This time of year I get ton of emails from people who had time to think over the holiday period. January is traditionally a slow month for our industry, so right after all the big thinking comes the big panicking. With all that thinking and panicking comes decision-making, when we start to wonder:
- Do I want to even run this business anymore?
- Do I need to hire help?
- I’m sick of making XYZ product, can I stop selling those?
- Business has been SO QUIET this month, does that mean it’s going to fail?
- What would happen if I just took more time off?
- Working for someone else seems SO appealing, maybe I should look for a ‘real’ job?
And then we ask ourselves the biggest question of all: is it really worth it?
Small business isn’t the easiest career road to take. Even more so when it’s in the hospitality sector, where long nights, temperamental ingredients, weekend work and demanding customers are the norm. Plus, no matter how much I teach you about pricing, marketing, and creating a successful business… it’s challenging to wrap our minds around it all and need to become masters of most of them. It’s no wonder that when we get the time and head space to stop, think, breathe and reflect we question the value of what we’re doing.
I wish I could give you a neat and tidy answer to this question of worth. Personally, I’ve sacrificed a lot for this business but the gains have been immeasurable, and I’m not just talking about the money here (though of course, that’s part of it – this is after all, a business.) The best advice I can give you is simple – when it’s no longer worth it, you’ll know. You will come to a realisation (on a soul level) that the pain of staying in the business is greater than the idea of letting it go. This isn’t something you wake up one morning and feel like a thunderbolt to the brain, it’s more a slow dawning of a new sun. It’s not like a case of losing your mojo either. When that happens we know it’s temporary (or at least, we recognise it as “a loss of mojo”, which in theory we think it can come back to us.) No, the “is it worth it?” question is one which is only answered in the quiet moments when your mind whispers back at you.
The practical woman in me wants to tell you to go and write down all the reasons why you’re in this. Of course, that’s one really good way to do it if you need to see it in black and white The experienced businesswoman in me knows that no amount of lists or talking to other people will tell you exactly what your heart already knows.
So – is it worth it?
I can’t tell you the answer to that.
I can only tell you to listen to your instinct, it’ll answer that for you.