Owner Manager Holiday Stresses

Lowson Ward report that one in seven owner-managers of businesses work an extra 16 hours in the run up to a holiday break from work.

As a "one man band" who is about to take a couple of days away from the office, I can entirely empathise!

My time management and business systemisation techniques have improved ten-fold over the past couple of years, so I feel I’m running fairly efficiently (although there is always room for improvement!) – but I have worked extra hours this week to get things done before taking time off, including a late stint on Wednesday night. It may just be a perception, but I could swear that I always get an influx of new clients with new client requirement and demands around the time I’m about to take a break (not that I’m complaining about new clients!).

So it’s at these times that I realise that "one isn’t enough" and I may need to take staff on. Looking at the troubles fellow Microsoft SBSer Andy is going through though in his quest for an employee though, perhaps my existing strategy of "buddying up" with fellow IT Consultants to provide resources when necessary is a better way forwards?

One thing is for sure though – anytime I feel down about being self-employed I remind myself of all the good points it can bring such as independence, no office politics, no-commuting, fresh daily challenges and most of all – doing something I love for a living! Beats being an employee of someone else every time for me! 🙂


6 Responses to “Owner Manager Holiday Stresses”

  1. 1 Matt July 19, 2007 at 10:14 pm

    $120k-a-year and I\’ll think about returning to your fine shores?

  2. 2 Chris July 20, 2007 at 1:58 am

    Reading your blog, it makes me realise how lucky (and cursed) I am to work for a huge multinational.  Obviously the financial and personal rewards would be no where near your level, but I actually sometimes enjoy been a very very very small cog in a big machine and letting others worry about the business (hopefully its what they do best) while I don\’t worry and just do my job down the digital pit (as I\’m pretty sure, in our new world – been a technical monkey at the bottom of the pile who actually does the work, its the equivilant of a factory job 30 years ago, abit a skilled factory job, tool maker or something like that).  What I get out of the arrangment is (1) a good reliable salary, (2) overtime, (3) sick leave, (4) 7 weeks paid holiday a year, with the option to trade overtime for TOIL (5) lack of responsibility, not for my own actions – but for operating the business, making a profit, selling services etc etc.  All in all, I just do my 9 to 5 (unless I\’m oncall) and take the money.
    But there is always a flip side, risk Vs reward stuff. (1) I will never in my current role have the opertunity to earn the big $$$$\’s  (2) Over time my skills have been eroded – due to been pigeon holed in a specific neach technical area of expertise (3) The career I once loved with an amazing passion and was so hungry for, it now just fucking bores me and is just another job – this actually makes me quite sad, but guess that can happen when you\’ve done the same job, but for different employers along the way, for 13 years.  (4) I\’m completely trapped in my career and to my employer, due to the comfortable salary without the need to take person risks and a huge mortgage.  I\’m almost to lazy to move employer as I would lose the amazing flexibility I currently have (Ie I start each day at 9.30, after I\’ve taken my child to school.  I can go running at work – use the show facilities when finished, and no one bats an eyelid if I\’ve had 15 mins extra lunch break etc etc.  The salary also traps me as to have a complete career change and start something new, like joining the police, would result in losing 1/2 my salary – and that would mean loosing or selling the house.
    After writing and reading that I still don\’t know what the point I\’m trying to make is, but it feels goooooood to share it with at least two other people who read this 🙂
    Chris "I can do that, gizza a job, go on – gizza a job"  (Yoser Hughs)

  3. 3 Chris July 20, 2007 at 2:06 am

    Oh yeah – I know what point I was going to make in the beginning.  That is "nar nar na nar nar", I can take holiday whenever I want (staffing levels in the office permitting) and not worry about the business carrying on.  Other than an few hours handing stuff over, I can switch off from it all and enjoy the time away from work.

  4. 4 Richard July 20, 2007 at 6:41 am

    Chris – I do miss the being able to completely "turn off" – but I suspect part of that is being a geek, I feel naked without an Internet connection (and I know I\’m not alone!) and so the work connection comes with that. Other downsides to Self-Employment are it can be solitary – I do miss office banter, and it can be unpredictable in terms of work and pay. At the same time, those negatives can also be viewed as positives. I get so much more done without any distractions, and the fact the buck stops with me has helped me grow as a person and be responsible. As for both you and Matt – if you\’re prepared to take a huge paycut (will £16k or so per year do you?) then you\’re two guys I\’d have onboard in an instant! Why oh why oh why is it all the best people insist on huge salary packages – where has the love gone, people?! <grin>

  5. 5 Chris July 20, 2007 at 11:16 am

    £16k a year, for 15 hrs weeks – ok, done (I can only work weekends mind – so some kind of uplift on the salary would be required).  Its quite mad watching (from the blog side lines at least) your business grow.  Its quite one thing running your own business when your the solo employee, but the prospect of having to take staff on would really feel like a massive step (which more pressure as someone else\’s income is in your hands).  But I guess it would be personally a completely different experience between taking on a bod for 16k who is employee (I\’m thinking sorta job role like a helpdesk monkey), Vs taking on someone akin to a partner who would be able to work at your level (and not be such a dependant on you) – would the latter option be easier (IE your both able to pull your own weight and survive if the other isn\’t around).
    Anyway – been a boss with staff to higher, fire, performance review, disaplin, etc etc.  Heavy heavy mann.

  6. 6 Andy July 25, 2007 at 10:06 am

     Hi Rich
    Didn\’t realise you\’d tracked back to my post…not sure why wordpress didn\’t show it!
    As Chris mentioned having a partner to work with is how i work. Holidays are still a strange point as we have enough work to keep two people busy (which is why we\’re looking for someone else) so if one of us has time off then we instantly double the work load of the other which isn\’t fair on the other person or the clients
    The way it currently works is that we clear as much of any outstanding work we have (which means working extra hours as you pointed out) so that while the other person is away they only have to worry about new support calls
    Taking that on extra person is a massive step (as you already know!) with all the extra responsibility that entails
    Your right though, doing it for yourself is still massively rewarding, even if you have to work extra hard for it 🙂

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