Your Business is Not Your Life. (No, Really.)
Mon, Feb 23, 2015
In her book The Top 5 Regrets of the Dying, Bronnie Ware says not spending enough time with loved ones is one of the most common regrets among the dying. We spend so much time (35% of our waking hours for a 40-hour workweek) at our jobs that it makes spending time with the ones we love difficult. As real estate agents, this is especially true, since many of you are working 80+-hour workweeks!
When you work in this way, it’s easy to feel like your life and your business are one and the same. But it’s important to remember that this feeling is just that – a feeling. Your business is not your life. If you want to live a life that you’re happy to look back on, you need to prioritize your life in addition to your business. You need to build a business that supports you, not the other way around.
ON Not IN
Most agents spend their days reacting to what happens around them, running from one task to the next to the next. This was certainly true for me years ago. I let my job run my life. Even when I took some rare time off, I spent the time thinking about my job and worrying about the things I had to get done. This is working in your business — it’s letting the needs of your business control your life.
In contrast, working on your business is when you actively run your business and it’s the only way out of the rut you’re in. It’s a cycle of planning, measuring, and refining to optimize the way your business works. Working on your business keeps your worlds aligned, provides focus, and helps you implement the franchise prototype (more on that later).
CEO Not Employee
A key differential between working in your business and on your business is how you spend your time. When you’re working in your business, you’re in “employee” mode. You’re calling people, you’re posting listings, you’re knocking on doors. You’re following the orders of someone else (in this case, your business.)
To work on your business, you need to move beyond into “CEO” mode. CEOs look at the big picture to make sure everything is running smoothly and functioning at its highest potential. When you’re working like a CEO, you’re answering questions like:
- What do my customers really want and need?
- How is my business fulfilling those needs?
- What can I do differently in my business to serve my customers better?
- How should I close the gap between what I’m currently doing and what I need to do to provide exceptional service?
- How much money do I want my business to earn?
- How will I achieve this level of earning?
When thinking like a CEO becomes second nature, the next step is to take your business into franchise territory.
Franchise Not Single Business
No, I’m not suggesting that you actually franchise your business, but you want it to run so smoothly that you could if you chose to. To enjoy your life outside your job, you must build a business that has such clear systems that it could run on its own, without you needing to make every decision, perform every task, and put out every fire.
The Franchise Prototype is the idea that you should be able to clone your business and still have it work. Ask yourself: if you had 10 more real estate businesses in other towns, could you operate them with your current system? Make this your goal. You want your business to run as a well-oiled machine so that you could open another business, and then another one, and they would all be profitable and successful by following the same system.
If you implement these three concepts, your business will no longer run you. By actively working on your business and prioritizing your personal life, your business will support your life outside of work too.
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