If your schedule becomes too hectic, you have all the authority to clear it up by delegating your work to someone else. If they feel hesitant about it, then a little motivation by way of incentives should help.
And if some system or person is too problematic, there is always the option to cut them off completely from the business. It’s your baby, after all. Why put up with things in it that can’t help you reach your goals?
The point here is that never, in any way, shape, or form, allow your business to pressure you to doing more work without extra pay or guilt you into cancelling personal appointments or vacations. That would really defeat the point of being the employer as opposed to being the employee.
- 3. Always Remember Why You Started the Business
So what were your reasons for starting the business? Was it to earn a lot of money or to provide an actual service to your community? Whatever the reasons are, it is certain that none of your goals involve wasting your time on things that require you work with no end on sight.
The point is that your goals should serve as the direction that your business should follow. If your business is no longer letting you accomplish your dreams, then put it in its place. Always remember that the business exists because of you, not the other way around.
Coping with Crunch Time
Regardless of how hands-free you have set yourself up for your business, there will always come a time when you have to exert a lot of effort in it in order to meet goals or requirements. This is what is called Crunch Time and it can be a crucial period for you and your staff as the results here can make or break your business.
Crunch time can be as simple as meeting the order of a high-paying client or as urgent as balancing your accounts and sealing a deal with a potential partner. Whatever form it takes, crunch time is always hectic, stressful, and even nerve-wracking.
So how do you deal with it? First of all, minimize distractions in your work area. You must even hold off on other activities if this allows you to complete tasks quickly. Some business owners at crunch time don’t even give a damn about cleaning up their office until everything is complete.
The point is that your mind must be in a focused state so that it can complete objectives in the quickest and most efficient manner possible. Next, come up with a list of tasks to complete and in order of urgency. You can use this list to monitor your progress and the amount of time left for you.
Lastly, and if possible, shut off all communications from the outside world aside from the ones that are really important. Your mind should be able to focus on those tasks and remain so until every goal has been accomplished.
The truth of the matter is that crunch time is a test of your mind’s ability to focus and your business’s flow of work. This is why you must hold off on every non-essential task and get the most critical tasks done before the timer stops. Do it right and those tasks would not become problems that will come back and bite you in the ass in the near future.
The truth of the matter is that running your business can often lead to the blurring of lines between what is business and what is personal. In these instances, it’s quite important that you step back, give your time room to breathe, and reorient everything to see if the business that you have set up is allowing you to achieve your dreams. And when it’s not, it is time for you to step up and regain full control over your business.
Have you found yourself losing control over your business? What other strategies do you know of to regain independence from the business? Let us know in the comments below!
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