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Most times, when people who are not fully business-oriented talk about starting their own company, the biggest motivator behind their desire is the ability to work for themselves. These aspiring entrepreneurs dream of traveling around the world, having free time to hang out with their friends, and taking long breaks. All of these things are lovely, but the major issue is that they only come when you have put things in order and are close to a clear operational structure.
The reality of being a business owner is that sacrifice becomes your middle name. At the start of a business, you tend to make the most sacrifice, giving up that precious time you’d otherwise spend on vacation or with family and friends. In the beginning, you don’t get much free time, as your schedule can be incredibly strict (with hours like 5 am-11 pm). When things are not well planned, you eat into your family time, which can cause extra stress without some level of understanding about what you’re getting into.
In the process of becoming an entrepreneur, it is more likely that you’ll lose friends or acquire false friends who are only looking for a handout.
The illustration above gives you an insight into what it looks like to venture into entrepreneurship and how difficult it seems to start. Despite these setbacks, I have good news for you; you don’t need to sacrifice as much as you think!
While sacrifice can mean significant gains, some sacrifices absolutely should not be made. You don’t need to completely alienate your family, your friends, or other aspects of your life to be successful. Here are some things you should never compromise with, but should focus on maintaining and improving.
Your Health: When you sacrifice so much of your time that you hardly have enough time to rest and put things in order, you become overworked and therefore tired. This “burnout” as it’s called isn’t going to help you create the best results.
If, as a business owner, you sleep for four hours daily, and rely mostly on coffee and fast food as your sustenance, you will never give your best to your business. There are basic necessities that you should never deprive your body and mind of, including healthy diets, adequate sleep, and exercise.
These things help keep your mind and body healthy and active. Sacrificing your health can come with the consequences of losing it to sickness, which can only serve to create more costs and problems overall. If you don’t plan for maintenance, it will plan for you.
Your Family: When we say your family, we’re referring to your spouse, children, parents, siblings, and every other person you view as a member of the family. Doing business is often tedious and stressful, but you mustn’t allow this stress to extend to your inner circle.
The family is comprised of the people who have or who will stand by you. Therefore, you have to make things right. You might think they simply don’t understand why you’re working so hard away from them, but at the end of the day, you don’t want to alienate or disregard them for your work.
Your Vision: Every entrepreneur starts with a vision, along the way, that vision can be affected by the opinions of others. If you’re not careful, this negative input can take a toll on your confidence and the company itself.
You can’t expect anyone to understand your vision right off the bat, as it is strictly yours. You created it, which means you and only you will ever understand it or advocate for it one hundred percent. That’s not to say you won’t ever find support from others, and remember, no one understands your motivation better than you. If they don’t understand why you are working so hard in the business, I suspect it’s becaue you haven’t been able to clearly explain to them on how it connects back to your WHY (mission, vision, values). We cannot expect them to understand if we don’t even understand it ourselves.
Managing time: This is one of the biggest problems entrepreneurs face. Time has always been one major thing everyone must sacrifice for the sake of the dream. The problem begins when you feel you need more time, so you start stealing time from other things (family, friends, hobbies) to give to your vision.
You must be cautious about how you spend your time. Delegate activities that productive for the business to separate time slots than those that are for personal interests. In fact, think about triaging the urgent and important tasks first, then plan for the non-urgent and important tasks next. Set goals every week and stick to a schedule. When you plan out your time, you’ll be able to maximize both personal time and business productivity. It’s crucial to your mental health and to those relationships with the people around you that you are able to flow between work and personal time.
The Bottom Line
While chasing the dream may require much sacrifice, there are a few things that you should never sacrifice too much of for the sake of your goals. These include health, family, vision, and time. Remember that the people around you are just as important as what you hope to accomplish, and time is a finite resource that can never be altered or replaced. Don’t forget the reason why you went into business for yourself in the first place.
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About the author: Kyle Kalloo is the Chief Executive Officer and Business Coach with Change My Life Coaching, Co-Founder of Change My Business Coaching and creator of the Get Profitable, Get Productive (GP2) Business Success System. Through his management training and experience with McDonalds, Famous Players (Paramount) and WestJet, and with the ongoing learning and development he’s completed, Kyle has refined and perfected business success skills. He is eager to share how to execute them efficiently to help individuals and companies achieve even more of their dreams and create lasting change. 83% of Kyle’s business comes from referrals.