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How my business is like a two-year-old

Posted by PointA_PointB on September 8, 2011

Over the recent holiday weekend I tried to follow my own advice and take some time away from my business. Since I work for myself, I figured I could take a little road trip, clear my head, and visit some friends and family. I didn’t count on some of the things that happened and it became clear to me that my business is like a two-year-old.

Needs constant attention
I figured it was safe to “go dark” regarding e-mails and social media during a major U.S. holiday weekend, but in fact I had a prospect looking to talk to me and wanting more information about my services, and one looking to finalize a project and pay me. (Actually, I was happy to take those calls!)

Wakes you up in the middle of the night
I found myself obsessing over some things that I hadn’t done for a business partner. While I was pretty sure they would not look at anything over the weekend, I had stress dreams about not having sent the documents and finally sent an e-mail explaining when I would send them, which they probably didn’t read until Tuesday…but it made me feel better to follow up.

Throws tantrums when I turn my attention elsewhere
I was completely exhausted and needed to recharge after a very long drive. Subsequently, I failed to follow up on an important opportunity, which I may have lost. Not logging into Facebook to see a message that somehow didn’t show up on my BlackBerry = #fail.

Refuses to do what I ask it to do
Two-year-olds do everything at their own pace – toddlers speak, eat, and potty train only when they are ready. My business seems to have a mind of its own and grows at its own pace, not always exactly in the way or according to the timing that I hope it will.

Is very sweet, cute, and appealing on the outside but can be a little monster
Owning my own business is my pride and joy some days. I can’t imagine doing anything else and I am completely engaged in my work and in serving my amazing clients. Other days I wish I could give it back. Show me one parent who hasn’t felt like that!

Rejects ideas that I thought were perfectly appropriate
Like taking more than one day off in a row. Much more difficult than I thought it would be. Does a parent ever really get a day off?

The thing is, you’ll make yourself insane raising a two-year-old but it’s all worth it for the two blinks and the toothy smile you get, or the sweet cuddles before bed. You may do the same for your business and it’s definitely worth it when you exceed a client’s (or your own) expectations.

Does your business ever feel like a misbehaving toddler? I would love to hear your stories. Please share in the comments below!

13 Responses to “How my business is like a two-year-old”

  1. Nice way of putting it all together! So many parallels! Wow. I know just what you mean here. It’s tough. Real tough. Tim Ferriss talks a lot about this stuff. On one hand, the freedom and weightlessness of your mind is worth it to let some things slip, but on the other, can’t let those things slip! Somehow, I know this is going to come up soon for me, I’ll let you know what I end up doing!!

    • Thanks, Ryan. It really was a learning curve for me. My business never felt so real – like a living entity. I know it is important to take time away and yet somehow some things are always going on in the back of your mind…

  2. Catherine this is so true. I love this blog post. Here’s another one that applies — “Disrupts the most well-laid plans.” Whether your trying to serve a multitude of clients or just getting some marketing time for your own business, a client “emergency” can really goof up your plans. Just like a 2-year old who wakes up with a fever or requires an emergency room trip after falling down the steps!

    • Brilliant, Michelle, and oh so true! Invariably, something comes up when I am trying to have a “writing day” and really focus on creating content. So funny how that happens. Thanks for the great comment.

  3. Wendy said

    Well Catherine – I hope you enjoyed SOME of your holiday lol! When I take time off from my business, I’m usually left feeling guilty. Like I should be doing/giving more. Ugh!

    • Oh I definitely know that feeling, Wendy! I enjoyed most of my holiday. I gave myself permission to let things slide. Everything would still be waiting for me when I got back. But the doing/giving more thing is always in the background, isn’t it?

  4. One of the things I’ve learned over the years Catherine is the importance of establishing boundaries around my business, very much like one would do for a two-year old. When my boundaries are clear I run a more disciplined organization. And while it’s not always easy, boy, it sure is worth it!!

    • I completely agree with you about establishing boundaries, Sondra. It is a good practice and pays off. I can do it for a day or a half day, and am working on being able to do it for longer periods.

  5. Yes! The complete tragic and indelible truth of this! What a wonderful post. Gotta go, my inner two year old wants to go to the park.

  6. Susan Kim said

    Great analogy. To carry it further– all good parents know they need a baby sitter every so often. Perhaps you could get a virtual assistant to monitor your emails/FB and alert you only when it’s really important?

  7. Susan, I think a “babysitter” could be the ticket. In general, I don’t recommend that people delegate social media interaction but for a short time that could definitely work. Thanks for the suggestion!

  8. I love this analogy, Catherine! I hadn’t thought of it before but it’s right on the money! LOL!

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