Is This All There Is?
by Wendy Priesnitz

Q: I've been in a home-based consulting business for three years. Its not at all what I thought it would be like. None of the expectations I had have turned out to be true. I wanted to be my own boss, to have some freedom that I didn't have working for a corporation, etc., etc. Don't get me wrong the company is doing well. Its just that I keep wondering, Is this all there is? What have I done wrong?

A: Perhaps your initial expectations were a bit off base. In a sense, a business owner is never his or her own boss; your customers are the boss. Yes, you have freedom to make your own decisions, but a huge amount of responsibility accompanies that freedom. Not a millionaire yet? Neither are most other small business owners, but it sounds like you're doing fairly well financially.

Aside from those wild-eyed misconceptions of entrepreneurship, which are shared by many people, you probably have done nothing wrong. Perhaps you just need to redefine your reasons for being in business and generate some new motivation.

Rather than giving me freedom in the conventional sense of being able to do what I want when I want, I see my business as give me self-reliance. I take pride in doing a job well, in using my creativity and intelligence to make the decisions that make my business grow...and create financial rewards.

What fuels me and perhaps you too is the need to see my own ideas develop, to create, build, progress and lead in my own way and on my own terms. 

But, like you, I sometimes lose sight of that motivation. I occasionally wonder if its all worth the effort...especially when times are tough or I'm bored. Sometimes I would love to have a regular pay check and no responsibility!

However, I know I've been in business too long to make a very good or happy - employee. So when I get the small business blahs, I spend some time firing up my enthusiasm and getting myself back on track.

That's when I clean my office, reorganize my time and paper management procedures, and delegate some work to others.

I also find that setting some new goals is helpful. This could include increasing sales goals, applying for an award, or rewarding yourself with a tropical vacation (with no laptop or cell phone allowed).

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