Do You Run A Business Or Lead A Life Of Quiet Desperation?

There’s a well known quote by Henry David Thoreau as follows:

“Most men lead lives of quiet desperation and go to the grave with the song still in them”.  How about if we apply this to business (and also update it to ‘most people’) to make it politically ‘correct’? 🙂

Sounding a bit negative perhaps? Then read on:

Consider when we start a business: many think ‘I’ll earn tons of money and have loads of time to do what I want’.  So what’s the first thing that generally happens?  Well…we suddenly discover the opposite: i.e. we don’t seem to have any money and seem to be working every waking hour flat out!!

We have what Michael Gerber calls an ‘Entrepreneurial Seizure’ in his book ‘The E-Myth’– i.e we’re blinded by the excitement of running our own show – ‘being the boss’.  Running a business, however, does require a certain skill set which needs to be learnt – it’s the difference between being a plumber and being a business owner who’s running a plumbing business – or whatever skill or trade you care to name.

So there are two types of business owners then.

Business Option One:

There’s the ‘Can I have 48 hours in a day now please?’ business owner where they:

1) Work every hour God sends.

2) Don’t get paid when they go on holiday (IF they can afford to take the time off!) or when they get sick.

3) After the first few years of running their business by ‘trial and error’ (assuming they made it this far without running out of cash – as roughly 96% of start-ups will fail in the first 10 years) then they’re realising that this is now the ‘opposite’ of what their original dream was i.e. ‘Where’s all that profit I was going to make?’ and ‘What happened to my luxury holidays I promised myself?’

4) Realise that, as the years go on, they’re finding that they’re getting more and more tired and that they’re running round like a headless chicken in ever decreasing circles trying to ‘do the work’ whilst haphazardly trying to find new clients and….

Ok, you get the idea (if you think I’m exaggerating, I promise you you’ll  be amazed as you start to intuitively notice these people day in, day out, ‘putting on a brave face’ when with other business owners)

Business Option Two:

Then there’s the ‘other’ business. Where you made the decision to be the business owner running a business that does ‘xxxxxx’ (fill in the blank to suit your own business type if this is you).

1) Here you made the decision that to successfully run a business you needed to realise your own stengths and weaknesses.

2) You then worked further on your stengths – and hired in your weaknesses.

3) This then leveraged your time to spend 80% of your working week working on business strategy, sales and marketing to further build your business.

4) Then you started to systemise the business step by step so that you leveraged your time even further enabling you to put a manager in place so that the business started to run without you having to be there and…Ah…again…you get the idea.

So back to our original quote then (as applied to business):

It would imply that you have a choice:  Whether you choose to carry on with the masses or do something a little different and start to see your own business in a new light.  Becoming someone who is a business strategist with a clear end plan – crafting your business into a vehicle for your life that will enable you to live a well balanced life to the full.

Are you open to new ideas and interested in further developing your business – at no initial cost to yourself whatsoever?  Call 0845 437 9657 or click here and ask a question.

To Your Success,


Mike Yates is a Business Growth Specialist, International Speaker, Author and Coach who helps the owners of small to medium-sized businesses to make more profit, more quickly, more easily.

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