It always surprises me when someone sees me doing something and then questions why I'm doing that if I'm the boss -- but it’s often one of my boys who ask that. Sometimes though I will find myself in a conversation with someone who thinks entrepreneurs are so lucky because they can work from home, they have all this flexibility with their time and can work whenever they want, that they have this perfect work/life balance, and they don’t have to report to anyone.
Here’s an especially cute story that happened just recently.
Normally, I read on my Kindle or my phone (stay tuned for another blog post on the perception that if you are looking at your phone then you must be Facebooking or texting when, in fact, you are actually reading an article or a report for work). But back to my story here, so I ordered these “memos” online and the courier had just dropped them off. There is a huge stack of papers and write-ups on sales, marketing, traffic and funnels -- all riveting stuff, right? One of my boys sees me reading all this and asks me about it. I told him I was studying for work, and he looked at me funny and said that classic response, “Aren’t you the boss?” (which makes me think of another blog post on the idea that we should only read and study when someone else tells us to).
But the cold, hard truth of it is -- you always work for someone --
even when you are the boss!
Entrepreneurs are not immune to this. In fact, as an entrepreneur, you may even feel MORE accountable now than when you were just an employee working for a boss. You certainly won’t feel less responsible to follow through, deliver, put in the time, build the business, network, learn, and achieve results. You will scrutinize every minute in a way that no time sheet or boss could have ever driven you to do. ROI takes on totally new meaning to an entrepreneur.
Who’s the boss?
You work for your spouse when you are an entrepreneur. Your spouse who supported the risk you took when you became an entrepreneur.
You work for your partner. Your partner who depends on you and puts in his 50% expecting that the sum of the two ends up >100%. Otherwise, you’d be solopreneurs and not entrepreneurs who are in this together.
You work for your team. Your team who needs you to build processes and technology and provide coaching that enables them to produce quality work every day. This is the team that you promote and pitch during sales lunches, happy hour meetings and marketing phone calls. These are the people you want in your tent so that you can deliver consistent results to your clients. They are the foundation of it all.
You work for your clients. Sometimes directly, but always as an account manager and leader of the business.
So when I get asked, “Aren’t you the boss?”
I always want to shout, “Hell no!”
And if you are the boss? Well, that boss is the most demanding, impossible to please, time-sucking, micro-managing, negative talking b***h that you’ve ever encountered! Because we are all way too hard on ourselves. We put the family, the team, the co-founder, and the clients first (as we should). But we also need to be a little more gentle on ourselves. I’m always reminded of the 80/20 rule here and that creativity needs space to foster.
But until then, I tell my boys, “I work for the meanest boss there is!”