Are you having fun yet?

And if not, just what are you doing?

I started this blog with the intention of sharing my experiences in buying, marketing, systematizing, and eventually selling a small business, and having fun while doing it. Did I laugh the entire way through this process? I did not! I have had more than my share of sleepless nights, of worry, and of “genuine” crises. Although mostly I have dealt with reasonable, helpful people, I have also been bullied and sadly, even taken to court, by companies I thought should be trying to work with me, even if things weren’t going exactly as they’d hoped. I have also had moments of triumph, of fun, of joy…

In this blog I wish to share with you the many lessons I learned and continue to learn, some major, others minor. But when all was said and done, I decided that I’d start with the one thing that I did more and more of as the years went by – I learned to keep smiling and to keep laughing, even during the “crises”. I think I got more comments on that than on any other thing I was doing – that I stayed happy through it all.

Think of this blog as “Don’t sweat the small stuff (and it’s all small stuff)” mixed with Michael Gerber and dozens of other business gurus who really do have something important to say. But it has to start with your own smile.

This is not one of those “I built a company that makes millions and oh yeah I only work 1 hour a day and so just do exactly what I did and you’re bound to make millions, too” blogs or books. I’ve read those, too. I still read them. I read a lot. Maybe I’ll even write one someday.

But right now, I’m here for you, the owner of a small business, probably a retail store or other local business, catering every day to customers who both love you and will leave you without so much as a farewell. I’m here to help you with both the difficult and the mundane, to find a way to build a business that you really do love – or to have the courage and strength to leave one that you do not.

So my challenge for today is to ask yourself if you’re having fun running or working in your business. If not, why not? Are you not making your financial goals? Are you working too many hours? Or did it just become ordinary at some point, just a job? Have you stopped running a business and started working a job you may not even like?

If it’s become mundane, or… even painful, try this. Start with gratitude. Look around you and express your gratitude for all that you have. Express it out loud to your staff and to your customers. Tell your vendors and suppliers how much you appreciate them. Do you have neighboring businesses? Drop by and say it to them, too. Tell them how much you appreciate the synergy that exists between you, or just how much you appreciate the people there, or the businesses themselves. And how about just the business itself? When did you last express your appreciation for having your business in your life?

When you start to feel that cloud, try some gratitude. Put it first, and the smiles will come. Make the decision to have fun every day with this, and you will succeed. Maybe you’ll even write one of “those” books. Start with a determination to have fun, to enjoy the journey, and the rest will be truly easy.

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