A year ago, I remember someone asking me, “What do you do all day?” The question caught me by surprise. It was not easy to define. Currently, my business is 18 months old and I admit to putting in over 60 hours a week, if not more.
So what is an entrepreneur doing when we’re working all of those hours?
- Launching. Getting off the ground with a new business venture is not as easy as pushing a button. Once you have an idea, you’ll need to incorporate the business, decide on price, hire or subcontract and maybe even take out a loan. There’s a lot of time spent thinking in this stage.
- Marketing. Unless you operate a franchise or you’re well-known already, you’re likely starting from scratch. You need to determine how and where you’ll market. You’ll need to spend time networking both online and face-to-face, monitoring your action plan, reviewing the marketing results, and adjusting your plan.
- Learning. Having the courage to make mistakes and learn from them is a necessary step for any start-up business. And with that experience comes wisdom that can’t be bought. Personally, I’ve never run a business before or even taken a business class, so I’m learning lessons from the school of hard knocks.
- Solving. This is an extension of learning. It often seems like obstacles arise just when you’ve rounded the corner and start heading in the right direction. Maybe a client has to cancel due to lack of funds or you have a personal situation arise. Ultimately, it’s your ability to overcome these obstacles that builds confidence and empowers a successful entrepreneur.
- Refining. It’s important not to get complacent and to continually refine and adjust your approach when circumstances change. In order to do that, you may have to worker harder in the interim. For example, if the end goal is to hire an employee who will do your day-to-day operations, you have to take the time to establish procedures and train this person effectively. It’s short-term work for a long-term gain. I just changed my company name. It was a lot of work, but a change I felt was necessary to move the business forward.
I’m fortunate to have a promising business after 18 months, but sometimes people ask me, “Why are you still working so much?”
First, I don’t think I’m alone in this. To achieve the best results, we must continually repeat steps two through five. I also think that many entrepreneurs have a natural drive to achieve. Moreover, we love what we do. Some days it is ‘work,’ but most days, we’re content doing what we do all day.
There are a lot of hours put into building a business. But if you’re inspired, you’re happy to do it.
How much time do you spend on work? Do you find yourself working fewer hours than you did when you started the business? What lessons have you learned?