Are You Sacrificing Your Life for Your Business?

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John Nieuwenburg

John Nieuwenburg has been a professional business coach since 2004. Prior to becoming a coach, he held executive positions with Tip Top Tailors and BC Liquor Stores. In 2019, MacKay CEO Forums awarded him with Canada’s CEO Trusted Advisor Award in the Small Business category. Since becoming a coach, John has worked with over 350 clients, taking them through a systematic process that helps them feel organized, confident and in control of their businesses.

Our mission here at W5 is to help owners create a business that gives them the life they want.

No one is born to “do business” – we’re born to live.

Yet too many owners sacrifice their lives for their business.

Let me give you an example.

One day a prospective client called me up because his wife had told him:

“Your business is your mistress. Either you do something about it, or I will.”

That was the day he decided to get coaching.

For months, maybe even years before that, his business was consuming him. He’d work late, work weekends, and sometimes even crash on the sofa in his office.

I hear some version of this all the time from my clients:

  • My family needs me, and I want to spend time with them, but I can’t because the business would fall apart without me.
  • I’m missing my kids’ practices or recitals and I feel like a bad parent, but I need to make the business successful to look after my family.
  • I’m making good money, but I can’t enjoy it because I’m spending all my time at work.

Or they may be physically home with their family, but mentally they’re checked out worrying about the business.

In so many cases, these businesses are not only “not giving the owners the life they want” – the business is actually making their life worse.

Business Problems are Often Personal Problems in Disguise

This is ONE of the reasons why I often say that business problems are personal problems in disguise.

My clients may come in the door seeking help with any of the big three business problems – time, team, money – but what they’re really seeking is a better life.

They want the time, energy, and mental presence to be with their spouse and children. They want time off to enjoy the wealth their business provides.

The other reason why I say that business problems are personal problems in disguise hits a little closer to home.

In the quest to build a better business – a business that will give you the life you really want – you will need to work on yourself.

Another saying we have here at W5 is this:

If the owner wants a better business, first the business needs a better owner.

Becoming a better owner comes down to the 3 A’s: Acumen, Activity, and Attitude.

Acumen is about knowledge and skill-building.

Most business owners never got formal business training.

Instead, they were really good at what they do and they turned it into a business.

They started out as one guy doing plumbing and now they have 5 plumbers and 5 trucks. Or they started out as a freelance graphic designer and grew into an agency.

So part of becoming a better owner is to gain some knowledge about business and to learn the skills necessary to run a good business.

This part is the easy part.

Activity is about behaviour. It’s about taking action and getting things done.

Hiring a team. Training your employees. Doing the marketing and making the sales. Creating a plan. Tracking results. Developing systems. Being a leader.

This part isn’t that hard either, although it often helps to have someone hold you accountable for doing the things you said you would do!

The third part is where business and personal collide.

Attitude, or as I prefer to call it, “mindset,” is what will make you or break you as a business owner.

Mindset is about thinking differently. Seeing your business as an entity separate from yourself.

Mindset is about leaving your comfort zone and confronting your challenges head on.

Mindset is about shifting your identify from the person who is good at doing the work of your business (eg: being a great plumber) and taking on the role of business owner and team leader.

Mindset is having a positive attitude, setting goals, and then doing what it takes to achieve them.

There are many personal issues and challenges that can get in the way of this third very important A.

  • Fear is a big one. Fear of failure, fear of success, fear of looking foolish.
  • Ego is another big one. Not wanting to ask for help, not willing to admit not knowing something, not wanting to admit making mistakes.
  • Complacency. Being OK with how things are, more interested in complaining than doing something about it.

And sometimes those personal issues and challenges run much deeper.

Is your business giving you the life you want?

Where do you see your challenges? Acumen? Activity? Mindset?

How long do you want to go on like this? (If you keep doing what you’ve been doing, you’ll keep getting what you’ve been getting.)

I’ve helped 100s of owners through these challenges. (You can read their stories here: Testimonials)

If you’re ready to finally get a business that gives you the life you want, book 15 minutes to talk about coaching here: Book a Call with John

Your life is waiting.

The Ultimate Guide to Becoming a Better Business Owner

become a better owner

If an owner wants a better business, first the business needs a better owner.

This post is part of my Ultimate Guide to Becoming a Better Business Owner. Visit the guide homepage to get my best advice and coaching exercises to help you with:

  • Mindset. Thinking like an owner and seeing the big picture of your business.
  • Planning. Deciding what you want, setting a goal, and making plans to get after it.
  • Habits. Changing your behaviours to help you get what you want.
  • Learning. Getting new information and developing new skills.
  • Growth. Facing your fears, stepping outside your comfort zone, and doing what it necessary to create the business of your dreams.