Life and Your Business

March 06, 2024 10:41 AM By Paul Boucher

So, last week, a peer I have a ton of respect for made me stop and think for a minute:

I’m excerpting a piece of Avery Swartz’ LinkedIn post:

“So many inspirational business keynotes focus on the “grit” and the “grind” of entrepreneurs waking up at 5am, taking calls with their lawyers while they go into labour, and working late on Sunday nights.

Can we just… not? Can we stop celebrating and platforming this nonsense?...”

The whole post brought forth some terrific comments, and wasn’t much longer. You can find it here.

First, outside of the obvious point that Avery could/should do that keynote. 😊, it made me stop and reflect on the difference in the definitions of success in different cultures. Specifically, the more balanced “work to live” success favored by many European cultures.

And like Avery pointed out, we need MORE people talking about some of the realities of being an entrepreneur WITHOUT the extreme of seeing a post and feeling like we need to call a mental health hotline to talk someone off a ledge. 

There are all sorts of possibilities. From the easy things like how entrepreneurs would either be the best employee they've EVER been returning to a job to how they could never be an employee again. To the more complicated and real wakeup call (for many) as they approach the end of an entrepreneurial career: how about that pension?!! 😧

So, I’ll summarize the financial advice portion that we already know: create a goal, plan early, revisit plan, keep planning continuously, revisit goal, plan some more. 

As for the living as an Entrepreneur – I don’t think I can recommend a finer book about the perils and triumphs of entrepreneurship than The E-Myth Revisited. I’ll point you to one of the key ideas in the book salient to this discussion: “Start a business to satisfy a personal aim in life.” 

If you give your “personal aim” even a modicum of thought, some of the things that might occur to you as you plan are:

Time: How do I want to spend it?

Limits: What do I want my life to look and feel like? A lot of entrepreneurs make the terrible mistake of not visualizing this until they reach a crisis point in their relationships, their business, their lives where they realize all this time, they WERE in charge, and it all came down to THEIR OWN smart choices (or, the other kind).

How much is enough? What does “enough” REALLY mean?

This is a much larger conversation but the essential points I’d want to make to my entrepreneurial self and peers 25 years ago are: 

Chill. You’re smart enough. You care about the right things. You understand your customers are important, but not as important as your new baby girl, or your spouse. 

STOP trying to make an inauthentic “keep up with the Joneses” impression. Be smart with choices involving $. It will make things SO much easier down the line. But, also understand the seemingly contradictory wisdom of “you need to spend money to make money.”

Keep learning. It helps to make sure the fun never stops. It may pause, but you need to know that if you’re doing all the other work, it will be just a pause, and the fun and the success, both in your life and your business, will resume.

That may seem very naïve or far too simplistic, but simple is often the best. 

So, yes, enough worshipping at the altar of the unhealthy, purely materialistic “all in” mentality. It’s time to embrace the life you want to lead while running your business and understanding which serves which. 

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