I caught up with a friend the other day and we had an interesting conversation which has bearing on what we have been talking about.
She is a life/personal/business coach/consultant. Over the past three years or so she has been trying to find her place, to clarify what she is about and how she does business. She did courses, created workshops, wrote books, did speaking gigs, went to networking events… all the things that a successful coach/consultant should be doing (or be seen to be doing).
Recently she had an epiphany of sorts. Amidst all the doing of the “shoulds”, she had lost sight of the type of work that truly made her happy and which brought real meaning to her life. Thus she adjusted her activities to dovetail with what made sense to her. Yes to more one on one work and group facilitation work. No to speaking gigs and full-on networking events. And the results were quite amazing. She’s enjoying her business again. Clients are coming in. And I have not seen her so focused, clear and contented for a long time.
When it comes to business, there are loads of “shoulds” – you should grow, you should outsource, you should employ people, you should advertise, your should cut costs, you should do PR this way, you should always sell more etc etc. Certainly the media portrays an almost universal way of being in business – the suited guy looking to penetrate the next market segment and hoping that someone will buy him out soon.
This makes it challenging to remember that as the owners of our businesses, we CAN design it to suit our personalities, our needs, our interests/passions and indeed our lives (and not the other way round). This requires hard work – least of all working to understand who you are and what makes you happy.
This is not for everybody of course. There is certainly nothing wrong with setting up a business with the sole purpose to make lots of money and selling it. Or indeed to work for someone else whereby you simply fulfill an articulated role without having to deal with all the deep existential questions.
So this brings us back to the $2 question: what makes you happy?
How can you design your business such that you spent the maximum time doing what makes you happy?
If you find yourself doing something you don't enjoy - ask why. Are you doing it because it really isn't such a big deal and it makes no sense to outsource it (such as spending two hours a quarter on the books)? Are you doing it because "someone" said you should, or you think there are no other options (such as in-your-face marketing vs attraction)?