What Kind of Growth is Right For Your Work?

Tiny white capped mushrooms growing on a forest floor
image courtesy of  Daniel Brachlow via pixabay.com

Business owners, especially small business owners, are constantly pressured to expand. We’re told that our goal is to start in our garages and wind up like Amazon.

But what if we don’t want that? Plenty of small business owners I know started their small businesses for other reasons: being their own boss, earning their living from their passion, and the freedom of their own schedule.

They don’t WANT to become a huge corporate entity.

And that’s okay. It’s better than okay. It’s the right choice for many businesses. Because when you stop loving what you do, it’s then time to wind it up and move in a new direction.

Sometimes, that means selling the business you built and starting something new. Sometimes it means rethinking your vision for your current business and aligning with that.

We all want to make a healthy profit from our work. But the “how” in the way we make the profit matters.

We want to do work that matters to us, because we spend so much time working. We also want to have the time and resources to live our lives.

One of the things I love about where I live now is that most small businesses take a typical business day off, such as a Monday or a Tuesday. That gives them a day to do their banking, their doctors’ appointments, etc., and is a smart way to do business, especially when they’re open over weekends during tourist season.

This is a stronger choice, I feel, than the typical tourist-driven locations which push for 7 days a week “in season” and then everything is desolate out of season. I’ve seen a much higher burnout rate in those choices than in places that set a saner schedule, even in high season.

It’s worth taking the time, when you make your plan for the year ahead, or the season ahead, to be honest about what you want. Is it just about profit? Or is it about earning enough to feel secure while also having a particular quality of life?

Why are you the captain of your own ship, rather than being a crew member on someone else’s?

Once you have the answers that fit YOU (not what someone else thinks you should do), then you can start searching for resources and tools and support to make it happen.

One of the most positive changes I’m seeing in our relationship to work is that it is becoming more of a relationship and less of an obsession. That’s healthier for the person driving the business; it’s healthier for the employees. Ultimately, it’s also healthier for the customers (even if it takes them a bit of time to get used to the business not being on call 24-7 the way huge companies with outsourced customer dis-service centers are).

We’re at the halfway point of the year.  Many businesses end their financial year in June and start a fresh one in July. Other businesses look to September as the start of their next season. Others work on the calendar year.

As you look back in order to plan ahead, what was the most satisfying of the past cycle? What made you feel like you were in a good spot with your business, and how did that make the rest of your life feel supported and secure? How can you build on that in the next cycle?

Even if you don’t plan to make changes until the end of the calendar year, it’s worthwhile to start thinking about it now. Integrate your personal strategic plan with your business strategic plan, and let them feed each other.

What is your vision for your business? How is it changing? I’d love to hear from you in the comments.

Note: Today is the Juneteenth holiday — I hope you’re taking it and honoring it! Taking holidays is important. Honoring their true meaning is also important.

Blessed Juneteenth to you, with hopes that we’re working toward a better world.