The Meaning of Work Life

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It’s Sunday night and I’m sitting on the couch hanging out with the family, catching up on TV and work, planning a week ahead, a month ahead a year ahead.. and I figured I’d offer you this insightful observation: You can’t be emotionally detached from what you do for a living if you’re a business owner or manager.

Most of the moderately successful people I talk to often express their desire to treat their business as an ATM that they can rely on to fulfill their dreams all while not having to have a job in the said business.

The rest of this is not really for folks who have jobs, it’s for people who own companies.

Right now I’m working on getting ready for a huge week.

This huge week is really just a matter of lining things up for a huge November – without this baby step things just stay the same.

With a huge November, Q4 will look great again and as the complexities and frustrations we face now get solved the 2012 will look even more incredible.

The more successful this week, this month, this quarter, this year become the better next year will be and the less problems we’ll have.

Slow down..

This entrepreneurial trap of reducing problems in a growing company is a moving target:

The more successful your business becomes the smaller your current problems will become. If your issues are related to the infancy stage in which you’re lacking talent or funding or time, growing business revenues and profits will certainly eliminate a lot of your current problems. Don’t worry, you won’t get nostalgic or start writing a book about how great business success is because you’ll have brand new problems to deal with that will be tougher than the ones you’ve had to deal with before.

Back into the wheel little hamster Smile

The bad & good news..

The bad news of course is that the business never quite becomes an ATM so long as you’re in charge of making sure that ATM has cash in it to spit out at will.

The good news is in realizing that and being realistic about it.

As the carnage of SMB IT consulting and SPFs has taught us, you can’t stay small or think small and build a successful business. There are no mythical blue oceans and you’re not necessarily any more brilliant than the next guy so the challenge isn’t in trying to build a better tool but challenging yourself to become as good as you possibly can with your existing toolset and managing risk correctly as you grow along.

You cannot separate yourself and your ability to manage/control the company. You cannot stay on top of things and become detached. You can’t be in charge and on vacation. You can’t have your cake and eat it too.

This shouldn’t be depressing at all. If it is, then this is probably a good sign that you don’t really love your job/career and you need to sell the business and move to something you enjoy. Or you can completely divest yourself from the business emotionally and make someone else run it, at which point your say and your job there are done. It’s a potential means to an end.

Alternatively, you can learn to love what you do and relish in the challenge of solving tougher and tougher problems. That seems like a lot of work though. I suggest taking up blogging to let off some steam. Or MMA classes, but don’t let them lie to you and tell you it’s a great strength and cardio program because they will hit you and it will hurt much worse than your typical muscle fatigue. Overall, expect a huge toll on your ability to focus.

Now, alternatively… You can become the core of your business that is simply there in an advisory role while not really being a part of the direct output of the business. You may be able to help refine processes, give your opinion on them and how they are implemented.. but you wouldn’t be the one proposing them, implementing them, controlling the quality, execution management, tweaking, revisions and so on.

This is kind of like having your cake but licking the icing off the side of the cake you can’t see. Smile In my opinion, it might be the best.


Above is kind of wishful thinking on my part, what I’m working towards. I still love what I do and love being engaged in being the actual part of the direct input. I’ve always figured that once the day came where I didn’t care enough to think about work someone else would do a much better job, easily.

The beauty of having a small business is that it becomes what you want it to be. You get to enjoy (afterwards; in the present tense it’s a series of calculated risks, long hours and putting up with crap) the journey and if you’re good and lucky it can eventually just become a chain in your investment portfolio that is that emotionally detached cash spitting box in the corner.

In the meantime, I’m the 0.1% and fortunate/motivated to move to 0.01%. Wouldn’t trade it for anything.