Why did you start your business? For most of us it was to gain more freedom. We were tired of following asinine rules. We were tired of working to put more money in the pockets of others as they collected on the value we provided.

We wanted to spend more time with our kids and spouses and partners. We wanted to be the parent, spouse, partner that we dreamed of.

Somewhere along the way many of us lost track of those reasons. We look around ourselves and realize we’re working 10 or 12 hour days. We’re not there for the kids like we want. Our relationships are always a struggle as we try to find time for them.

Work has taken over our lives and we’re not even happy with the work we’re doing.

Work is often seen as a means for making money so we can enjoy the second life that we lead. – Mastery

If you’re running your own business, there is no one to blame but yourself. Suck it up and lets start talking about how we can change the path you’re on.

What should life look like?

The process of building the business that is compatible with the rest of your life is hard. It starts by figuring out what you want life to look like. Don’t think that you can make a change today and everything will be as you dreamed. It took you years to work yourself in to the hole and it will take a while to work back out of it.

The first step to take is to define your 4 Quadrants. With this exercise you look forward 5 years in the main 4 areas of your life and define what you want them to be like.

Next it’s time to write an essay which I call the 5 Year Life Essay. This tackles the same idea as the 4 Quadrants, but go in to great detail. Tell me what the clients you have in 5 years will look like. How many kids do they have? What type of businesses do the run?

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With the 5 Year Life Essay, dig deep and get very descriptive. It can be a pipe dream. In fact dream big with it and be specific.

If you’ve got a partner in life then you need to enlist them in the two exercises as well. It’s best to get them to do the work on their own. Once you’ve both put the work in sit down and compare where you want to be.

Often you’ll find they value things you didn’t expect. Once you know about these curve balls you can plan for them. Keep talking so that you can be on the same page with the life you’re building.

If you skip getting your spouse involved then you’re increasing your chances of heartbreak. If you build the ideal business you wanted and break your relationship in the process, then you’ve failed. Regardless of your business success, you’ve failed.

Start a plan

With these two exercises done, you’re ready to dig in to building out a plan to get this life you want.

If you want to travel lots, then you need to be looking at work that is location independent. If your current contracts are on site, don’t drop them. Make sure that any new work coming in is fully remote and let the other ones phase out as you no longer need the income.

The process of building the life and business you’ve dreamed of is not going to be some huge flash in the pan. One single action will not turn the tables instantly. Many small steps will add up to being in the right place when an opportunity comes along.

Get Support

Running this long game is hard. It’s not like a sprint, over in a few seconds. It’s not like a marathon, over in a few hours. It’s not even like an ultra-marathon, over in a day. You’re running a race for years.

You can’t run the race alone.

You need a crew along side you to support you when things are going poorly. For when you question why on earth you even decided to start a business.

I have a mentoring group around me to help me when things are not going as well as hoped. I also have a coach that I meet with regularly. Both of these resources help me question my assumptions. They help me break through the hard parts of work.

Without them I’d never be as successful as I am.

If you don’t have a group of people that are there to love you and your business get one. If you don’t have a coach or mentor, go ask someone.

If you don’t know who to ask, we should talk. I have some spaces available in my mentoring groups.

If you’re sitting in front of your screen ready to quit, you’re not alone. If you put a solid goal on your horizon, and build a solid plan, and have a set of people around you to support you in the hard times. You can get to that business you dreamed of once.

photo credit: brickresort cc