If you are like many business owners, you started your company to do something you enjoyed. Maybe you were a chef looking to start a restaurant, or a doctor who wanted to take care of people, or a marketer who enjoyed the creative challenge of engaging customers with a product.
Whatever it was, you started the company to do that thing. Along the way, you figured out you also had to do sales, bookkeeping, human resource activities, and a dozen other tasks which take time out of your day and your week. So how much time do you really spend doing what you set out to do? How much time do you spend doing things you don’t enjoy? And how much time is taken up on tasks you dread?
It is unlikely that 100% of your day is comprised of things you love. At some point, you have to deal with an unhappy employee, preparing paperwork for your accountant, or calling clients who are behind in their payments to you. You probably don’t look forward to doing these tasks, but they are part of owning a business.
So, how much of your day is filled with things you would rather not do? If the majority of your day is spent on things that frustrate you, or simply don’t give you joy, you are heading for burnout. You need to recognize the warning signs and reverse course because life is too short to do things we don’t enjoy most of the time.
Ideally, you should shoot for a 75% satisfaction score. Ok, there is no specific scientific reason for that number. I just feel that it is reasonable to enjoy what you do most of the time. So how close are you?
Start by making a list of how you spend your days. Then divide the tasks into 1 of the following 3 categories: Love, Like, or Dislike. If over the course of the week you spend more than 25% of your time doing things you really dislike it is time for a few changes. Here are a few options.
- Outsource non-core tasks. These are jobs which have to be done to keep the business running but don’t really contribute to the bottom line. For example, I can manage the IT and payroll for my company, but I really hate those tasks. They are tedious and time-consuming, so I pay to have someone else do it. Of course, I have to be generating enough revenue to cover those expenses, but even in the slower months, it is worth it, even if I pay myself a little less, not to have to deal with it. And then I have more time to make sales calls, which I like doing.
- Eliminate unsatisfactory tasks. We’ve all done it, accepted a project because it was profitable even if it wasn’t something we wanted to do. The next time you are offered one of those projects, which don’t bring you joy, either say no or charge enough that you can outsource the work. Paying someone else to do the things you don’t love will help raise your satisfaction score. .
- Trade tasks with team members. This is a good exercise for everyone on the team to do. Very often you will find that there is someone in your organization who loves doing the very thing you don’t. So let them take a shot at it. Or look for that skill set in your next new hire.
- Find a partner. Sure you started this business by yourself, but maybe it has grown too big or too complex and running it by yourself is just wearing you out. Look for a senior manager, right-hand person, or investor who wants an active role in the company. Look for someone who is the yin to your yang, who enjoys the things you don’t to help share the load.
- Consider a career change. If you aren’t satisfied most of the time, maybe you are in the wrong line of work. That is a good time to talk to a business broker and plan your exit strategy.
Take control of your life. Things change, and what was fun 20 years ago, may not be anymore. So look at your business and choose a path which will give you a 75% satisfaction score.
And if marketing is not what you love, give us a call, because we do!