Finding happiness in anything that you do can be an elusive goal. It can be a concept that you feel is out there but is hard to find. In the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum, we talked about the pursuit of happiness and if running your own lawn care business was making people happier or more stressed. Here is some of what we heard.
One lawn care business owner wrote “what exactly is the pursuit of happiness ? Are you really happy in your pursuit? What about all of your friends and family? Are they happy with your pursuit? After all your efforts to give your family everything they need, do you ever feel your not giving them what they needed most?
It almost seems we buy all this stuff to hide how miserable we really are, or to offset it some kind of way. I don’t want to live like that. It always looks nice looking in from the outside because you never think what did they have to go through to get where they are.
But you have to ask yourself, when is enough enough? I mean when do you decide to stop growing your business, so that you can spend more time at home. I am sure everyone has dreams of being the biggest lawn care operation in the world, but when do you say ok , I’m tired, my family is tired, and its time to enjoy life , not nesesarly talking about retirement but redefining what is most important in your life.”
A second lawn care business owner said “I’ve always found the most annoying part of the job to the huge amount of time spent after ‘work,’ working on other administrative / equipment maintenance tasks. I also hate the constant phone calls. Sunday afternoons seem to be the time that everyone wants to call about a quote, so I just ignore the phone and let voicemail handle it till Monday.
Over the summer, I like to get some enjoyment out of my life, so come August, I pull the ads and tell people who phone that we’re full up. I’ve crammed my schedule into 4, 9/10 hour days and given myself three day weekends, setting aside some time for billing and other work. To have balance in your life, you need to a lot some time to spend outside of the mowing/working so that work doesn’t cut into your real free time with family/friends and end up destroying your relationships with others.
Sometimes you have to decide who’s more important. The customer or your family. One of the things I have learned is to not be afraid to say no to your customer when they come up with outrageous scheduling requests. It’s not your fault that they’re in such a hurry to get something done.
To me the most important thing to keep in mind is balance. Having time for the family, company, my dog and me. It is impossible to make everyone happy all the time however if I can make people happy some or most of the time including time with my dog and time for me then I have found the balance. It’s not easy and there will be time when one will win out over the other.
If I reflect over the past year and I can not think of any happy moments in all of these areas, I know I have to make some changes. If for example every tree chipping job we did this past year brought on nothing but headaches, then I need to ask myself what are we doing wrong? If I think of my kids and say there hasn’t been one happy moment in the past year, then I have to make a change.”
A third business owner said “I don’t know how to say this but one thing that detracts from my experience of being a business owner is that I find everybody keeps asking me what am I going to do with my life as if they don’t think my lawn care business is gonna be good enough. I guess they don’t see the big picture. But I do and I know I have to focus on my goals and my dreams. This is my life and I need to make myself happy first before I can help anyone else.”