Right around Thanksgiving, I tend to count my blessings, both in my personal life and my professional one. If you’re an entrepreneur, you can probably relate to many of these things that I’m grateful for as a small business owner.
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1. Being in Control of Your Life
Sure, sometimes running a business is stressful. But I don’t have a boss making unreasonable demands on me. So how I manage my stress and that work/life balance is completely up to me. I can work myself into a heart attack, but I’d rather spend time with my kids and rely on my staff to help me grow my company.
2. Your Employees That Help You Do More
Speaking of staff, if you’re like me, you’re honored to be surrounded by people who care as much about your business as you do. I attribute this to hiring the right people, which, once you do, allows you to grow your business so much faster.
3. Being Flexible
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You’ll never again have the bureaucratic red tape you had when you worked in Corporate America. If you want to shift your company’s focus, you can, and quickly. While I have advisors (and my husband and business partner) to consult about major business decisions, I love the fact that we can nimbly change directions or try something new.
Let’s face it: none of us want to work 365 days a year, even if we love what we do. That’s why vacations and time off are so instrumental in making us more balanced and happier entrepreneurs. And it’s wonderful not having to worry about whether we’ve accrued enough time off. I make a point of traveling with my family several times a year, and I know that my business will survive without me for a few days
5. Technology That Makes You More Productive
Where would we be without our smartphones? Twitter? CRM? Not having as much fun running a business, you can bet. I love discovering some piece of technology that makes it easier for me to work without working hard. I can schedule social media updates, check my email, manage client contact information, and write blog posts easier today than even five years ago, which frees me up to do lots of other important things.
6. Your Social Network
I don’t know about you, but my company, CorpNet, relies on its strong social following. They’re the people who share our content, give us feedback on our products, and generally help move us forward. Without them, we’d be shooting blindly. And I don’t take them for granted. I personally do my best to interact with our supporters as often as possible.
7. Being Able to Work from Anywhere
Raise your hand if you’ve ever worked on your laptop from bed, your backyard, or even Bali. Don’t you love being able to get work done without being tethered to your office every day? Sometimes you need a change of scenery, and if you can get your work done at a local coffee shop, I say go for it.
8. The Excitement of a New Idea
If you’ve ever worked for someone else (and I bet you have) you remember the feeling of having a fantastic new idea, only for it to be squashed flat by your unimaginative boss. As an entrepreneur, though, you can take that idea and make it a reality. Thrilling.
9. Small Business Success
Your financial possibilities are only limited by your own imagination and desire. As a business owner, you can be more successful than you ever would have been as an employee. And you can make a difference beyond yourself: creating jobs is something I’m grateful for. There is so much satisfaction in knowing that your business — no matter how small — helps create new jobs that weren’t there before.
And your success also extends to your family. I know this one hits home for me. I’m able to provide a better life for my family, not just fiscally, but also in the time I’m able to spend with them.
10. Creating Value
When you run a business, you make a difference. You can create products to solve problems for your clients. You can matter to them, and you can change lives for the better.
I encourage you to count your blessings now and every day. Being an entrepreneur — especially a successful one — is a gift not to be taken for granted.
Nellie Akalp is a serial entrepreneur and small business expert. She currently serves as the CEO of CorpNet.com, an online legal document filing service, where she helps entrepreneurs start a business, incorporate, form an LLC, and offers free business compliance tools.
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