Fed up with their corporate jobs, a lot of people start businesses for the promise of a better quality of life. But many new owners find themselves trading time for money as self-employed consultants beholden to customers instead of bosses, with no more control over their time.
If you feel stuck in a rut, it could be because your life as an entrepreneur is not measuring up to what you’d hoped it would be.
I spoke with Pamela Slim, life coach and author of Escape From Cubicle Nation, for her thoughts on how to make sure your new life as a business owner is fulfilling. “I recommend people develop a life plan so they can be clear about why they started their business in the first place,” she says.
Ms. Slim recommends your plan paint a clear picture about how you want your life to unfold in the future. Ask yourself these questions:
- What kind of work do you want to be doing? Do you want to be making the widgets or leading a team that makes and sells widgets?
- Who do you want to be working with and for?
- How do you want your time structured?
- How do you see your physical health? How often are you exercising?
- What quality of relationship do you want with your spouse and other significant people in your life?
- What does success look like to you?
- How much impact are you having? Do you want to deeply serve a handful of customers, or do you see yourself making contributions for millions of people?
According to Ms. Slim, if you envision yourself leading a large business and making a significant dent in the universe, and you’re doing one-off consulting for a handful of clients, you’re likely going to feel out of sync.
The same person consulting for a handful of clients who has a life plan to make a deep and meaningful contribution to a few people may feel completely satisfied consulting and would be miserable trying to scale a valuable company.
So before you write your 2011 business plan, you may want to pen a life plan first.
Special to The Globe and Mail
John Warrillow is a writer, speaker and angel investor in a number of start-up companies. He writes a blog about building a valuable – sellable – company. Follow him on Twitter @JohnWarrillow.