If you are a one-(wo)man band, then you are the majority. Non-employing businesses make up 61.2 per cent of total businesses in Australia, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics. We are the majority. You and me and our lovely little businesses are part of a growing movement.
The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) estimates that there were around 3 million micro entities in Australia at the start of the 2012–13 financial year.
We may only employ a handful of full-time or part-time, contracting or bartering souls, who together, make up the majority of Australian businesses.
Falling into business
We fall into business; we don’t typically plan to go into business. We follow what we love to do and we hope to make a living for it. We learn on the job and, like all things, become better with practice.
The ‘doing’ of business is what takes up most of our time – not teaching, consulting, coaching or healing. We spend most of our time marketing, selling and doing admin. For our business to be sustainable, we need to be really good at these things.
If we don’t like sales and marketing, we need to earn enough to hire others to look after this for us. But we can never entirely divorce ourselves from this. Unless we want to go back to working for other people, we must be responsible for what happens in our business.
Sustainable business is simply business which supports itself. Your business shouldn’t collapse when you take a break. It shouldn’t require your constant attention and unceasing effort. You need a break. We all do.
Sustainable business is healthy business, which communicates directly with its clients and potentials, that supports and inspires staff, and gives back to its wider community, if only through the betterment of those locals who frequent the business.
But we’re not born knowing how to do all this. We make it up as we go along. We all make it up as we go along, even those with MBAs, who often need to disregard some of what they’ve learnt.
And somewhere amid the humdrum, we lose focus. We get too busy. We get tired. We fall out of love with our business. This is normal.
I’ve had many times when I could have packed it all in, and started something new, and other moments when I can’t believe what I get paid to enjoy.
When we lose focus, things become harder. Our attitude sours. We start feeling resentful. We’ve lost that loving feeling and we need it back.
Our business depends on having a good attitude and the energy which comes from this. We need to be our own cheer squad, support staff, business director and customer service department. Nobody is coming to save us. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for.
Keeping a good attitude is our responsibility. There are so many external circumstances that we cannot control. But we can control our attitude, our perspective, and our peace-of-mind. And it is our business, and our peace-of-mind.