November 6, 2015

Making Sacrifices To Make Your Business Work

small business competitorsIt’s a nice idea to think that we can have it all, but the reality for entrepreneurs is oftentimes quite different.  In order to start our businesses and then grow our businesses, there are undoubtably sacrifices that we’ll have to make.   And honestly, sometimes it just plain sucks to have to make those choices.

Ultimately there are only so many hours in the day and at some point or another you will find yourself with too little time to do everything you want in both your business and in your personal life (and too little money to be able to outsource any of those things).  I’ve talked before about creating a  ‘vision’ for the life you want – where your business and personal life will be in harmony with one another, but that’s not something that’s going to happen tomorrow.  In order to get to that ideal, it takes hard work and short-term sacrifices.

I know entrepreneurs who have given up their full-time income to take the risk to start their business.  That means some hard decisions about where and what can be cut back in their personal lives to make the business work.

I know entrepreneurs who have sacrificed vacations because they didn’t have anyone else who could cover the business.

I know entrepreneurs who have given up their favorite hobbies because they simply didn’t have the time to devote to them.

I know entrepreneurs who have taken business calls with newborn babies in their arms because there is no such thing as ‘family leave’ when you’re running a small business.

I know entrepreneurs who have done all of the above and more.

This isn’t to say that there aren’t many short-term benefits to entrepreneurship or that you can’t one day build your business in such a way that it truly does complement your life.  But in order to get there, you will almost always have to make sacrifices along the way.  If you don’t love what you’re doing and you don’t have passion for this business you’re building, those sacrifices can be a very hard pill to swallow.

I wanted to share this because in the last few weeks I’ve had numerous conversations with prospective entrepreneurs who want to start businesses but aren’t prepared to make any sacrifices.  Perhaps because of the bubbling entrepreneurial mindset these days, some think it’s possible to build and create without an impact to their life one way or another.  I wish more than anything that was true.

A few weeks ago I cried as I walked away from my horseback riding stable, having just given notice that I needed to take a sabbatical of sorts.  There just isn’t enough time in my day right now to horseback ride even though it brings me great joy.  Something had to give and when I looked at what I could give up, time with my family and time for the business were nonnegotiable so it had to be something else.

But here’s one thing that those sacrifices teach us.  It reminds us that we’re in this with everything we have  and that our business goals are not mere whims or something we’ll walk away from when things get hard.  And that’s a good reminder to have.

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