Ah, the ups and downs of owning your own small business. Things are going well one day, your course is set with momentum growing, and then the next day it all changes and you find yourself having to change with it.
I’ve been married to an entrepreneur for fourteen years. We’ve had years of plenty and years of not so plenty. Any time I hear the words, “So, I’ve been thinking…” come out of his mouth, my breath catches because I know the course of our life is about to change. I married a dreamer. But I also married a man who can carry out that dream with amazing results.
I guess it’s a good thing I like change.
There’s an art to owning your own business. It’s a delicate balance between being fluid enough to wait patiently and having the guts to pull the trigger and go for it. It’s also like a roller coaster. You’re working hard to get up to the top…..and then you just have to hold on for the ride (it’s kind of ironic that I don’t really like roller coasters…..).
There are a few things I’ve learned over the years. I have to remind myself each time change inevitably comes and I have to be fluid and change with it (because, let’s face it; I only like the change when I feel like I’m controlling it).
1. Enjoy the process
In years of plenty, take time to enjoy the fruits of your labor. In leaner years, find joy in weeding out the “extras” that you don’t really have to have. There’s a season for everything, and there’s always something for which to be thankful.
2. Know the process
Change happens. There are ups and there are downs, and you just have to fix that fact in your mind. Yep, there’s going to be an inevitable dip. Be patient and wait it out. Most likely it’ll go back up.
3. Relinquish control
There are times when sleep is scarce because of the worry; especially when it’s not just your family relying on the income from your business. The pressure is real. Burnout is real. Anxiety is real. When you find yourself overcome with the weight of it all you know it’s time to relinquish control. No matter how hard you work, no matter how good you are at micromanaging every little thing, you can’t control the outcome. And that’s okay. There’s peace in giving up control.
4. Keep your eye on the real prize
Having enough to take care of your family and the families of the people you employ is important. Money is needed, for sure, but it’s not the most important thing. Investing in people is where the joy and satisfaction come from. Long-term living, where you aren’t just concerned with the here and now, but on the future of the people you’re investing in, is wise in many ways.
Small business can be the most challenging aspect of your life, but it can also be so very rewarding. Especially when you’re doing it with a person (or people) that you love. Keeping an eye on what’s most important, knowing the process, slowing down to enjoy it, and relinquishing control are ways to get the most out of this crazy ride.