Working on your Business vs Working in your Business

When I started my bookkeeping company Innovative Financial Services, LLC back in 2001 I never really put any thought into developing a business plan.  I had worked for a small CPA firm back in my early 20’s. One of my clients gave me this bright idea of opening a bookkeeping firm, but what do you know at 20? I needed more experience and confidence.  It was not until I turned 30 that I felt I was ready. I was going to go into business for myself.

I began googling all sorts of bookkeeping franchises and bookkeeping companies to find out what services they were offering.  I mean how hard could it be? I had been doing bookkeeping for years.  I was in love with the idea of being self-employed.  I wanted to be in control of my own destiny.   I was hungry for work and I was a single parent.  My son was twelve years old and I needed to pay my bills.  I was doing about eight networking events a month and focused on building business relationships.   I wanted to get business in the door. I took on any client out there.  It did not matter if they were in QuickBooks, Peachtree, Mas90 or horror forbid only on paper and in a box.   My focus was “I needed to make money”.  Suddenly without even realizing it I was working 80 hours a week.   I was more like an employee in my business than the owner of my business. I ended up attracting the wrong type of clients, not getting paid, not charging nearly enough, constantly putting fires out and under-valuing myself.  I had even brought on employees before any procedures were in place. I was not making any money.  I was working all the time.

I realized my business was running me and I no longer loved my business. But none of this was overnight.   It took me 5 years to realize I needed a drastic change. I needed to focus on my levels of service, different packages, pricing options.  This is where I started “Working on my business versus in my business.” It was life changing.

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