It takes me about two-and-a-half hours to mow my lawn. It’s about an acre, and although I’ve got a rider mower, the machine is ancient (slow) and there are a lot obstacles in the way. My wife sometimes asks why I don’t get my oldest son to do it or just find some other way, so that I don’t use up that time every Saturday morning.
I realized recently (yesterday) that I don’t mow the lawn just to get it done. I also like how the activity keeps me in touch with “the property.” Mowing the lawn requires covering just about every inch of it and it just sort of keeps me in touch — at a very granular level –- with where I live.
Running my own business feels the same way. I like the fact that as a solo professional, I do everything from vacuuming my office, to going to the post office, to selling and creating the client work. It keeps me grounded in the work; it makes it feel real.
That’s very different from when I worked in middle management within a large company. There, I didn’t see the top or the bottom (or the sides) of the way we did business. I just did my one little compartmentalized thing… it was like living in a house where the lawn was always mowed.
How about you? Do you like the “lawn mowing” tasks related to your business, or would you just as soon have someone else take care of them?
I do like some of the “mowing the lawn” tasks of my business, my favorite is getting lost in new technology tools. But like everything else, I work hard to keep it in moderation. Stretching myself to ensure the important, less tactical activities like planning, business development and creating new services is key to long term success.
Some of the tasks involved with owning your own business are not that enjoyable to me. But the payoff of being my own boss and controlling my work are a trade-off I am willing to make.
As a type A control freak, running my own business is the first time I have ever felt truly comfortable in my professional life. I do have a business parter but we are fairly in synch and truth be told she concedes to me often in cases where there is any disagreement. I like knowing what is going on top to bottom, side to side and having the control to make changes whenever and however, I choose.