running a business

By Rieva Lesonsky

One thing I love about owning my own business is being in control of my time and my life. No more boss telling me when to get in to the office, what to do or even what to wear. Apparently, I’m not alone. Some 96 percent of U.S. small business owners in a new survey say the best part of running a business is having control and flexibility.

Small business owners also love talking to clients and customers, the TD Bank Small Business Month Survey says. More than two-thirds (68 percent) report that’s their favorite part of running a business, while 40 percent love fulfilling products orders or providing services, and one-fourth love selling and setting appointments.

OK, so what do small business owners hate? Not surprisingly (to me, anyway), bookkeeping topped the list. Although 15 percent listed bookkeeping as their favorite small business task, they were far outweighed by the 46 percent who say it’s their most-hated chore. Marketing and banking/finances tied for second-most-hated tasks (22 percent each).

As a small business owner, you put in long hours. Almost half of survey respondents work more than 40 hours per week, and 40 percent work between 40 and 60 hours. When you’re devoting that much time to your business, wouldn’t it be nice to enjoy what you’re doing?

How can you do more of what you love and less of what you hate on a daily basis? Try these three tips:

  1. Choose a business you enjoy. If you’re still working on your business idea, it’s important to pick something you’re passionate about. This is the number-one advice I hear from small business owners. Burning the midnight oil getting your company off the ground is a lot easier if you love what you’re doing!
  2. Get help. If at all possible, outsource, hire employees or find a business partner who loves doing what you hate to do. If you hate selling, you’re going to be in trouble, since sales is key to any business’s success. If you can’t afford to hire inside salespeople, options include hiring an independent sales rep who is willing to work on commission or finding a partner who’s good at sales so you can focus on what you do best. On a really tight budget? Enlist family and friends to help out until you can afford to outsource.
  3. Learn to love it. When you don’t know how to do something well, you’re probably not going to enjoy doing it. Fortunately, there are many ways to learn the ropes of everything from social media to management to bookkeeping and accounting. Adult education or community college courses, online webinars and courses, or industry association seminars are just a few. You can also check out SCORE and your local Small Business Development Center (SBDC), both of which offer free and low-cost services and consulting from small business experts (disclosure: Both organizations are clients of my company).

By doing more of what you love and less of what you hate, you’ll enjoy life more–and likely enjoy a more profitable business, too.