Unhappy clients or unhappy wife? Help!

Dear Aunty B,

I had planned a three-week holiday at the end of the financial year with the family. But I can’t take it. I have had an emergency at work with several major clients being left in the lurch at the crucial re-signing stage. I usually have a team of five dealing with them but one has had an operation, two are off having babies, one is on holidays and yesterday the other one got run over by a car and is in hospital!

My wife is furious and my problem is this: I have told her we can take a longer holiday later in the year, which she says is rubbish and she is probably right as we get very busy until Christmas. She says I should call back my employee from his holiday. But I can’t as he is overseas attending his twin sister’s wedding.

What do I do? Unhappy clients or unhappy wife?

Torn in Two,
Brisbane

Dear Torn in Two,

Well, let me answer this way. How happy is your wife going to be when your business is struggling and you are working horrendous hours to pull it out of a hole because clients have not re-signed?
The worst thing about running a business is the rollercoaster ride. One day you can be on top of the world. Your sense of optimism about the business is unlimited. You can’t believe how well things are going and you shudder with the realisation that you may never have started the business. The next day you arrive home and can barely string two words together as you try to work out how to overcome the catastrophe that befell the business that day and wonder what the hell you are going to do to fix the problem.

The point is, stuff happens that is outside your control but can have a huge impact on your business. At times like that you just can’t walk off and hope it will all work out. As if you are going to enjoy a holiday anyway with important contracts hanging in the balance and no staff to deal with it. So the buck stops with you and yes, you have to merge this holiday with work.

But here is the payback. You run your own business, right? You get to be very flexible. You get to leave early and go to the kids’ sports. You get to look at your diary and draw a line through a Friday and a Monday and take a long weekend. Basically you get to be the fun surprise man who makes sure he rarely misses a family or kid’s event and can go and drop everything at a moment’s notice to dish out drinks or blow the whistle at sports day. And you can plan a big family holiday at Christmas, by which time you will have restructured the office and planned to have staff on board and working hard so you can enjoy a break with the family.

Be smart,
Your Aunty B

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