You launched your own business to achieve personal, professional and financial freedom. But that very same business has now become a virtual prison that holds you captive -- even during the holidays.
If that sounds familiar then you're not alone. Amy Katz and I have been in business together and/or worked with one another for more than a decade. One of our early ventures, Nine Lives Media, was a pretty awesome journey (2008-2011) -- though there were also some high-stress times. Including the holidays. Although we were "on vacation" for portions of Christmas, Hanukkah and New Years, the Nine Lives business was labor intensive. We spent many holidays and vacations implementing site updates or new sponsor programs.
At times, it was a grind that pulled us away from our families far more often than we'd care to admit.
Learning From Our Mistakes
We loved that business, which ultimately got acquired in August 2011. But we made a vow: If we ever launched a business together again, the resulting company would greatly simplified and highly automated.
Frankly, we were media veterans who needed to think more like MSPs who have mastered (A) business process documentation and (B) automation. With those priorities in mind we launched After Nines Inc. in September 2014 and its media brand, ChannelE2E, in September 2015. Much of what you see -- excluding the actual blogging and sponsorship relationships -- is automated.
The result? Amy and I actually had relaxing holidays with our respective families this past week.
Still, we can do even better. Among our priorities for 2017: More marketing automation, a more fully documented business continuity plan, and a DevOps approach to sustained ChannelE2E site enhancements.
Your Business: Freedom or Prison?
As we plan our own business moves for 2017, I wonder: Are you coming closer to achieving business freedom -- or were you a prisoner of your own company during the holidays?
Of all the New Years resolutions you can make, stick with this one: Seek new ways to break free from your own business. Eliminate tasks that deliver minimal or no ROI. Delegate. Automate. Figure out how the business would survive if you fired yourself or retired. Each time you step away from your company, you'll return with renewed energy and focus. And you'll spend less time resenting the very business that was supposed to set you free...