Most entrepreneurs start their own business with a vision of freedom – the freedom to choose your hours, choose your clients, choose where you work from, choose what you sell.
And once they get a sniff of that freedom, it is very hard to go back to working for someone else.
What most fledgling business owners don’t realise is that very easily your business can begin to control you rather than you controlling it. You end up working all the time (way more than if you worked for someone else), you have to have your finger on the pulse of every aspect of your business (yes people problems become your problems) and you have the financial responsibility of making sure that bills get paid and staff get their pay packet.
That is a lot of pressure.
“Freedom is the oxygen of the soul.” ― Moshe Dayan
The freedom piece quickly flies out the door. In fact, according to Michael Grinder, a world renowned expert in the power of influence, those people you hire at the bottom of the ladder, have the most freedom of all. They leave their job on time, get a guaranteed wage and don’t have to think about work again until they clock back on.
But don’t despair. You can have your own business and build in the freedom you dream of. You just need to consciously do this. Here are some tips on how…
GETTING BACK YOUR FREEDOM
You might be thinking, ‘well how do these ladies know how to get back the balance and wrangle a business so it doesn’t rule your life?’ The answer is… because we have done it before. We have built up our own small business – from a computer in the lounge room into a multi-million dollar business and we’ve made all the mistakes along the way. We are guilty of working 24/7, suffering burn out and even throwing our hands in the air on the odd occasion exclaiming ‘this is all too hard!’. We’ve been there and we’ve got ourselves out of that situation. This is how we did it…
1. Build your team of experts
No you can’t do it all yourself. You have to make sure your energy is going towards those parts of the business that are in your remit, that you feel in flow when doing. If you spend years doing tasks that cause you tension and exhaust you, then it will be an uphill battle. So realise early on that you can’t do this all yourself. Find those experts that you can build into your immediate team or into your ecosystem, to help support you.
2. Analyse the data
Make sure you are working with a great accountant and advisory team that can prepare reports with you every month so that you can see exactly where you are making money and where you are losing money. And act quickly on any part of the business that is becoming a drain.
One thing that was transformative for us was when we introduced EOS – Entrepreneurial Operating System for Businesses. This model gave us the ability to have complete transparency on every aspect of the business – such as utilisation with staff, sales pipeline, proposals out, proposals won and invoices paid. It meant we knew when there was a problem looming and we could act on it immediately.
At the end of the day your business needs to make money. When your business is not making money, any feelings you have around lack of freedom quickly become compounded.
3. Set your boundaries
We understand that you want to be there for your clients or your audience but at the same time you can’t do this at the expense of your mental health. It’s OK to say no. No you don’t work on Sundays, no you can’t deliver this project in 2 weeks when your timeline clearly indicates 4. No you can’t match the quote of the company down the road with only 2 staff when you have 15.
As business owners we have to get out of the habit of operating on fear. We worry that if we say no we will lose a sale or we will lose a client. What if you do lose a sale, but that then opens the door to another client who will pay your fees without haggling, a client that respects the value you bring.
4. Shift your mindset
It’s very easy to feel overwhelmed and start to operate from a ‘not possible’ space. Freedom is somewhat in the mind and inhibited by our own limiting beliefs.
Let me give you an example. As business owners, we dreamt of introducing the concept ‘‘work from anywhere’. We wanted the freedom to be able to work from the beach for a week, or from France, or from LA. But when we looked into how we could make this happen, we decided that it just wasn’t possible. We assumed it would detrimentally affect the culture of our business. It’s the fear of the unknown. So we parked this thought and we continued to get up and go into the same office, every single day.
When COVID hit in 2020 we urgently had to make major changes in the business to allow everyone to work from home. There was no choice. We got the tech working seamlessly, we introduced online events to ensure human interaction was still very real and guess what? 95% of the team loved working from anywhere. And for those that didn’t we organised a desk in a co-working space, allowing them to go into an office every day.
Having your own business can mean the dream life you’ve always wanted – you just have to get smart and make the business work for you, rather than you being controlled by it.
Happy freedom wrangling.
Jodie + Em xx