…Anyone working more than 50 hours per week on average as the owner of a business is doing something wrong or in the wrong business…
…When someone works over 50 hours the odds are they feel completely trapped. Every deadline must be met, there are no options. At that point it is not worth the stress. The stress will kill…
Well, Leap1, the first thing I would say is to reference the famous quote about avoiding all generalizations, including this one. Another variation on the quote says all generalizations are dangerous (Dumas).
Here is what I know from my own experience:
After a surprise divorce in a no-fault state, half my/our assets left with her and the country rock drummer she “ran away” with. After much reflection, I decided to take a chance and dropped out of my corporate career…and moved to an area I had lived in once before…and start a restaurant in a location where two prior ones had failed, using about 95+% of my remaining assets.
The risks were well-defined:
If the restaurant failed, I would be over 50 and essentially broke…with no clear career path (corporate types don’t like “rebels” who leave the corporate world).
The person I hired to run the restaurant day-to-day received a more than competitive salary, plus 10% of the operating profit above breakeven. If the restaurant failed, he could leave and get another job.
For the first two years, I took no salary and lived out of what was left of my savings, working some 100 hours/week. Everyone else never missed a paycheck.
Due to the combined efforts of all of us (me, the manager, the employees), the restaurant became a huge success…and after seven years, I sold it to my manager, and I retired at age 57. (Yes, I carried the note that allowed him to buy it). He ran it for another 16 years and then he sold right before COVID hit and retired.
So, when you think about business owners and how hard many work, please keep in mind that most small businesses are not started by “silver spooners”; rather folks who take a risk…sometimes a huge one…with limited assets.
If the business fails, there is no “bailout” a la General Motors…there is only the mirror (and an empty bank account) looking back at you.
And guess what?! I look back on those 7+ years as some of the best in my life:
Best in terms of the experience and best in terms of the returns, despite "averaging more than 50 hours/week. “Labours of love”, wherein one creates something from nothing, are like that.
BL Home Fool