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Author Pamela Slim.
Author Pamela Slim.

Value: John Warrillow

Pamela Slim's checklist for a fulfilling life Add to ...

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:

  1. 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?
  2. Who do you want to be working with and for?
  3. How do you want your time structured?
  4. How do you see your physical health? How often are you exercising?
  5. What quality of relationship do you want with your spouse and other significant people in your life?
  6. What does success look like to you?
  7. 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.

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