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Entrepreneurship is Like Groundhog Day


When I first went on my own and opened my own consulting practice, there was a perceived glamour of working for myself.  Sure, I knew it was going to be hard work but I also thought of the freedom, the accountability and the level of satisfaction I knew wasn’t available working in a corporate office.  Every day was going to be an adventure as a small business owner.  Every day I was going to feel good about being an entrepreneur.

Nope.

A messy desk is more common to entrepreneurs than not.

The truth didn’t just sneak up on me; it slapped me across the face with a ream of paperwork and receipts.  I quickly discovered I lacked the level of organization required to run a business.  It was a difficult task to learn and I am still very far from mastering it…if ever.  Even the smallest item on my To-Do list took much longer to complete than anticipated and I was quickly running out of time every day.  Soon after having learned a new definition for Organization I quickly learned a new meaning for the word Priority.  I came to term with the simple realization I wasn’t going to be able to finish everything on my own.  The illusion of kicking back with my hands behind my head on my feet on the desk at the end of the day by 4:30 now felt like a dream someone else had told me about in passing.

Slowly, rising out of the depths of the murkiness of sleep deprivation and Panera coffee, I began to notice a pattern.  Items I had crossed off the To-Do list the day before were mysteriously reappearing the following day.  It seemed no matter how hard I tried, I was constantly dogged by the same list of items day after day.  I accepted the fact I would never be rid of these tasks as I had accepted regularly filling up the car or ironing my shirts; I didn’t look forward to it but I knew it had to get done.

However, a few months later, these reoccurring activities seemed to take less time to finish.  What used to take me most of the day I was now able to finish by lunch time.  I was no longer obsessing over the completion of these tasks…it just happened.  I found myself finally addressing the items I thought I was never going to get to and, for the first time, began to cross THEM off the To-Do list.  I began to breathe a little easier.

bill murray

Running a business is like Groundhog Day.

It dawned on me it was just like Bill Murray in the movie Groundhog Day.  He experienced the same series of events day after day but was finally able to anticipate them as the movie progressed.  As a result, he dealt with them better and they affected him less and less.  That’s exactly what I was going through with my business.  I was repeating the same tasks every day but I was getting better at them.  As I improved so did my other aspects of my business.  As I improved other aspects of my business, my business improved as a whole.

Running a small business is an ever-evolving process.  What may have seemed daunting at first will become a regular part of your schedule later.  As your efficiency grows you will be able to take a step back and truly see the personality your venture has grown.  I’ve got some advice for you, though.  Remember the dream about setting your own schedule, kicking back and enjoying a daily dose of affirmation?  Put it at the bottom of your To-Do list.