Three years ago I wrote a blog post for Ryan Schlaefer Fine Furniture, a company I co-own with my husband. It was entitled, “Owning a business isn’t a job, it’s a lifestyle,” and it resonated with many of our small business owner friends.
My husband and I have been small business owners since 2004, and I officially quit being an employee in 2008 in order to grow HeidiTown.com and my freelance writing career. It may sound glamorous to someone who works an eight-to-five job, but the fact is that business owners never actually clock out.
Small business owners know all too well that leaving the office doesn’t mean leaving the business. We take our business with us everywhere we go – we eat with it, sleep with it and even vacation with it.
If you are a business owner, think about the last dinner conversation you had with your spouse. I’m willing to bet a lot that it was about your business. When was the last time you took a vacation that wasn’t interrupted by business calls or emails? In our case, never. When was the last time you took a sick day? I can hear your laughter from here. There are no sick days for the self-employed.
This isn’t to say that there aren’t perks to being self-employed. If Ryan and I want to kick off early on a Friday to head to the mountains, no problem. We don’t have to ask the boss for time off for a doctor’s appointment.
The fact is that we each choose the sort of stress we want to deal with in our lives and for small business owners, the stress of fulfilling our own dream by working 80 hours a week is preferable to the stress of having to work 40 hours a week to fulfill someone else’s dream.
The key is finding balance. The lifestyle of business ownership must include some fun. I’m putting together an event over Memorial Day Weekend called HeidiTown Fest. It’s a celebration of Colorado (and gals named Heidi are VVIPs). This festival is an opportunity for anyone, including small business owners, to enjoy the beautiful village of Ouray for a weekend of hot springs soaking, four-wheel drive tours, rafting adventures and more.
And the good news? Ouray has excellent wi-fi for those important emails that just have to be answered.
Heidi Kerr-Schlaefer is the co-owner of Ryan Schlaefer Fine Furniture, a Loveland-based furniture design and manufacturing company. She is also a freelance writer and founder of HeidiTown.com, a blog about Colorado festivals and travel. She was recently called a “one-woman tourism-promotion” machine by Biz West.