Written By: Andy Ogg – Editor for Travel Professional NEWS
Working for yourself can be one of the most liberating, freeing and amazing experiences in a professional’s life and while it can be all of these things, it can also be one of frustrating, challenging and overwhelming.
How do you manage the business when you do it all? How do you find the time to focus on growth and not just on the tasks? How do you balance your personal life and your business life to be effective and happy in both?
As many of you may know, our family has been an entrepreneurial family for as long as I can remember. From owning storefront travel agencies, running a tour operator, heading a major association and now running a multitude of tools and resources for Travel Professionals, the Ogg family has and most likely will always be, an entrepreneurial family. Before I joined my parents in their business some 3 years ago, I worked as an employee for some fantastic companies in a totally different industry. While being an employee has some benefits, it really is just as challenging in a much different way.
Whether it’s the bureaucracy of an employers hierarchy or just the inability to act quickly without approval or consent, being an employee can be extremely frustrating for anyone that is forward thinking and innovative with the desire to push forward to new and great things. One of my previous employments was fantastic until the growth of the company hindered the ability to be “free” to work , at that point, it became extremely frustrating to continue the work with a passion, since the freedoms had been somewhat revoked.
An entrepreneur can be defined as “one who organizes, manages, and assumes the risks of a business or enterprise,” however, I would challenge the definition because being an entrepreneur is so much more than that. I would define the word entrepreneur as “A person who is passionate, driven, slightly crazy, determined, overwhelmed, and working more than anyone else to pursue success of their passion, not just their business. Additionally, this entrepreneur may hold many titles such as: Owner, Graphic Designer, IT Support, Computer Programming, Author, Photographer, Videographer, Web Programmer, Accounting, and so much more.”
Being an entrepreneur is hard. It’s challenging in ways that most people will never be able to understand and with those challenges comes the highest levels of satisfaction, success and accomplishment. Let’s talk about a few of the truths and benefits that we all enjoy about being our own boss.
Success – Created by YOU
Success is awesome and even better when you make it happen yourself. Whether it’s a big sale of group travel or the completion of a new website, your satisfaction is directly a result of you and your efforts. The success you seek is in your hands and although it may seem overwhelming to achieve it at times, you are capable of much more than we tend to give ourselves credit for.
The MANY Hats of Running a Business
Larger businesses have different departments for all sorts of things. If your business is anything like ours, you wear all the hats and are constantly presented the opportunities to educate yourself on new ways to improve your business. Whether technical support, customer maintenance, web programming, graphic design or sales, the hats can be a lot to wear at times.
One of the challenges that I am constantly faced with is how to manage the many aspects of our business, while still remaining focused on the tasks at hand. The time management of managing these multiple portions of any business is key. Segmenting your day can be a very productive step forward to maximizing your efficiency and increasing your ability to focus your efforts on other areas of your business.
Your Vision Coming to Reality
Many businesses start with an idea, a concept that is sought after for completion. Your business should be no different. With a Plan of Action, you should be able to identify your goal in sales, percentage of growth, and of course, the brand that you have always wanted to be a part of. The key is to ensure that your vision of your business isn’t lost along the way.
One helpful way to stay focused on your vision is to constantly remind yourself of what your goals are and the steps needed to get there. For example, each Monday, I spend about an hour creating a Goal Sheet for the week. As I work through the week, I am able to cross items off and ensure that movement is always going forward. These Goal Sheets have been extremely helpful as our business grows and becomes more to manage. The productivity is great but I have to admit, crossing items off of this list is a great feeling as well!
Independence Outweighed by Work
The amount of work that most of us face as entrepreneurs is extreme. Typically it’s several times more than an employee faces, due to the simple fact that you ARE the business. The hats you wear, the goals you have and the items needed to run the business are all dependent on you. While being your own boss allows for freedom in schedule, you may find, as I do, that the freedom is consumed by work.
Finding the balance is an important part of your health and for the business. I’m sure i’m not the only one that has been overwhelmed by work that results in frustration. That frustration is never helpful and taking advantage of your independence of being your own boss is where you need to turn when this occurs.
Take a walk, go out with friends for a long lunch, or simply make the choice to take an afternoon away from your desk to enjoy the fruits of your labor. Go shopping and treat yourself to something that makes you happy because without the rewards, why do we all work so hard?
Work and Life Balance
This is an area that I constantly struggle with. With so many items to complete every day, week and month, the time seems far too short in comparison to what is needed. I often choose work over personal activities, fun with friends or enjoying time with my family and as of late, i’ve begun to notice that it has increased even more. This is not a good thing for me, my loved ones or our business and as we grow our businesses, it’s absolutely imperative to maintain a balance of work in balance with life.
There are endless articles, books and information on how to better your work and life balance. While there are endless resources out there, the key is to implementing them in a method that fits your life, business and personal goals. Whether it’s taking the weekend off or simply making yourself step away, finding the balance is and should be one of your highest priorities. Without happiness and rewards from running your own business, you may find yourself asking “Why am I doing all of this?” and that question is something that should be avoided. Find the motivation whether it be money, time, vacation or events and balance your life by prioritizing work and your personal time.
Being your own boss is amazing and quite possibly one of the most challenging things you’ll face. Finding balance, success and happiness is the keys that unlock the doors of the frustrating days. As I write these words, I reflect on the items above that I need to work on and embrace more closely. I work for my wife and daughter, to provide and ensure that we can enjoy our lives. One of the things we do for enjoyment is going to the beach in the afternoon and playing along the sandy shores of San Diego. It’s been 3 weeks since we have done that and I think that today is as good as any to do just that.
Until next month, enjoy the rewards of your hard work and keep working toward your success, vision and goals. The rewards are far greater when you are the one who built the way to them.