THINKING BUSINESS
a blog by Chris Barrow

Grumpy Old Man celebrates birthday with Grumpy Young Man!


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  1. he feels very lonely in charge of the business and has few friends or colleagues that he can discuss his fears with;

  2. he often feels that, in order to relax, he drinks too much;

  3. he isn’t doing enough to keep himself fit – the training and surfing have gone down the pan since he opened the business;

  4. he doesn’t take enough time off;

  5. he is concerned that business is getting in the way of his relationship at home;

  6. he doesn’t get very much help from his professional advisors;

  7. he knows he needs to do more staff training on customer service.

Sounding familiar? I resisted the temptation to say that, 30 years on, I’m going through similar issues on a daily basis. It wouldn’t do to reveal to him, at this stage, it never gets better – would it? I was, however, comforted that, although he can see further than me, run faster than me, looks in better shape than me – and has years and years of happy self-employment ahead of him – we are kind of in the same boat – so it’s not just me that’s the low self-esteem worrier. And even with a franchise-prototype – there is still a need for “community” amongst business owners – especially solorpreneurs. I’ve reflected this first week back from holiday that a large proportion of the client emails have expressed stress and frustration and not being able to get it all “quite right” – teams working together with technology, systems and clients. We really are all in the same boat you know – living our lives of quiet desperation in a world of technological overload. There are times when I wish I was 24 again and knew what I know now – I’d be retired and financially independent by age 40 – and would then dedicate my professional life to lifting others up the ladder. I feel as if I am working harder now than I ever have before. Moan, moan, moan. Sorry. Looking on the bright side – an email from a client this morning from which I extract:

I feel really energised and more positive about dentistry and the future and a huge part of that is down to you and the DBS – Thanks, you are doing a great job

and another which reads:

So the wheels are in motion and things are about to change. Why am I telling you all this- just to say thanks for your honesty. You are a no bullshit kind of guy like me which is why I like to listen to you. Your last “show” in Leeds in July was sensational. I haven’t laughed as much in a long time!

It seems that my legacy in life is not a pile of assets, material possessions, trophy lifestyle, stability – but a file full of testimonials from people whose lives I have influenced for the good and a very unstable life for myself. It would just be a bit nicer if I could find a way of combining that with making enough money to retire in 7 years from now. And by “retire” I mean work but not have to work for the money any more. There’s a vision. And a goal worth showing up for?

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