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Are You an Entrepreneur or an Underpaid & Overworked Employee of Your Own Business?

I think there comes a time in our careers as business owners/entrepreneurs/self employed folks that we have to ask ourselves – “what do I really want out of this?”

 Do I simply want to go to a job every day? A job that’s all mine, where I make the rules, the hours (or I delude myself into thinking I do), and I don’t have to answer Are you a Small Business Owner or Slave?to anyone but myself?  The problem with this is that this job becomes totally reliant upon me being there, doing the work. There are no sick days. There are no paid vacations. This job ends up being the lowest paid job I’ve ever had because of the sheer number of hours I put in. This job, instead of freeing me, ends up enslaving me.  And I become an employee of my own business – not a business owner.  

Or do I want to be a REAL business owner/ entrepreneur? The type of entrepreneur we envision when we think of the word – the guy on the golf course on a Wednesday afternoon, the woman relaxing on the beach in Hawaii.   Both content and secure in the fact that their companies, their staff, and investments are working on their behalf, even if they aren’t there to doing the work themselves.  These happy business owners in our fantasies are living the dream; their business is working for them – not they for their business.

Unfortunately, most business owners I meet end up being in the first category. I don’t know if that’s what they wanted all along – or (most likely) – they just kind of got stuck along the way and don’t know how to get out.

 I read that over 400,000 businesses in the U.S. fail each year (Source: “E-myth Revisited”) because owners just don’t know how to take their businesses from infancy to maturity.  When it starts to grow and things get too uncomfortable, they either give up or fail.

 I don’t give up and I certainly don’t want to fail. 

 So, then, what does that mean for those of us who work endless hours in our businesses? Well, that means we have to take risks. We have to take that leap and hire someone when the volume of work gets too overwhelming; even if we feel we aren’t quite ready for the responsibility of employees and payroll.  That means we have to make the capital investment when we need to expand or buy more equipment to get the job done. That means we need to put our necks out there – we need to move out of our comfort zones!!!

 That means we have to take ourselves OUT of the tactics of  running our businesses and into the strategy of growing our businesses.

 That means we have to stop doing and start thinking.

In the “E-Myth Revisited” Michael Gerber writes, “The work of the Entrepreneur is to wonder, to imagine, to dream…”

 That means if we want to be true entrepreneurs and not just underpaid, overworked, and unsatisfied employees in our own businesses, we have to constantly be thinking about ways to improve and tweak and progress our business and our processes. How can we make something different and special? How do we become in our industries what Starbucks is to coffee or what McDonalds is to fast food? As business owners/entrepreneurs THIS is where our focus needs to be if we don’t just want to be slaves to our businesses.

According to Gerber, our jobs as entrepreneurs (if that’s what you really want to be) is “to educate {ourselves} sufficiently so that, as {our} business grows, the business’s foundation and structure can handle the weight.”

So, what do you want to be – an entrepreneur or a slave? And if it’s the former, what are you doing to learn and prepare for that? I’d love to hear from you!
 By the way – if you like this post, I would REALLY appreciate your ReTweet!  Thank you!!!! 🙂
Leave your comments here.


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4 Responses

  1. Thanks for the the comment back…

    The measurement of success in a business would be if the principle could leave for 6 months and return to find a larger business.

    Have had that experience in the past….

    But when we are “working” in a area we have a (Now a trite word) Passion, it never seems like work.

    As the golden years arrived, I did not want to feel the ultimate responsibility of Employees and the Volumes of “busy work”.

    So I stared to create simple membership sites offering information in niches representing my “passions” It is not monumentally Time consuming and very rewarding. The rest of time is spent with select clients to continue to GROW their businesses.

    These instances, of course, require my ACTION..but it is not WORK. , and I dictate how much responsibility I will assume

    1. Carolyn

      Hi Chuck

      More excellent points!! Doing what you love is what it’s really all about, isn’t it? And those of us who are fortunate enough to be able to do that are really lucky!


  2. Found your blog form the Facebook Fan Page

    Love the way way you presented the premise.

    I have clients who are Dairymen, some love the the 7 days 24/7 because they ARE Dairymen. Others feel a Slave to the Business…
    Which ones do you think enjoy financial rewards?

    The first example DO take time off, enjoy Life etc.

    I believe the Attitude is because they we able to GROW a Business Mindset. It becomes who they are

    1. Carolyn

      Hi Chuck,

      Thank you so much for checking out my blog and for leaving your comment! I truly appreciate you taking the time.

      I’ve gotten a lot of feedback on this blog on other sites that I posted it and the response has been interesting! In my opinion, we are either worker bees or true Entrepreneurs (I’m definitley still in the category of worker bee – though striving to change that!). Worker bees spend their lives working in their businesses constantly and the business relies on them being there every day. Entrepreneurs enjoy a bit more freedom from the day-to-day workings of their businesses and are more involved in driving the strategy – THAT is where I hope to be some day! How about you?

      Thanks again for reading and taking the time to comment – oh and for friending me on Facebook. I look forward to more discussions in the future!!


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