It’s the curse of every entrepreneur: we love what we do – and doing it on our own terms – so much so that taking time away from the office sometimes seems like an impossibility. We know we should – on some level, we even want to do it – but, you know, there’s just that one last little thing we have to deal with before we go home…
I get it, and I can feel every other overenthusiastic business owner out there nodding in fervent agreement as well. Your business is, in many ways, your biggest pride and joy – you built it from the ground up, you got it to where it is today, and you’re gonna make darn sure that you’re doing everything in your power to keep it growing from Monday to…well, next Monday.
But let’s face it: even the most excited, gung-ho, go-get-‘em business owners need a break, or, failing that, a place outside of the office walls from which to conduct their work every now and then. That’s the subject of a recent interview conducted at the Intuit Small Business Blog, who recently spoke with Scott Leonard, author of The Liberated CEO: The 9-Step Program to Running a Better Business So It Doesn’t Run You.
Mr. Leonard took the unusual but enviable path of running his business from a boat, traveling the world via the water with his wife and sons while keeping up with work for the financial services firm that he founded. In his interview with Intuit, he talks about the side effects of small business owners that overwork and overburden themselves with too much responsibility for their companies, how he managed to work his way up to a remote office at sea, the “feed or fat or kill” process and how it applies to businesses, and how a sabbatical from a CEO actually lead to long-term health benefits for a business.
Here’s a snippet:
ISBB: What are the side effects of a small-business owner taking too much responsibility for his or her company?
Leonard: It’s burnout. When you start your business, you’re gung ho and working incredibly long hours because you’re really excited. You can’t maintain that pace.
What can suffer are your family relationships. When my first son was born, I was meeting with clients who are retired business executives and they said, “Don’t do what I did and work too much and not spend time with your kids.” That really resonated with me.
Are you giving your staff the growth that they need to graduate? A lot of people don’t want to share their job (and the details of what they do) with others, because they see it as job security. If you do everything, you can’t really promote yourself up within the company. You’re not letting anyone else move into those jobs, either.
Your best employees are not going to work for you for 20 years doing the same thing. You’ve got to give them the ability to move up.
All in all, a very interesting read from a CEO who takes a less-than-traditional approach for working remotely while offering some sound advice on how the rest of us overeager entrepreneurs can do the same.
What did you think? Do you try to do things to free yourself from the office? Have you considered taking a sabbatical? Your thoughts are always welcome, so let us know!