I never understand why people think you can’t “have your cake and eat it too.”
I mean, think about it. If you had cake, why would you not eat it?!
As it turns out, the correct phrase is actually “eat your cake and have it too,” which makes much more sense because it would be awesome if you could eat all your cake and still have more cake (if you’re not hungry by now, your heart stomach is not in this article).
Still, that’s the dream when you’re building a business, isn’t it?
You want to be able to eat your cake and still have more cake. You want a business that fuels your lifestyle, rather than one that sucks the life out of you every day.
And that is why I define a thriving business as more than just effective and efficient, but enjoyable too.
The enjoyability factor is overlooked by many entrepreneurs as a nice perk, but I see it as foundational to the success of your business.
Building a business takes time and effort, likely requiring you to sacrifice other fun projects to work hard, against resistance, over a long period of time.
In fact, resilience is one of those traits that successful entrepreneurs claim is the key to their success, and resilience becomes easier as soon as you enjoy the work that you’re doing.
So how do you evaluate the success of your business, in terms of the enjoyability factor? I’m glad you asked!
Three Key Ingredients to an Enjoyable Business
Some people say, “If you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life.”
I think they’re on the right track, but I disagree—building a business takes work, no matter how passionate you are about it!
Still, work and joy are not mutually exclusive. There are three key ingredients to an enjoyable business. An enjoyable business. . .
- Pursues your personal legend. You may think of this as your calling or personal mission, but whatever you call it, we all have a purpose on this planet. As Paul Coelho writes in The Alchemist, “When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.” I find that to be true, but only when you’re listening to that “still, small voice” and pursuing purpose before profit in the work that you do. Get crystal clarity on what you want.
- Supports your desired lifestyle. This is a prerequisite, yet so many business owners skip it. Where do you want to spend your time? How much time do you want to spend on your business? What do you want your role to look like? You have the ability to design a business that supports your desired lifestyle, so don’t stumble into a lifestyle you don’t want.
- Generates consistent profit. If you don’t have this, every month becomes a burden in terms of how you’re going to pay the bills. If you do have this, every new idea has a funding source, and your family is going to see immediate value in your business every time that you pay yourself (which is why you should always take profit first).
There are many different ways to look at this, but you may need to take a Marie Kondo look at your business and ask, “Does this spark joy?”
If it doesn’t, why not? What can you change to create an enjoyable business that supports your life, rather than a life that supports your business?
The New Enjoyable Business I’m Building
I’m opening a new coworking space in Columbia, and I’ve intentionally designed the business to accomplish all three.
My mission is to systemize success for entrepreneurs, and I’ve experienced firsthand the loneliness that comes from building a business without a strong community of peers, so I want to provide that community to small business owners in my hometown.
I can walk from my house to the coworking office location, which supports my desired lifestyle of spending the majority of my time near home in Columbia. The business will require a lot of upfront work to get off the ground, but I won’t have any ongoing operational responsibilities.
Getting started does require a financial investment from me, but I expect to pay that investment back to myself within the first six months of business. The business breaks even at 10 – 15 full-time members, and after that it should generate healthy profit every month.
Every day I wake up excited about this new business venture. Not just because it’s new, but because this business has all three key ingredients of an enjoyable business!
The Family Factor Behind Enjoyable Business
An enjoyable business that “supports your desired lifestyle” does more than just limit your travel, number of hours, or commute. For the most part, those are all a means to an end, but the real motivation for me comes back to putting my family first.
We just became “Meese, party of 5” with the birth of Myron Michael Meese on November 8, 2019, and I couldn’t be more thrilled! Children take a lot of work, but they are worth it.
Every time I revisit my work priorities or new business ventures I think back to my family. How does this affect them for better or worse?
At the end of the day, my kids don’t really care if we have a nice house or car or a bunch of money in the bank. They need to feel safe, loved, and cared for. The only thing they want more of from me is quality time.
Opening a business walking distance from my house is designed to provide a vibrant workspace that I can use myself, meaning I spend more time at home or near home and my kids can visit work anytime.
Everyone’s family needs are a little bit different, but your business doesn’t happen by accident. You get to choose your business model based on your priorities and what your family needs.
Does your business support your life, or your life support your business? That’s up to you.
Question: What would need to change for you to have all three ingredients of an enjoyable business today?