I see too many business owners who hate the majority of what it takes to run a business. They add the caveat, “But I love the actual work!” I know – because I’ve been there myself – these owners need a major mindset shift to climb out of their current situation. If you want to do what you love, it’s better to love all of what you do.
Excited to launch into a passion-based business, founders begin with boundless enthusiasm for the work they do. They know how to do whatever they do better than anyone else. Typically under-funded, they personally fill every role the business requires. The result is inevitably exhaustion. The original passion for the business quickly fades into frustration and then compounding errors, and finally inertia, then resignation. Overwhelm sets in.
Three Routes Out of Overwhelm
Route 1: Hire help.
This can be a catch-22. Most passion-based businesses are not initially cash-rich. So, when overwhelm sets in, they double down and burn the midnight oil. What else can they afford? This is just digging a deeper exhaustion hole.
Then when a well-meaning peer suggests, “Just get a virtual assistant,” or, “Hire a bookkeeper,” the owner desperately wants to say yes. Sometimes they go into debt to do it. Unfortunately, hiring in the midst of desperation is not usually the answer. There’s no system for off-loading tasks, and there are added expenses, without necessarily defining sources of additional income.
Do it: If you have a process in place you can easily hand to someone else, and you are confident in your revenue stream.
Route 2: Get a Mentor – Not a Magic Bullet.
Business coaches and consultants are widely available in almost every category of business. Unfortunately, too many are in the business of selling overnight 6 and 7-figure success if the owner just changes one “magic bullet” thing, for the low fee of $297 per month.
Alternately, the coaches can charge several thousands of dollars to help with marketing, sales, business planning, and structure. This is not bad information, and there is plenty to be said for having ongoing accountability.
The challenge here is that many owners who have found they are struggling in the weeds are all-to-happy for someone – anyone – to rescue them. In their exhaustion, they don’t really want to hear that what is required is more work.
Do it: If you understand that sounding too good to be true (aka “no hard work involved”) is too good to be true. No matter how high-powered your mentor’s strategy may be, your success requires you taking the effective action and learning a different way of showing up in your business.
Route 3: Stop Working In the Business, and Start Working On the Business.
Far from cliché, this is actually more applicable today than ever before. As the classic entrepreneurial book The E-Myth tells us, the doers, not entrepreneurs (in the traditional sense), usually start businesses.
As owners, we can become true entrepreneurs, but we must love the business more than we love what we are doing. So, if you love being a yoga instructor, don’t open a yoga studio. Be a yoga instructor. Yoga instructors who open studios, but don’t love running a studio (eg.: bookkeeping, marketing, selling, hiring, etc.) will quickly learn to hate being a yoga instructor. If you love designing websites, don’t open an agency. Design websites.
Loving the business is primary in running a successful business. It doesn’t have to be about profits over the product, which is born out by the rise of the B Corporations, who lead with being of benefit to the world. It just has to be about having a plan, a strategy, a vision, and understanding how you want to grow before you jump into the day-to-day fray.
Do it: If you want to give your love to a thriving business, not just get paid for what you love doing (that’s called having a job.)