When there’s only one person operating a small business, a very tiny small business, you stay aware of the need to focus on that business every day.
For many of us, taking time off on the weekends rarely happens. Just as a farmer always needs to be there to milk the cows, we need to keep chipping away at our workload, day after day. If we don’t tend our business, who will?
Last year I re-joined the local Chamber of Commerce, something that I consider vital for the community and for my business, even though my business is mainly conducted online. Immediately I was swept up into the excitement of elections and the need for more active Chamber members. Being the helpful, accommodating kind of person I am, I ended up not only agreeing to a nomination, but I was also placed in a secretarial position.
For months I attended Chamber meetings and tried to learn event planning. I did everything I could to participate and help the group. My real struggle was at home, with my online small business. Soon my business was suffering because I was giving too much of my time and energy to the community organization.
Here’s what I learned.
When you own a one-person online small business as I do, there’s only one person to work that business, and that’s YOU. Nobody else will do it. I can’t even get my best friend to help with this. It is all on me. If I don’t work to continually expand and maintain this business, nobody will.
It is different with other businesses. Many local businesses are owned by one person or family, and run by multiple employees. The business owners are free to participate as community volunteers because they are not actively involved in their businesses every day.
My online small business needs me, the one and only worker… so I surprised everyone, and quit my position on the Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors. They were surprised because they knew I loved doing that. But I had to save my business.
A lot of people think that because we work from home and set our own hours our work time isn’t important, but that’s not the case. Creating an effective and prosperous online small business involves a lot of time and focus. Time must be managed and goals must be met. Every day something must be accomplished.
A lot of the time I don’t feel enthusiastic or motivated. Sometimes my eyes gloss over and I feel like crawling back into bed! But I have to get past that feeling and start in on something. Once I get started, the enthusiasm comes back, the ideas start to percolate, and the joy in working comes back full-force.
Remember: Time is money.