This question was recently posed to WorkItMom:
“If I am going to start a business, does it mean that I will have to work 10 hours a day from the start?”
The quick and easy answer to this question is: It depends what kind of business you want to start.
But even hearing the question makes me wonder what people think business ownership is all about.
This reminds me of my post Are You An Entrepreneur Or…?, but let’s revisit the topic, shall we?
For some reason, starting a business is one of those “Great American Dreams” next to writing the “Great American Novel” and “Buying a House with a White Picket Fence.” Since when did entrepreneurship get such fantasy treatment? Don’t get me wrong. I love love love having and running my own business. But it isn’t easy, and has been made even more difficult since I’ve had a baby.
So here’s my long answer to the question about having to work 10 hour days when you start a business.
1. You need to know why you want to be an entrepreneur. If you are asking how much time you will have to devote to your business, you might rethink whether you really want to own a business or not. Entrepreneurs don’t start businesses based on the size of the time commitment. They start businesses because they want to have a business or want to fill a need in the marketplace and think they are the ones to do it or they think they can make a difference with a business.
2. You need to know what kind of business you want to start. If you are asking how much time you will have to devote to your business day-to-day, you might want to first ask yourself what kind of business you want to start. Then you can do some research and ask other entrepreneurs in your field how much time they spend on their business.
3. You need to work a lot on a business. How much is a lot? That depends on the type of business, and your financial and business goals. If you are looking to pinpoint and limit your time commitment to your work to fit into the rest of your life, please take a part-time job with set hours.
2. You need to work when work needs to be done. If you don’t have some degree of flexibility with your time, chances are you’d be better off not starting a business. If you don’t have staff when you startup, everything rests on your shoulders, and that burden can be very heavy.
4. You need to work to have a business. Your business will not thrive if you expect it to sit around and wait for you to attend to it. No time to work? Your business probably won’t take off much less survive.
4. You can tailor your business to fit your life, but business suffers. This is the old theory of “you can’t have it all” or “you can have it all but not all at once.” If you put your life as a priority, which by all means I encourage, then business will suffer unless you have others in place to do the work for you.
5. You can try not to tailor your life to fit your business, but your life suffers. I don’t know any successful entrepreneur - successful in terms of profitable, in money terms - who can honestly say that their personal life or relationships have not suffered in some way or at some time because they spent more time on their business.
Bottom Line: Starting and running a business takes time and lots of it. There’s usually no way around that fact. But if you find a way, let us know!