For most small business owners, it’s passion, not profit, that moves them to try their hands at entrepreneurship. Profit is a result of interest and strategy, and allows for the maintenance and overhead involved in running a business. Lack of a profit means a business won’t be sustainable in the long run.
But there’s another aspect of entrepreneurship that’s often overshadowed by monetary figures. It’s time, and the value of how we spend it.
Running a business is a multi-faceted endeavor in terms of both money and time. Some is spent actually producing a product or providing a service (i.e. why you started the business), and the rest is spent doing the busy work (training employees, meeting with potential clients, financials, etc.).
The busy work can frustrate us and drain our energy, but it’s a necessary evil of entrepreneurship. Even though it might not seem important, we’re only hurting ourselves and our businesses when we tune out. When we realize that it’s not just the content, products and services we produce, but also how we handle our brand when we aren’t actively producing them, our work will improve. It’s called the habit of conscious busy work.
Take the following example to illustrate what I mean.
You’ve started a photography business because photography is your passion. You set up a website and portfolio and work remotely depending on client needs. Let’s estimate that 30 percent of your time is spent taking photos of clients, 20 percent is spent editing, and the remaining 50 percent requires effort entirely unrelated to photography— emails, phone calls, meetings, and planning.
Even though the busy work seems like it isn’t hard product, it still makes up half of your business. And half of your business is a lot to handle with the sole intent to just “get it done.”
You have to find a way to convince yourself to be as excited about working out the details of your business as you are about the service you provide. This is the difference between a great business and a mediocre one. Don’t assume that talent and skill will make up for a lack of attention to detail. Your dedication your work shows in more than just your craft.
By paying attention to our busy work and completing it with the same care that we complete our creative work, we transform ourselves into businessmen and businesswomen, rather than just skilled individuals. It shows in the way we speak to others about our passions and our business. By paying attention to the details, we clear the fog through which we so often drift, allowing ourselves to make conscious choices rather than automatic ones. We take only clients we are excited to work with. We agree to collaborate only on projects that are mutually beneficial. We invest only in education and equipment that we will be passionate about using. In short, we treat every aspect of business a tiny mirror of the whole of it, instead of a separate piece.
It’s conscious work that allows us to create the success we want instead of settling for the tidbits of good fortune we come across.