Owning your own business has been described with many metaphors before, but the recurring theme I have run into is a comparison with having a baby. This notion, on some levels, is absurd. Comparing a living breathing child that has your nose to anything seems unfair, of course the baby is of supreme importance. If you disagree, then seek help immediately, your DNA is unraveling! This genetic predisposition to care for our children is hard wired into our very brains.
As a new father, I have experience more emotional upheaval in my life than ever before, but wearing your heart on your sleeve can do that. Without a doubt, just looking at my baby daughter for a moment can heal any anxious feelings I held before. Could my business do this? It would be silly to think it could provide more joy than stress, especially when counting nickels at 3 AM while angry drunks try to batter down your door.
All good metaphors require a suspension of certain details, so let us proceed with the assumption that a business and baby are equivalent. What do they share in common?
Both are responsibilities, foremost. Your responsibility dictates your success, so to speak. If you can’t take care of your business late at night, early in the morning, or in between 17 hour shifts, then you may be a better fit for a more leisurely job. The owners that I have met always seem to talk about getting to work early in the morning, working late into the night, or bringing mountains of work home with them. This is typical. No big surprises.
My own belief is that the slow grind will slowly grind you down. Most people can work a hundred hours in a week, but very few can do that on a regular basis. Anything over 60 hours every week for many years seems to slowly eat away at most people, however, some shrug it off as no big deal.
I will always remember reading about a much beloved Kansas City restaurateur, who worked long into the night, would go to friends’ houses for beers, then return home for a few hours before starting again. His pie chart was something like this:
The story I read was about his untimely death, due to a heart attack. This made me think, what if I toned it down a bit, what is my perfect pie?
However, I soon learned what every other business owner has always known. There are never enough hours in the day:
What other ways is a business like a baby?
Let me count the ways, and is anybody else hungry for pie:
The ultimate similarity of a business and a baby is this: they are both bigger than yourself. They require more than just one person to achieve great things. Let us appreciate those special people that let us achieve our dreams.