Being a business owner is not always fun and games. Suck it up!

As a business owner — entrepreneur, self-employed emperors-of-my-own-universe — I’m supposed to “follow my passion“. Figure out what floats my boat and focus on that. Make my dreams come true. Why is it that no one ever told me that “following my dreams” would mean when running a business I have to do a bunch of admin work, or sales, or *gulp*, accounting?

running a business

It is precisely because you have to do accounting (or sales, or whatever you can’t stand doing) that it is so important that you are doing something you are passionate about. In any endeavor, there are going to be those times when what is integral to your next step of success is doing something you aren’t good at, or you don’t think is fun. If you are not passionate about that endeavor, those tasks you don’t enjoy could become serious obstacles to success.

When the task is unpleasant, but persistence is required, how do you know when to cry uncle, or when to bear down and get it done?

Are you doing all the scut work?

Sometimes we find that our employees have “chosen” to do more of the fun work and left a lot of the un-fun work undone. As the business owner, we look at that and say, “Well it has to get done, I guess I’ll take out the trash.” That’s not what I’m talking about. In that case you likely have more important ways to spend your time when running a business — it’s perfectly OK to assign tasks that don’t require your experience or executive decision making to your employees (or outsource them). But if it’s important, requires executive decision making, and is likely to impact the future of the company, it’s on you.

Are you struggling with work you don’t know how to do?

I’m not saying you have to do your own accounting. If there is someone who has the skills you need hire them! But there are some things that only you can do. Only you can interview and make key hiring decisions (but you can get help). You are likely the most effective salesperson your company has (or could hire) — your knowledge and passion will outshine even the most highly skilled hired sales person. Basically, if it’s a job that someone else can do better than you can, hire someone to do it!

Can you see a time when you won’t have to do this?

Sometimes you are doing work you don’t enjoy because you need to understand it, or the person who’s good at it quit, or your business is growing and you can’t hire someone yet. But if the work you hate is part of the service you are delivering to the client — if it’s something that will be part of your job for the long term — it’s time to re-evaluate.

What can you change about the work to make it better?

“I hate sales,” she said. “I can’t stand going out and begging for work; trying to convince folks to buy stuff they don’t need. It’s not for me.” This business owner was at her wit’s end — she was ready to toss in the towel. The thing is — I don’t like any of the things she was saying about sales! Begging? That’s not sales. Convincing folks to buy what they don’t need? That’s not going to work.

Instead we worked together on a new sales process. One where she educated prospects about her services, then worked with them to find the right service providers for their needs. That sales process fit her values much better, and she was much more successful with it. When running a business, it might not be that you hate the work, you might just hate the way you are doing it!

Fun is not a good indicator that you are on the right track!

When an athlete is passionate about the game she still has to practice, she still has to hit the weight room. When a musician is passionate about music they still have to run scales, rehearse, and hone their craft. They have to tune their instrument, or work on the score for their new song. Their passion is demonstrated by their willingness to continue working hard at the parts of their job that aren’t glamorous, that aren’t fun.

My Father was fond of saying, “Sometimes you have to do things you don’t want to do” and this is true, even when you are the boss, running a business, even when you are pursuing your passion.

What are the parts of running a business that you dread? How have you dealt with that?



  1. Hi Brad,

    Your title immediately captivated my attention! 🙂 Couldn’t agree more!

    Yep, there is a fine balance of being able to discern what tasks should be outsourced and what ones to concentrate on. I make sure to focus on the high-leverage activities that will make my business grow each day.

    I dreaded learning Google Analytics and Google URL Builder, and was going to outsource this, but ended up doing it myself which ended up being a good thing. I understand the why, when and where behind it now.

    Now, I can outsource that after making a Standard Operating Procedure for it, which is such a blessing.

    Enjoyed your article! 🙂

    Carol Amato

    • Thanks Carol.

      It is a challenge, and sometimes we have to take on tasks that aren’t a good fit. But as you point out that sometimes teaches us something valuable.

      Hope you are having fun.

  2. These are the truths that took a long time to get ingrained in my thick skull when starting our business.

    I tried to micromanage everything under the sun and paid for it. I never saw myself passing off the work to trained teammates. I never endured the slow process of training for the future smooth flow that comes with having knowledgeable personnel.

    But very true when you denied the “fun factor” being a measurement tool. If it was “fun” or “easy”…everyone would do it.

    Helpful post.

    • I don’t know why this lesson is so hard to learn — but I know it is (for almost everyone). We all want our business to be fun and rewarding, and it is! Just not all the time.

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