Should Business Be Hard...or Easy?

The Fears of a Business Owner

I’ve heard a lot of talk in my network lately about two specific types of fear business owners are experiencing. Some people are afraid because business is HARD right now. They are hustling hard, staying up late, sneaking in time on the weekend, and it all just feels HARD. Their fear is that business is supposed to be EASY, so if they’re not sipping margaritas on the beach while tens of thousands of dollars pour into their bank account by the hour, they must be doing something wrong. They can’t feel successful, because scores of entrepreneurial gurus are telling them that their business should only take 4 hours of their week. Thousands of perfectly curated Instagram grids are berating them with images of what their businesses and lives should look like...and the entrepreneurs smiling effortlessly in those pictures certainly don’t seem to be finding their work “hard.”

On the flip side, some people are afraid because business is EASY right now.  They are used to the hustle and if they aren’t hustling, they are missing out on something...some money to be gained, new growth to experience, SOMETHING. They can’t settle down and see their success, because somehow, there must be more. Somehow somewhere success was defined by someone as long hours and immense sacrifice of family, friends, and living life.

So we have these two competing mindsets that seem to constantly be at war with each other in the entrepreneur’s mind.  Now which one is right? Should your business be easy or should it be hard?

The answer is neither and both at the same time.

Business (and life) is cyclical, and the more we embrace that, the less we’ll feel that nagging discontentment telling us to be something other than what we are in this moment.

Sometimes, we have to hustle hard to reach our goals. We stay up late, refill our third, fourth, and fifth cup of coffee, and work until we fall asleep at our laptops (ask me how I know that). And then, we get up and do the same thing the next day. Does that mean we’re doing it wrong? Not necessarily.

Hard does not equal bad.

There might be things to improve, systems to implement, ways to do things better. (Spoiler alert: there will always be something to improve!)  But there are also times when things are just hard and you have to work hard. And that’s OK. If you’re in that place right now, you’re not less of a business owner, you’re not a failure. The key is to own your place.

In the past year, Dan and I have been in the hard, hustle phase of our business. We’ve tag-teamed our new business and our two young children with little to no help, and we’ve often been asked how we’re keeping up the pace. Our answer is always, “It’s hard, but it’s our hard.” We’re owning and thriving this season of hustle, knowing that we are building a business that will sustain our family and allow us to live with the type of flexibility we always dreamed of. We’re testing out different aspects of the business and seeing what is going to allow us both to operate in our zones of genius and ultimately be the most profitable. We’re also testing out how much (or honestly, how little), childcare we can get away with, but that’s an entirely other post. Could we sustain this pace forever? Probably not, and we don’t intend to. But for now, we’re surpassing our revenue goals and growing the business in new and exciting ways. It’s our hard, and hard doesn’t equal bad.

So what if things aren’t hard in your business? What if things are...easy? You’re able to check all the boxes, the money coming in consistently, and you still have time and energy to spare. Is that enough? It can be.

Easy does not equal apathetic.

This mindset of “I’m not successful if I’m not hustling” is just as false as the opposite mindset! If your business is easy right now, that does not mean that you are not doing enough. You’re not lazy or less driven or less of a business leader, so reject the discontentment that creeps in when yet another “hustle or die” meme pops into your feed.

The key is to set your own goals, define your own success, and stop comparing yourself and your business to anyone else. Define and embrace your enough.

Hard does not equal bad. Easy does not equal apathetic.

I’d love for you to join us in The CEO Seat, and tell us if things in your business right now are easy, hard, or somewhere in between.