You can build a business or you can build a prison.

by Nate Croft

Many of you that are reading this blog own your own companies, or are working for yourself in some form or fashion. Most likely we share a common dream, the freedom of working for ourselves! We serve no master, take no orders, and wear no pants! Ok, maybe we wear pants. Maybe. We started out on this journey full of ambition and with the highest of hopes. We, my friends, are free to shape our own destiny.

What do we do with all this freedom? Well, most of us make shackles.

Yep, we craft ourselves a fine pair of shackles and promptly snap them around our ankles. We setup our businesses in such a way that we rid ourselves of that freedom we so despirately wanted. Think I'm full of it? Here's a little test. Can you decide today that you're taking two weeks off and simply pack up the family, leave the laptop and go?

For most of us, it wouldn't take more than about 5 seconds for questions like: “What about the clients?!” “What about the invoices?” to flood our brains with panic. We are tied to this thing we have made and it tells us where to go, what to do, and when do it.

At some point you are the only thing holding you back.

Why do we do this? Why do we chain ourselves to the work?

I can already hear some of the responses, “I love what I do it's not really like work” or maybe “But no one else knows what I know/ can do what I do!” In any case, I'm calling your bluff, because I know why this happens. It happens because we've built our business around ourselves.

Why? Because that's what we know. You start out doing everything because the only person you have to do it is you! But most of us never leave that mindset. We have small-timers syndrome. We don't don't seek out help or try to find contractors or hire employees to ease the load. We may say to ourselves, “We like being a small agile company.” Which usually translates to “We are either too scared to add more people or too lazy to manage the added responsibility.”

I know this because we've been there. In many ways we still are there. Yes, it may freak you out to trust someone else to handle a part of the work that you take pride in. You may soil yourself at thought of managing payroll and benefits. But one thing is sure, at some point you are the only thing holding you back.

A good friend friend of ours said it to us something like this: “A painter never grows his business with a brush in his hand.” Think about that for a second. If the painter isn't painting but the business is growing, that means someone else is painting for him. At that point he is free paint or not paint. He is free to come in and provide that polish and excellence. He is free to focus on the big picture. He has the freedom to choose.

Not everyone is a businessman/woman. Some people are craftsmen and don't care about business, and that's ok. We need both. (Who else do buinesses hire?) It's also ok to enjoy what you, and we do. But if you decide you are a going to run a business, run the business. Don't let it run you.

If you don't know how to find help or hire you first employee, you might want to have a look at the Getting Help and Growing Your Business Series on Kicktastic. We're currently talking about that very thing as it is fresh in our brains.

November 02, 2012



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