I don’t think my Dad ever drove by a wide open parking lot after a fresh snowfall without pulling in to do a few donuts. In the station wagon. With us kids in the back seat, loving it.
This same fun-loving guy sang inappropriate university drinking songs - with modified lyrics - when we were kids. Sometimes while making us breakfast, or getting us ready for school...“She’s got freckles on her BUT she is nice”.
The traditional song that he sang every time the birthday candles were lit, always the second verse to the traditional Happy Birthday song, went something like this...“May you live a thousand more years, may you drink a thousand more beers...get plastered you bad girl (bad boy), happy birthday to you.”
It wasn’t ‘til I was in my twenties that I realized that “bad girl” didn’t rhyme with plastered!
We had a highway cloverleaf - and off-ramp, on-ramp - that we’d take to get on the 401 highway in Brockville. With the whole family packed in the wood-sided Ford Fairlane, Dad would get on the highway, go under the overpass and quickly get back off the highway, up the ramp, over the overpass and back down the ramp to the highway again - going the other way - then back off again, up the ramp.
You get it. It was a continuous loop.
This ridiculous routine would make my mom - who was usually reading in the passenger seat - a little dizzy. She’d look up from her book by the third change in direction and give Dad a huge swat! It was pretty funny.
Then there was the time he had a full-size, head-to-toe photograph of himself mounted and placed in the front window of his small business. He had some fun with his cardboard twin brother - we all did! That was in the ‘80s. I think cardboard Dad still exists, somewhere.
Dad showed us how to be a free-spirit, he's always up for a laugh. He has always known how to have fun.
And that got me thinking about how we approach each day in our business.
How much fun are your REALLY having?
I mean, there’s a difference between working hard and not allowing yourself to have fun. I know not everything you do is super fun, but generally speaking, are you enjoying the clients you are working with and the people you work around? Do you enjoy the work you do? Are you seeing the lighter side of things?
I work all the time, but I have fun doing much of what I do. And I mix fun and non-work-related activities into my day.
Building a business can feel like you are working many full-time jobs at times and you have to give up weekends and family time. You spend Sundays getting caught up on the book keeping. Yes, at times, it can be a ton of work.
If you’re going to be working 10-12 hours some days, you need to have 2-3 hour days too. It should be fun at least some of the time! Otherwise, what’s the point?
I prioritize having fun. Why? A fun business is a good business, a business worth spending time in! It helps with my motivation, my stress, and often, productivity. I like to work with clients who have a sense of fun too. It’s a win-win. If I'm not having fun, I figure out why. Then I change things.
If we aren’t having fun, we might as well just go get a job (what I call a job-job) and simplify your life!
But as entrepreneurs, we crave independence and are generally willing to put up with the extra hours in order to chart our own course. And if you’re having fun, you may very well be doing it right.
The Small Business Guide
Kim Houlahan is a marketing consultant who loves helping small business owners improve their marketing.
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