The following is adapted from Life Profitability.
Is your business causing an unbearable strife between you and your life? If so, you’re in good company. Most, if not all, entrepreneurs engage in this war.
No matter how tired you feel and how big the task ahead seems, Herculean efforts will only lead to more ungodly battles of endurance and suffering. Instead, try to do the small, right things every day that steadily move you toward a more enjoyable life, while sustaining a successful business.
Begin a new way of creating a more amicable relationship—an interplay—between life and business. A much more enjoyable business model I call, “life profitability” happens when business becomes less tiresome and life has more freedom.
You can begin this new, less overwhelming part of your entrepreneurial journey with a concerted effort to target three goals in 90 days. These goals don’t need to be massive. In fact, it’s best if they’re on the smaller, more readily achievable side of the spectrum of your wants or needs.
You can do this; it’s not rocket science, but it does require your focus. It all starts with a plan.
The key here is the time window. Ninety days is just enough time to make a plausible plan without having to make massive assumptions beyond the current quarter. It’s also a short enough window to ensure that your goals stay top of mind. Choose three reasonable, yet impactful goals to shoot for in this 90-day time period.
Your commitment will pressure you to follow through, and when you do, it will feel like you’re making progress. Whenever you check something off within that 90-day window, it feels good. Whereas, if you set yourself a goal that’s going to take five years to achieve, it’s easier to lose momentum somewhere during that journey.
When you start deciding on your three goals for ninety days, you’ll have already collected granular data about what is happening in your life. This granularity helps you catch issues you might not even be aware of.
The bigger things that boost you up or bum you out are easy to notice, but ongoing problems you’ve been enduring for a while are not so visible. Looking at the data in the context of your values and the resources you’ll need, the assets you have at your disposal, and the room you have to make potential changes will help you weigh how actionable potential goals are.
When I first implemented this plan to help me live more profitably, I noticed how my goals and desires began from a big-picture vision and became more focused and specific as I thought about them. For example, my first thought was to “Build a business that returns value to shareholders.” Eventually that 30,000 foot view became a more actionable goal to “Achieve monthly profitability.” That goal is not only specific, it is measurable, achievable, time-bound, and relevant. You can see how I planned to turn my ninety-day goal into reality.
When I took stock, I also knew I wanted a profitable, steady business that wasn’t so dependent on my efforts. I wished to give my team more ownership, which would free space for me, not just in terms of time, but in terms of attention I could apply somewhere else—maybe something that could enhance my well-being and health. I was able to identify some areas where this returned great life profitability. However, there were also some items I thought of that were too big to include a 90-day plan.
For instance, I thought about passing off some financial analysis tasks, but I didn’t have someone on the team for that. Putting someone on it would have meant allocating resources toward it when I could achieve other goals more easily. The more I thought about it, the more I realized this notion wasn’t ideally suited for my plan.
Remember to limit your goals to small, incremental, and iterative steps, always reminding yourself that life profitability underpins everything. That context in a limited, imaginable timeframe tends to promote goals that create space or are relatively easy to pull off without costing much.
By completing your first set of 90-day goals, take stock of how it feels. Do you feel a sense of liberation? Have you increased valuable time with family, friends, and activities (besides work) that you enjoy? Do feel less stressed. I know I did.
Once you realize the benefits of enacting some tasks that lead to life profitability, the strife between business and life becomes much more tolerable. Moving forward, life just gets better. You’ve worked hard to get to this point; you deserve to feel better.