I can almost see the fantasy in their eyes as they envision cutting out early in the afternoon or taking leisurely hour-and-half lunches. I rarely if ever have the heart to tell them that its not quite as glamorous as they envision.
In my home office I have a saying posted right above my computer screen. “An entrepreneur is somebody who works 80 hours a week for himself so he doesn’t have to work 40 hours a week for somebody else.”
That about sums it up.
Not that I don’t enjoy what I do. To the contrary, I absolutely do. I can’t possibly imagine how somebody could put forth the time and energy to run a business if they didn’t love what they do.
But make no mistake about it, if you want to start your own business you need to understand the time commitment, and get out of the 9 to 5 mentality. There is no 5:00. And if you’re a parent too, -- in the words of Al Pacino from Donnie Brasco – "Fuhgedaboutit."
During the heat of the season, my days typically look something like this. I'm up at 6 am to get the wife off to work and the kids off to school. Once my parental obligations are done in the morning, there are emails and phone calls to return. I then get to the jobsite, and ideally my guys are already at it. Depending on the day and the project, the balance of the work day consists of working on the site and supply and material runs. More often than not I schedule new prospect meetings in the evenings, meaning that after my workers head for home I’m off to meet with clients.
And the nights I don’t have meetings? Usually that’s because there’s a little league game or Cub Scout meeting
for my kids.
And then there’s just enough time for dinner before reading a story or two to the kids and getting them off to bed.
Now it’s time to unwind, right? Not so fast my friends.
Remember those meetings I had in earlier in the evening? Well for every meeting there’s a new estimate that needs to be put together. And for every project there’s an invoice. And for every month there’s income summaries.
And bills to pay. And marketing plans. And this blog entry. And a myriad of other tasks that need to get done sometime. It’s not uncommon to be on the computer until 10 or 11 pm. Or later. And what doesn’t get done during the week, usually gets covered during the weekend.
So for anyone considering opening their own business, whether it’s in the landscaping industry, running a restaurant, opening a storefront, or any service-related endeavor, my advice is that you better love, I mean really LOVE, what you do. You’ll be spending an incredible amount of time nurturing your livelihood.
And if you see me at a party or around town, and we start talking about what we do for a living? Well first of all it most likely means my to-do list is growing because I’m not working right then and there. And second of all, before you get too jealous just remember there’s a lot more to running a business than just what goes on at the jobsite.