Should I stay small and work myself to death?

Dear Aunty B,


I read yesterday’s Aunty B with interest. I feel absolutely sorry for Desperate, as I too started my business for flexibility and freedom and because as a mum I wanted to do more school pick ups, and am now working longer hours than ever from my home and receiving not as much money. Sometimes I think I am working myself into an early grave. 


Just as I was considering your advice, I saw this reply to it from Elizabeth from Heusler Public Relations:


Desperate, I hear you. What Aunty B missed was that your income is less than that of a legal secretary – thus how are you supposed to pay this wonder person assuming you could find them? That’s the dilemma we all have. Also wonder-people are thin on the ground – despite what the unemployment forecast it. I bit the bullet and hired up – cost me a motza and I was paying them more than I earned. I spent time and energy and worked weekends making up for the lost time with them during the week – they just took me for a ride while they job-hunted for a cushy job. Lost a good client in the process. Sometimes it’s easier to stay small and just concentrate on doing great work for good clients.


Aunty B, what happened to her is what I fear will happen to me. Do you think I should stay small and just do great work like Elizabeth?


Also Desperate,


Dear Also Desperate,

Of course not! Get bigger and do great work like Elizabeth – and gain freedom and flexibility.

Elizabeth’s problem is she recruited badly. She hired a dud. She should have quickly realised Wonderful was actually Wondernot and got rid of them. She then should have looked around and hired again. Lots of entrepreneurs make mistakes when hiring, but that doesn’t mean they retreat back to their lounge room and work themselves to death.

If you started your business to gain freedom, you need to restructure the business so you are not the only one at the helm. You may need to take in a business partner who is strong in skills that you find frustrating and time consuming. If your business is established, they should buy in. And they can salary sacrifice to pay off part of their equity. Of course you will have to share the profit, but it should be a bigger profit.

Women need to see the larger picture and stop thinking small. They need to understand that by employing people they are less likely to fail and more likely to get the freedom and flexibility they are seeking. They must be prepared to recruit very well and train the person. They must cede a bit of control and not micro manage. And they must understand that business should be fun – not a daily grind that is going to send them to an early grave.

So spend a lot of time looking for the right person. Quickly move on anyone that is not working out. And get on with building the life you want.

See 15 ways for women to get to the top for some more tips.

Good luck!

Your Aunty B.

Aunty B - Your problems answered by SmartCompany's business bitch

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