How To Be a Better Boss to Yourself as an Entrepreneur


Q: Hi, Steve. One thing I never expected when I started my own business is that I would have to work so darned much. Sure, I thought that at the beginning — when I was in the startup phase — that it would require a lot of time, and it did, but who knew that I would be working 50 hours a week ten years later? Not me. There must be a better way. — Benjamin

A: One of my favorite books ever about being an entrepreneur is The E-Myth­ by Michael Gerber. In it, Gerber shares the myths and truths about starting your own business.

One way he gets his message across is by telling a tale about a woman named “Sarah” who started a pie shop because she loved baking pies and was great at it. But what Sarah never anticipated was that she would end up not only making pies but bussing tables and handling taxes and figuring out marketing and all the rest. Was the dream of being an entrepreneur just a big myth Sarah wondered?

It can be, as Gerber points out, if you fall into the easy trap of spending too much time working in your business and not enough working on your business.

That a lot of us work a lot of hours is borne out in a recent survey conducted by Bank of America (with whom I do some work) called The Small Business Owner Report. According to the spring 2015 edition of the Report, 85% of small business owners routinely work more than 40 hours a week, and a whopping 55% said that they work more than 50 hours a week.

That is probably both good news and bad news.

My take is that many entrepreneurs work long hours because they love what they do. They are willing to do what it takes to see the venture succeed, and if that means working a lot, so be it. But it also can be bad news when small business owners are like Sarah and are working so much, too much, because they feel they have no choice. No fun, that.

Look, if you are going to be the boss, then be a good boss. Especially to yourself.

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Source: USA Today | Steve Strauss

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