Who is running your business?

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I wouldn’t say that I am seasoned entrepreneur, but after running a business for the past year and a half, I have learned a few things…

Recently I have thought a lot about the title of this blog. Who is setting the tone of my business? Myself or my clients? After giving this some thought, I realized that I was no longer the one running the business, my clients were.

You see, with the business that I am in, there is a fairly high demand. It is one of the reasons my wife and I started this business, but I must say, with a high demand and little help, the business can start to turn on you.

Our first year in business there was a very high rate of growth. Along the way we had to implement policies such as a cancellation policy. I knew our clients would not like it, but it was something we had to do. It really helped ground our schedules more which was helpful.

Eventually we hit a point where we needed help. There was no way around it, so we started hiring employees. This was quite the growth period; workmans comp, payroll, labor laws, employee handbook, high turnover, etc. After going through a few employees that don’t work out, you become so grateful when hiring an employee that does their job well.

Having employees changes everything, especially in our line of work. It really impacts the clients. We really started feeling this energy from everyone that nobody wanted us to continue growing and hiring employees. They only wanted Heather and I doing the work. In a way this can be seen as a compliment and also can become very frustrating. We experienced both.

It’s funny. When I worked for other companies, I would always think how I would do things differently. Now that I have my own business, I understand why my former bosses did what they did. If everyone had the chance to run their own business, it would completely change their opinions on their former managers and bosses. Don’t get me wrong there will always be a few bad apples out there, but I certainly understand the stress a manager and owner goes through now.

So, who is running our business now? The energy is shifting for us. We are taking back control. We have had to update policies and we have eliminated working on weekends all together. That is a big no no in our line of work. You just don’t do that. But we did and I feel the freedom already starting to return. The business started consuming our lives to the point where there was no room for anything else. It just wasn’t healthy.

Something I am learning lately is how valuable my time is. I know that the more time I have to put my energy into things that I love doing, the more happy I am. I often felt that I wasn’t doing what I loved, I was just resisting what I hated. That resulted in a lot of bad job experiences throughout my life. I love being an entrepreneur, but I think it is important to start a business that you truly love. I also think that even spending an excessive amount of time doing what you love can be unhealthy. I love filmmaking and I used to create daily vlogs on YouTube. As much as I loved making videos, I started not enjoying it anymore. Balance is key.

With the tone resetting with our business, I am already looking at what is next. I used to think that expanding with a dog daycare or creating business management software was the next step on our business journey. To be honest, I don’t think any of those ideas have to do with our next step.

Eliminating debt, passive income, art, happiness, travel, the unknown, meditation, being healthly – this is what I envision. All I know is that the growth period is going to be huge. Challenge accepted.

To be continued…

-Andrew

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