Are you running your business? Or is your business running you?

There is no better time for a woman to own and operate her own business.  You can’t log onto Social Media for more than a nanosecond without glancing at posts followed by #ladyboss, #girlboss, #bossbabe or something similar.  It seems like everyone is starting a business and posting away about how amazing their life has become because they are now their own boss.

But are these #legitbosses really #beingboss?  Are they running a business?  Or is the business running them?

I’m Carolyn and I own two Pure Barre studios in the Winston-Salem, North Carolina area.  With the help of about 20 employees, we operate these studios 7 days-a-week serving approximately 150 clients each day.  Before I stepped onto the roller coaster of business ownership, I worked on Capitol Hill, for a few political campaigns, went to business school and then spent a few years as an investment banker.  So of course, those professions and an MBA made me a natural to own two boutique fitness studios—haha!  More on that career transition later…

There is nothing better than working for yourself, however, the ride is rocky, complete with the highest of highs and the lowest of lows.  I opened my first studio over four years ago and thought I had things pretty well figured out.  So I opened a second.  And while my successes were bigger, so were my problems.  In fact, if I had not made some pretty radical decisions about six months ago, I might not be in business anymore.  Since I’ve made the decision that I don’t ever—and I mean EVER—want to work for anyone else again, it’s pretty scary to think that I almost lost it all.

If you are already a business owner you are probably struggling with the same problems I had:

“Seriously, it’s so hard to hire good people.”

“Hobbies, what hobbies?  Free time—you’re joking, right?  I don’t have time for anything beyond my business.”

“Um, where is all my money?  Am I just working to pay American Express?”

“I can’t pay myself, because I have to pay my employees first.”  –BIG T!  If you aren’t paying yourself, start immediately.  I mean, like yesterday immediately.  Your employees don’t work for free and you shouldn’t either.

I take full responsibility for my business successes and failures.  I made all the decisions to shape my business.  But it wasn’t until I looked at running my business differently that great things really started to happen for me.

See, the definition of a business is:

A commercial, PROFITABLE, enterprise that works…WITHOUT YOU.

This means that you are free to work ON your business not IN it.  The business is fully functioning without you. 

–Brad Sugars, Founder of ActionCOACH

Does that describe your business?  Can you stay home or go on vacation and everything will happen without you?  Will the doors be unlocked and clients served?  Will you see money deposited into your bank account?  If the answer is no, then you own a job, not a business.  But don’t worry—there’s hope!  I had to hire a business coach (Mary Ann, who I can’t say enough good things about) to understand the meaning of these words and refocus my efforts.

Unless you are working ON your business, you will never grow your business.  This means if you aren’t working on the strategies required to have operations, marketing and financial plans, you’ll keep asking yourself the same questions above—having the same problems and wondering why you aren’t living the #bosslady life that you were hoping for.  If you don’t agree with the definition above, you’ll keep having to do everything yourself, make less money, and be miserable while doing it.  Definitely not what I signed up for when I opened my studios.

Now some of you are shaking your heads thinking … “Sure.  Sounds great.  But how do I get my business to run without me?  In my dreams, maybe.  I have to be there for everything to happen.”  Well, guess what?  If you don’t focus ON your business, you aren’t growing your business and it’s dying.  Yep.  That’s right.  If your business isn’t growing it’s dying.  Now, if you have just started your business, you might have to do everything yourself in the beginning, but eventually you’ll need to hire employees or outsource so you can grow and expand.  If you don’t plan on growing…then what’s the point?  Why deal with the stress of owning your own business?

Once I realized how important it is to hire the right team and give them the responsibility of running my business, then things started falling into place.  Hiring the right team is the difference between owning a job and owning a business.

“But how do I find a great team?”  I’m glad you asked!  I’ll talk about what I did to hire the best team I’ve ever had in my next post on Thursday, November 3rd.  I’ll lay out a step-by-step interview process for hiring employees and why it attracts great prospects.

Until then, keep on your toes!

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