Self-Care, Vacations, Addictions: 10 Hard Lessons I Learned as a Small Business Owner


At Times We Need to Give ourselves Self-care and Little More Thought to Our Actions as Business Owners, Especially When It Involves Clients. Here are a few of the Hardest Lessons I’ve Learned Over the Years. I Hope They Can Save You a Lot of Time and Misery.


Be Careful Who You Surround Yourself With in Front of Your Clients

I had a situation a few years back where I took a “friend” to an event because she was out of work, and I knew there would be people there who could help her get back into her field. The company VP wanted me to ride with him to the event, and I sat in the lobby with her while he dressed. When the VP came downstairs and was ready to go, she complained that her feet hurt and we were walking too fast. First warning! After the VP, we got to the event, and I slowed down for her. She spoke to everybody, had a drink which led to another drink and another drink.

She got drunk, and I could hear her slurring her words and speaking loudly while I was talking to colleagues on the balcony. Second warning. I pulled her aside and told her, “You are drunk and talking too loud. Bring it down a few notches.” She agreed, but 10 minutes later, she was even louder. Third warning. I was humiliated and embarrassed, and my client was cordial, but I could tell he was not impressed. I opted to leave the event early just to get her out of there.

As we left, she went for the final coup-de-gras and asked several people for their cards. I was mortified as they all lied and said they didn’t bring any cards. Fourth warning. We left, and she removed her shoes and complained about her feet again. We ended up in a coffee shop, and she was now fully drunk. I couldn’t believe I had invited her, and I knew she had a drinking problem, but I was trying to help her get a job. The next day at another event, I had one glass of wine to try relaxing after the mishap the night before, and I got tipsy. I usually don’t drink. Now I have made my own impression.

While the client still does business with me, they have not invited me to any of their events since, and it’s been 3 years. I told her she had made a fool of herself and I was trying to help her. She did what people like her do. She told me I was overthinking it and should not care what the client thought. I should have never expected an alcoholic to take responsibility, especially when she then stated she was not that drunk.

Some people act like they are your friend to go along for the ride, to reap some of the benefits of your hard work, to pick your brain and drain you. My uncle told me when I was a boy that you must always deal with people in every circumstance who have as much to lose as you do. That’s how you establish trust. He was right; another entrepreneur in the same field as me would have thought twice about doing what this woman did.

I realized that most people are in their situations by choice. They don’t want to make the necessary moves to escape a rut; we are not their babysitter. Some of us have been there too. You can’t lay your burdens on others if you are unwilling to do the work first. This woman is an alcoholic, and people with addictions put the addiction ahead of everything else. Being her friend was too much weight on me, so I had to let her go after a couple of other really negative experiences with her. When it comes to doing business, surround yourself with people who have your best interest in mind along with theirs, and not just theirs.

Develop a Relationship with Clients

In my field, people call clients only when they want something. In the interest of their time, I have done the same. A client told me early on that I only call when I want something. That dumbfounded me because I thought, “What the hell else would I call for?” Then I realized that in the true art of selling, you should occasionally reach out to your clients for a regular conversation. There is always room to do a quick pitch at the end, but you never want your clients to avoid your calls.

I make sure I know my clients and things about them that we can talk about besides sales. In the long run, they greatly appreciate that. They know you are there for business, but going the extra mile will put you far ahead of your greedy competitors.

Take a Vacation

I rarely do this, but it is so important. The more you work, the harder it is to leave your business in the hands of others. You fear that they will destroy your business, but that’s rarely the case. Your business can survive for a few days without you, and the benefit is that when you get back, you are ready to take on your job with a new perspective, fresh eyes, and new energy. You can even take a mini-vacation in a nicer resort part of your city for a few days or somewhere close.

Treat Yourself

Take yourself to lunch, a movie, or the museum once a week. If you are over 50, AARP has amazing coupon deals where you can try different restaurants and various entertainment functions. Whatever it is you like to do, pick a day to do it and do it alone or with another positive entrepreneur.

Watch your Accounting and Taxes

Very important. Make sure your finances are on point. Enough said.

Step away to create Your Growth.

Take a day off a couple of times a month to attend seminars or meetings that can help your business grow. The time away will do you good.

Competitors can be Dirty.

When you are on top, staying there is very hard, and some people don’t want to see you there. Always be cordial, handle your business, and know your enemies and what they are up to. Clients are a great source of this kind of information. When they like you, they will look out for you and give you valuable information about competitors and your employees.

Make Appearances but Never Isolate

There was a time when I was content to do the work, hide, and just collect the money. That’s a mistake. This is your opportunity for growth. Hire someone temporarily to do some of your work while you occasionally play politician. Never stay till the end of an event and never be the first one there. Whisk through, speak to the VIPs, leave a great impression, and let guests wonder where you went.

Spend Your Day Wisely

Stay off social networks unless it’s LinkedIn. Facebook is a horrible way to spend any time during the day, as well as Twitter, unless you are marketing your product. I don’t even watch TV. I don’t like wasting time.

Take Care of Yourself/Work Out

Hire a qualified trainer and go to the gym. I say qualified because there are a ton of fake trainers out there who don’t know what they are doing, and you will get injured. Spend the money and the time on what actually works. Being an entrepreneur in great shape opens many more doors for you. I’ve seen it firsthand. Appearance is everything. Don’t be fooled and spend money on chain gym trainers; they suck and they lack the qualifications. Real trainers balk at chains because they don’t pay enough, so they don’t work for them. My best in business… Kev


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here