“If you really own a business, why are you still working so hard?”

I recently asked one of my coaching clients this question and his answer was riddled with confusion and frustration. Confusion in thinking that “hard work” and business ownership go hand-in-hand. Frustration that things didn’t get any easier in the last five years since starting his business.

Have you ever found yourself thinking this way? Maybe you feel as if you’ve fallen into the trap of making a living, instead of living your dream? Meanwhile, one of the reasons you started your business was to enjoy more freedom — right?

If that’s true and you’d like to learn how you can break through to the next level of business growth that will give you the performance, profits and personal fulfillment you’re really after — here’s a simple shift to make in your thinking.

The “Real Challenge”

“Running a small business can be a real challenge,” many people say. I hear it all the time from business owners yet that’s where so many entrepreneurs go wrong. They think they’re running a business, but they really have a job. When I work with business owners, I always start by clarifying whether they’re running a business — because if they’re not, that’s the place to start.

A simple question you can ask yourself to find out whether you have a business or a job, is, “Are you getting up each and every day having to do the same things over and over again?” If you are, you don’t have a business — you have a job! And there’s very little value in a business that does not run without you there.

After all, who would buy a job? The vast majority of equity in a business is in the development and regular implementation of systems. A business that is driven by systems will be your long-term investment vehicle, not a job. Systems mean freedom (not constraint) to each and every member of the team, not just you as the owner.

Your small business holds the keys to your financial abundance, freedom, flexibility and personal fulfillment. But these are the results of a well designed, systematized business. The bottom line is you will either manage the systems that run your business — or your business will run your life.

A systems-dependent business will provide the consistent, predictable results crucial to small business success. When it comes down to it, how else can you determine how much you

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Hawaii Reporter is an award-winning, independent Hawaii-based news and opinion journal founded in 2001 and launched in February 2002. The journal's staff have won a number of top awards from the Society of Professional Journalists, including the top investigative news reporting awards, business reporting awards, government reporting awards, and online news reporting awards.