Why are you working your ass off and neglecting your own life?
Spent much of 2015 talking with others in the same spot as me. Respectable numbers, decent position in the company, potential for growth is clearly there, but not happy. We concluded we’ll never be happy, it’s our nature to want more.
However, since 2010 (the year which matters) I have seen many leave the industry from this forum. More left locally.
My God damn point is this. Many build a business and then sell. What’s the score here? What are we working for? Just to build something respectable to sell?
I have learned from many others, that more sales does not mean more money in my pocket. What’s the sweet spot? What’s the bullseye?
There is no “we”. everybody has different skin in the game. some guys just love the job. some love the fairly decent earning power of something so simple and mindless. some see it as a stepping stone to accrue assets that they can then shunt into something really big.
for me, it’s flexibility. i earn a really nice living, but i still have a lot of freedom. i take way way more time off than all my buddies who work corporate jobs, i can make last second travel plans with little to no resistance, if i feel lazy today i can usually swing it so i’m off drinking beer by 2pm (not that i make a habit of that…), i earn even when i’m sick or at the doctor’s with my wife etc etc etc…
and yet, this thing is totally open ended. if i cared enough, i could double my sales with profit to match inside of 24 months. the only real dissatisfaction i have is that i know i’m the only obstacle. I know for a fact that my own procrastination and lack of ambition is the ONLY thing holding me back from [I]fill in the blank[/I]. it’s liberating and frustrating at the same time.
would i sell? sure.[I]when it’s ready[/I]. do i have a plan to sell? not really. but hey, i’m 38. I can spend the next 5 years figuring that out and still be in great shape to do something else.
some guys don’t burn out because their [I]sweet spot[/I] is the owner/operator situation. They get all the satisfaction and profit they need out of going to work, busting it, rapping with the custy etc year after year until they retire. nothing wrong with that.
for the other guys, burnout is the result of stagnation, imho. if you have no traction, you’ll burn out- either from grinding in the field year after year with no perceivable change in fortune on the horizon , or repeated failures and setbacks (because[I] you’re doing it wrong.[/I]) as long as you have a plan and are making significant strides in that direction, you can fend off burnout indefinitely.
breaks down the revenue levels of businesses with the 1-5mil revenue being the toughest
i agree with the 5 levels he had, esp watching the arc of All County (1-3 mil? ending size)
and guess what, if someone really wants to own a turn key biz that supposedly “runs by itself” in all aspects, not just a GM for the field guys, in window cleaning one is going to need to break thru the 40+ full time field employees (plus all the office, sales, managers and accounting folks) to arrive at the 5mil mark
a 1 mil biz is just arriving at the beginning point of a lot of HR needs and middle mgmt and is beyond the owner, thus new needs that cost more that need more revenue and larger size round robin.
8-40 employees is the “toughest” size? I say that’s why 99% find their own personal sweet spot under 10 employees, that’s a long haul getting past 40 in the field, not to mention all the middle mgmt and HR infrastructure in that inbetween time
that size is pretty much going to be downtown high rise, but the job sizes would need to be 10k min
so most owners are under 10 employees (probably more like 5 or less full time employees), have found a sweet spot where they handle all the non field stuff
or, back to the first line: everyone has their different comfort zone
35 yrs. Don’t look at is as a business as much as it is a job. I thank God every day for giving me a great job where I’m the boss. When I start feeling burned out, it’s usually cause I’m comparing to others. Downsizing does wonders for burn-out and eliminate the things that cause stress and that’s usually people or things you can’t control.
Next year I will have officially been in business for 20 years. In the last few years I have become much more selective about the people I will do work for and the kind of work I will do. Running my business has become less about growth and more about where I can maximize profits. I’m getting rid of some accounts through attrition because I don’t like the job, it’s too much work, or doesn’t generate the margins I want. These are the things that keep me motivated to be in business for myself:
I love my clients because I have made friends with so many people and have learned so many life lessons from them. They’re fun to work for so it makes it easy to go to work.
I can quit work at 2 or 3 to go ride my bike
I can quit work at noon to go to the lake and surf
I can decide not to work at all and go to the lake and surf all day
I can take off in the middle of the week to go ride snow machines while my friends are at work
whats worked for me [and i found it by accident] is to keep generating more work for 3 employees , push push cramming in more work keep everyone busybees but then switch back to having 2 employees only. suddenly iv got that 3rd employees wages all to myself ! while suprisingly we still cope with the workload if anything we are faster thru it
The rewarding part is when you get to raise your prices because you know how to market your self and your services. I have come across other companys/solo-guys that still charge $25 an hour.
In my first year of business I would jump out of bed for $25 an hour. I slowly experienced a little burnout in my 3rd and 4th year and then I figured out that there are certain markets and services (power washing/gutter cleaning) that I have been able to make $100 an hour or more.
So now that im in my 6th year I learned that happiness is dropping the low paying accounts and focusing on the ones that pay $75 and up, and so far there seems to be no shortage of the latter.
We are finishing our 5th year, and it has been a true blessing to have this business.
An interesting lesson that I’ve learned is that I can make a really nice living doing based around a simple service. The key is to work be a hard worker.
Our business has given me the confidence to begin thinking about doing other things that I once thought would be “too hard” or take “too long”. But just like the concept of Kaizen, a little hard work every day can take you to a wonderful new level.
I know now that I won’t have this business for life. I’m going to use it as a springboard. The last 5 years have been amazing. Looking forward to where the next 5 leads.
Sent from my iPhone using Window Cleaning Resource mobile app
This business has given me the lifestyle that I want for the past 16 years. I started it on my daughter’s first birthday, and now she’s a senior in high school. I haven’t missed anything that she or her sister have done. And I’ve made some money in the process.
I don’t have a “bullseye.” I love what it has done for my life.
Many get into this for the “lifestyle”, being our own boss, working outside in the summer. Then we do something. We do it right, the snow ball rolls and and grows. Everything changes when you hire.
We want them to be great workers, we want them to be on time, in good spirits and to treat clients extremely well.
They want: consistent work, high pay, everything under the sun.
So you hire to keep up, you learn from the first 3 hires, you grow some more with the help of a solid guy. Then he leaves, you’re back to rookies basically and the snow ball keeps growing. I think this is how burn out often happens. That and I need to get over the turnover in this industry.
[MENTION=7230]c_wininger[/MENTION] I have so much to say about this… I am marking this now and will return after work today… hopefully around 3pm but I am too driven to say no if I can add something else to the schedule.