I am many things – entrepreneur, wife, daughter, friend, colleague, boss lady. But the role that has most shaped who I am is that of mother. I have truly loved being a mother to my two children! I have a 16 year old daughter – that just passed her driver’s permit test, mind you…I’m still at a loss for where the time went – and a 12 year old son who keeps reminding me that “ you don’t have to do that for me, mom. I can do it.”
I am realizing more and more these days that I must have done something right. My children are growing up and becoming self-sufficient. In the next few years, they will graduate from high school and take their first step into adulthood! This is both inspiring and terrifying. I am proud of the people they are becoming and simultaneously saddened by their nearing departure. They are, after all, my babies.
Soon they will leave the safe nest that my husband and I provided for them, they will spread their proverbial wings and fly. I will no longer be a part of the places they go, the decisions they make, or witness their daily lives. Even still, I remain present, offering encouragement, guidance, and support. They are, after all, my babies.
I found myself reflecting on Mother’s Day of a time before I had children, when my husband and I were considering our future family. I chuckled as I remembered how I’d sit and wonder: What will my son or daughter grow up to be? A model, a musician, an astronaut, a CEO…
What I found curious was that in all my musings, I always trusted that my children would grow from their experiences – both the fun and difficult stages that would all pave the road to self-reliance.
If someone had told me back in those naive days that “being a parent is wonderful, you will love it! For 18 years, your child will remain completely reliant on you to provide 100% of their care and needs. They’ll remain as infants, needy and unable to fend for themselves. Some days – most days – will need to spoon feed them at each meal, change dirty diapers, bathe them, entertain them, and be on constant vigil to provide protection.” I think I would’ve blinked at them and reconsidered my eagerness to start a family. 18 years of infancy? No way!
While that may not be true about my children, it proved to be true for my business. This isn’t only true for me, it’s been the reality for so many of my clients – entrepreneurs and business owners. I invite you to think back to before you started your business. Did you imagine that life would be more than what it’s been? That your income would increase, the amount of hours you worked would decrease, that you would only do the tasks that you enjoyed, and that you would live a life of luxury and ease? I know that this was absolutely what I envisioned. I thought, A couple years of hard work, then I will hire staff and step back from my business. It will basically run itself.
This did not prove to be true. When was the last time you completely stepped away and your business ran itself? Are you able to take off for a month, a week, or a day? Did money continued to flow into your personal bank account while you were away? When you got back were you rested, relaxed, able to visit with the staff and chat without anxiety and overwhelm? Or was there work piled on your desk or waiting in your inbox, problems and issues that needed your attention? Or were all the issues handled, all the work completed, and nothing in need of your attention?
The reality is that the majority of small business owners never make it to this stage. Most businesses stay in the “infant stage” – where you need to provide constant attention to your business. Where you need to perform the daily work or make sure others are doing it, where you need to watch over your staff or virtual assistants, where you need to provide the direction and plan where you want the business to go, where you need to make each and every decision…Sound familiar?
If you’ve been asking yourself the age old question, “How do I make more money, while at the same time working less hours?” – take a breath. The answer is really not as hard as you think. It is the implementation that takes time and some dedication. (But we both know you’ve got that part down. After all, it’s you baby).
For your business to start growing out of the infant stage and begin growing into the toddler stage, you need to start letting your business get some bumps and bruises…just like you let your toddler do when they began to explore their surroundings. Slowly you need to loosen your grip and let go – begin to delegate some of the tasks that are not essential for you to complete. I know, your business is important, sometimes it is hard to let go. But the earlier you begin to delegate, the easier it becomes.
Are there tips and tricks that can make this process easier? Of course there are! Over the next several articles, we will delve into some of them. In the meantime, take a fresh look at your business and started deciding what is essential for you to do and what is not. Next, determine what others can do for you and how you can watch over it.
You’ve got this. Take care of yourself as your business begins to crawl. Before you know it, your business (like my children) will be able to get by without you.
Linda, Founder of Spire Business, Inc.
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