How I Regained my Freedom as a Business Owner

For many employees, the Covid pandemic brought the ability to work remotely for the very first time. Two years later, the flexibility of the hybrid work environment comes with a price tag – the company’s expectation that employees should respond to requests and messages at night and on weekends.

This is just one of the reasons why the ‘Great Resignation’ movement is happening at all levels up and down the corporate ladder. As a result, a record number of individuals are leaving the corporate work environment to open new businesses in search of greener pastures, control over their time, and ultimately a happier, healthier lifestyle.

Freedom is not guaranteed for entrepreneurs and business owners.

While I founded Brio on the principle that being a business owner is the key to freedom in life, that freedom isn’t automatic or guaranteed. I missed out on the precious years of my two sons’ childhoods because I was always working as the business owner.

As entrepreneurs, we are responsible for all facets of a company, which has a way of stealing focus from everything else. Our priorities in life slowly reduce to one all consuming priority – the business and its ever-growing needs. But it doesn’t have to be that way!

I’ll share five tips that helped me get back on track and ensure ALL of my priorities stayed alive and in front of me at all times.

1. Talk about what is important to you (outside of the business you’re developing).
What do you live for? For me, it’s my family. For others, it may be seeing the world or a cause they are passionate about. When I talk about my children, it gives me life. I am reminded that I live for (and to be with) my family. I’m reminded of my love for them.

The more we talk about what is important to us, the more we cannot tolerate the times in our lives when we don’t act consistent with what we say we exist for, and we naturally find ourselves returning to the practices in our lives that honor those commitments.

2. Make a commitment to be involved in organizations you’re passionate about.
What makes diamonds sparkle with brilliance is the way they are cut. The many facets give the stone depth – making it interesting, alluring, and eye-catching. If we are only about our business, we are one-dimensional, and eventually that becomes boring … even to ourselves.To avoid this trap, make a commitment to participate in an organization outside of your business and around something you’re passionate about. It could be your faith community, a civic organization, mentoring the next generation, or providing access to resources to disadvantaged populations.Whatever it looks like, that commitment takes you out of your world and has you look at life from a different perspective. Interestingly, some of my most inspired business ideas come from such participation – and I never see them coming!

3. Talk about your WHY.
If you aren’t familiar with Simon Sinek’s “Start with Why” TED Talk, then “Do not pass go, do not collect $200 … go straight to YouTube!” Since it’s easy to become lost in all the “doing” of tasks required as an entrepreneur, the best way to stay present to WHY you’re doing all of the things is to share your WHY with people. And not just some people, all people. You might notice it’s a bit like peeling back an onion. Every time you share, you’ll discover something new about WHY you’re creating this venture. One important warning: if you repeat your why like a scripted robot, you’re toast. You won’t inspire anyone, especially yourself. It has to come from your heart. Every time.

4. Tell people what challenges you.
Humans are programmed to hide our imperfections. We like to put our best foot forward and be seen as strong, confident, and capable. Talking about our challenges takes being vulnerable and that scares our ego.

But here’s the secret … no one wants to help people who don’t need or want help. And let’s face it, as entrepreneurs, we need all the help we can get! And I’ve learned that people want to help; most people want to contribute to someone else’s success because it makes them feel good!

The art is to have it become their idea, which is simple. Share a challenge you’re facing, and then ask, “Do you have any ideas about what I should do?” But of course they want to give advice and share their opinion – what an ego boost for them! Afterwards simply ask, “Do you know anyone who might be able to help me do that?” then stand back and be amazed. Another problem was just solved!

5. Make time for your team to share all of this with each other.
If you have a team working with you on this venture, make time for your team to share the first four with each other. If you don’t have a team, then form a cohort of other solopreneurs and create a weekly time where you can share these kinds of conversations with each other.

You’ll notice that everyone who participates in the discussion is both happier and more productive. When you are the catalyst for that kind of experience for the people around you, they will naturally become loyal. They like the way they feel when they’re with you.

None of this is rocket science, it’s actually very simple. And you may have noticed a theme: sharing.

Sharing with others keeps it all alive.
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