Monday, December 12, 2011

There Is No Overtime for Entrepreneurs

When you run the business there is no overtime, there is only all-the-time.

The number of hours that entrepreneurs put into launching and growing their ventures can be daunting.  When the buck stops at your desk you are responsible for every little detail, and if your business is growing then the number of issues that you will need to address can appear overwhelming from the outside.  Product and service issues, accounting, legal, HR, sales, marketing, facilities, customer service, IT, vendor relations, and all the other functions of running the business ultimately land on your desk and need attention.

Ignoring any problem and wishing it will go away will cause it to fester into a bigger concern.  Delegating can also be a problem in the early stages, as until you have experienced leaders on your team there might not be anyone whom can take the ultimate responsibility for the decisions. Entrepreneurs must be decisive and action oriented or they will get caught in the loop of ever shrinking amounts of time and a never ending to-do list.

Those who are committed to guiding their dream are rarely are burdened by the amount of work that goes into their company.  When creating the long-term and sustainable entity is fused into your core, the hours do not seem like work.  Those who bore of the monotonous parts of the business may be flirting with failure.  The intimate pieces of being entrepreneurial must be of your soul to keep pushing you forward when times get tough.

It is common for entrepreneurs to get frustrated or angry with the tedious parts of running the company.  The reality is that when you are emotionally engaged in anything it can cause volatility at times.  There are many famous examples of great leaders of industry who have outrageous tempers and outbursts.  Being all encompassed in a cause will make it hard to see the rest of your world in perspective.  Keeping a balance is something you must do with intention.

Be prepared that there will be days when you question why there is nobody else around you who can solve a problem or lighten your load. Know that growing a business can be very lonely, even when you have close friends, a supportive family, and dedicated employees. Strive to make early hires who are entrepreneurial and are willing and excited to roll up their sleeves and work long hours.  Too many people are watching the clock and questioning their personal time commitment, and this will dumbfound an entrepreneur.

Surround yourself with peers who are also entrepreneurs.  There are many formal organizations that exist to create networking and education opportunities for those who run businesses to build friendships and share experiences.  Being around others who are tackling similar issues in their companies is a fast way to understanding the shared strains of leadership.  Enterpreneurs Organization (EO), Vistage, and Young Presidents Organization (YPO) are just a few examples.  Your local Chamber of Commerce or trade association will also know of other groups where you can participate.

The old adage, "All work and not play makes Jack a dull boy" is true for entrepreneurs.  Sometimes the excitement of the business can cause people to ignore everything else.  While there are no real days off when you are running a company, be proactive in carving out time for the people you love and the outside activities that re-charge your batteries.  This might require scheduling the time, but if you put it in your calendar, make it a priority and then keep true to the commitment.  The rush of working can be misleading and you need to invest the proper time in cultivating your relationships (including your relationship with yourself).

Nobody said being an entrepreneur was easy.  There is no overtime, sick days, vacations days, etc...  However, if you really love what you are doing, you do not care.

Have A Great Day

thom singer

1 comment:

Leslie M said...

Chris Justice has some great content on entrepreneurship, too.

This post reminds me of one of Thom's golden rules: get thee into a peer group. You need one more than ever when you're going at it alone or nearly alone.