Dear Charrise

Question: I started my own commercial cleaning business one year ago and had a lot of success right away in getting clients. In order to keep up with demand, I’m now having to work 12 hour days. If I’m not doing the actual work, I’m constantly thinking about what I should be doing. This isn’t what I had in mind when starting my own business! Sure, the money is good. But I am a slave to my business when what I really want now is to grab a life. How can I find a better balance?

Answer: Congratulations on your business success. Many people would likely love to be in your shoes. Clearly there is great demand for your services. The obvious answer is to hire help, though as you know, that cuts into your profits. What are you willing to give up to create the sort of balance you’re looking for? Do you have a client that is a pain in the you know what? Perhaps you could fire that client and bump up your rates with your top clients to make up the revenue difference?

As a business owner, you get to make up all the rules. Sometimes having complete control is overwhelming, ironically. You don’t have a boss making those important decisions for you so you don’t make them at all. Being your own boss can be both rewarding and liberating, unless you’ve inadvertently built a cage for yourself.

My advice is to get really clear about what you want your life to look like, and build your business around that. You’ll know what to do if you’re honest with yourself.

Question: I’m a sales manager for a team of salespeople in a very competitive market. I was promoted from my former position as a salesperson, and I’m finding the transition to be very difficult. Not only do we have huge sales goals and a great deal of pressure to meet them, I’m finding that the team is not responding to me as their leader. Half the time I still feel like I’m one of them, and truthfully I’m probably not acting like much of a leader. I was a top performer in my sales role, and now I feel like a failure. I want my old job back, but don’t want to lose face. What do I do?

Answer: The first step is to decide is if you really want to go back to your sales position, or if you’re simply too scared to move forward. Your doubts about your ability to do the job are crushing your confidence. Your team won’t see you as their leader until you act like one. You won’t exhibit leadership skills if you don’t see yourself as a leader. Once you get that worked out, your actions need to be swift and decisive. What skills did your boss see in you in order to get you promoted in the first place? What attracted you to accept the promotion? What do you need to create in your new position in order to be happy?

Go deep. Do the inner work to discover what you truly want, and then get busy creating it. Whether it’s to go back to being a top performer salesperson, or kick butt as the sales manager leading your top performing team, take decisive action to get off the fence. Everyone will be relieved, including you.

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