Build Your Business, Build Your Life by Allan Johnson and Sarah-Joy Pierce - Read Online
Build Your Business, Build Your Life
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Many a successful business has been built on a broken life. But it truly doesn't have to be this way - in fact, your business will be more successful if it is built by a healthy, balanced owner.

If that's not you (and you want it to be), don't go another minute without doing something about it. Find out how to actually enjoy your business and live your life. It is possible, and we promise you won't regret it!
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ISBN: 9781483505138
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Build Your Business, Build Your Life - Allan Johnson

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Chapter 1: Living With Your Business

Let’s talk about something very important: living with your business. Imagine that your business is a building. What kind would it be?

A friendly home?

A tech-heavy skyscraper, all gleaming windows and concrete?

Perhaps a holiday home?


If you’re like a lot of small-business owners, your business is like a ‘renovator’s delight’. You bought it to rent out, for the income. You thought it would be a good investment…but it’s falling down around the tenants’ ears.

The ground was poorly graded; now the foundation is shifting and there are cracks in the walls. Every time it rains water floods through the cracks and damages the internal walls.

When you’re not mopping the floor, you’re running around putting buckets under the drips from the leaky roof or trying to divert the water away from the garage door.

The air conditioner is old, and the insulation? It’s non-existent. The place is cold and draughty in winter, hot and steamy in summer, and costs you an arm and a leg in electricity bills.

On top of that, there are regular infestations of mice and spiders and ants, and you’re forever calling the exterminator to come and treat the place.

Sometimes you wonder if the rental income is really worth all the time and headaches! But all your money is tied up in this partly-completed property. How can you afford to sell? You feel trapped, resentful, and stressed out.

Is Your Business Liveable?

If your business is anything like the ‘renovator’s delight’ described above, then the answer to this is: no.

You cannot live with a home or a business like that. No one could—at least not over the long term. It would exhaust you and break your heart.

If you did have a home like that, you’d want to fix it the right way, once and for all, so that you can enjoy owning it or even sell it. Don’t simply put buckets under the leaks—put a new roof on! Seal up the holes that the mice are using as a highway. Perhaps even regrade the property so that water flows away from the foundation, as it should do.

Yes, to do these things will take some additional investment. But then the home would be much more liveable, and the work involved in maintaining it would be much more predictable and manageable.

Building a business you can live with is similar.

You’ll need to invest a few hours of your time to set the changes in motion. But once you’ve done that, your business will support your life, not the other way around.

You Are Not Your Business

This is such an important thing to understand: you are not your business. Your business is a part of you, certainly, even an important part. But it’s not all of you. It never has been.

In order to regain balance in your life, you’ll need to let go of the idea that your business defines who you are. You’re bigger than that!

Being True To Your Life Purpose

Every person has a purpose. It’s the work of our lives to find out what that purpose is, and then fulfil it to the best of our abilities.

It may be that your business is part of your life purpose. Even so, it is only a part. More likely, your business will be the means through which you achieve your purpose.

In order to make your business serve your life purpose (and not the other way around), you need to make sure you are clear on what your life purpose is. You need to understand fully what your core values are, and how well your business fits in with them.

Vision, Mission, and Values

You may have heard about the above in relation to business planning. But as an entrepreneur, you first need to establish your vision, mission and values for your life as a whole. Once you have those clear and you realize where your business fits into your life purpose, you can develop a vision, mission, and values statement for your business as well.

Let us live so that when we come to die, even the undertaker will be sorry.

– Mark Twain, Writer

First, define your vision of success. Remember, a successful life—as opposed to a successful business—can’t really be all about making money. The American writer Mark Twain defined success fairly well in the quote above.

What Do You Want On Your Headstone?

To help you identify your vision of a successful life, it helps to think about what will happen after your life is over. It’s what the late Stephen Covey called ‘beginning with the end in mind’..

Ask yourself this question:

What do you want your heirs to write on your headstone after you die?

‘He was a workaholic.’

‘Oh, how I’ll miss his pay cheque!’

‘She grew the quarterly revenues like nobody’s business.’

Think about it. Is this really the legacy you want to leave for the world? If a bus hit you tomorrow, are these the kinds of things that would go on your headstone?

If there’s a disconnect between the legacy you want to leave for the world and the one you’ve left to date, now is the time to refocus your life to design a legacy you’ll be proud of. Once you figure out what you want on your headstone after you die, that is your vision of a successful life.

‘Wise father, generous philanthropist, beloved husband.’

‘He always came to my swimming meets.’

‘She loved to visit the Great Barrier Reef.’

Next, this process will help you identify your values. Your values are the benchmarks of whether you have lived a successful life (they are that important).

You need to be able to look back on your life and see that it was consistent with your core values. If you can do that, you have had a successful life.

The key here is that they are your values and benchmarks. Others may have the same values as yours but many will not. You may or may not value a life of caring for the disadvantaged in society or the need to protect a particular species from extinction and so on.

And, of course, someone who has the same values as you may live those values differently. Does the person who works in the homeless shelter have the same values as the philanthropist who finances the centre?

The success of your life does not depend on anyone else’s values. Being judgemental of the values of others will rarely add to the success of your life.

So, as you think of all the comments that could be made about your life, be aware of how each of them makes you feel. If they make you feel ‘good’, you can be sure that the comment embodies one of your values.

If these qualities are what you want people to remember you for, then you’ll need to live by them. And to do that, you’ll have to leave the office.

Your children will not know you as a ‘wise father’ if they don’t know you at all. If you always dream of visiting the Great Barrier Reef, but never actually do it with your children or your partner in life, you’ll never make that memory to share.

Yes, business success is clearly a part of it. How can you be a ‘generous philanthropist’ if you aren’t successful in your business? How can you provide for your family comfortably if you aren’t successful in your business? If your family remembers a lot of bickering over unpaid bills, that’s not the legacy you want to leave, either.

However, business success is a means to these more humane ends—not an end in itself. Or rather, it’s not the only one.

What’s Your Mission?

Once you have established your vision and your values, they will be crafted together to form your personal mission statement. Make sure to keep a balance of realism and optimism…but in a couple of short sentences, you should be able to describe a world in which your vision and values are successfully implemented.

It could be as simple as taking your top five values and creating a mission statement around them. To continue the example we have already used, it could start off with something like:

‘My business is thriving without my continual input, and I am able to manage it from remote locations while I am holidays with my family.’

The key here is to know the difference between your mission and your vision. There are many opinions out there on the definitions of both, but the quote below may explain it best:

"For a mission, think managing with greatness and untamed strength, improving everything daily. For a vision, think leading with inspiration and courage, obsessed with future possibility, in a love affair with change."

Rosa Say

It boils down to management versus leadership—both of which you will need to build your business and your life. Once you’ve covered leadership with your vision and values, you can get down to business with management: your mission and your practical goals.

Setting Personal Goals

First, think about your particular strengths and interests. Be honest with yourself. Chances are, the things you do well had a strong influence on what business you chose to start.

Make sure your goals are specific, realistic, and at the same time, that they will stretch you.

As philosopher Jim Rohn explained: the real value of a goal is not achieving the goal; it’s what you have become to achieve the goal.

If you’ve spent most of the past five years sitting in an office, you’re probably not ready to become an aerobics instructor. But you might add ‘join local gym’ to your goals. This goal will help you become healthier, pursue an outside interest, and make connections in your community.

Personal growth is a vital component for all success. If you do not grow and change, you will always be what you currently are and have what you currently have. Achieving a goal cannot occur without growth.

Here’s a simple example: suppose you currently have $1,000 in the bank. This means that your earning capacity and spending habits are at that level. Also suppose that your goal is to have $1,000,000 in the bank and that you miraculously achieve that goal overnight (you win Lotto).

However, unless you really