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Don’t be a Martyr

If you’re an owner, you’ve probably been tempted to be a martyr with your money and your time.

Maybe it means only taking a paycheck if there’s something left over at the end of the month. Or sacrificing your personal life day in and day out to keep the business going.

Building a business is hard. It’s especially hard during a time like this in the age of COVID-19, when there’s almost more reasons to not work than there are to grind it out. Being a producer can be grueling.

But there is hope. If you can figure out how to scale your money and your time, you can find peace as an owner.

Here’s a good first step: Don’t be a martyr.

Let’s talk about paychecks. When I started Fullbay, I went without a paycheck for a very, very long time. It’s usually what you have to do when you’re just starting out, but I was my family’s sole provider with six kids at home.

But guess what? I still “paid” myself. I didn’t have the cash to pay myself, but I still put it on the books as an expense. Why? When I was an accountant, I realized that when you increase your expenses, it forces you to figure out a way to increase your revenue.

So by putting that expense of my paycheck on the books, it forced me to figure out a way to cover it. And eventually I did.

As an owner, you need to figure out what you need to live on and what is fair. Then you need to back into the revenue you need to bring in to cover that. Don’t be the martyr with your money, and with supporting your family. Use this phenomenon to your advantage.

So now what about your time? When I first started conceptualizing Fullbay, I would get up super-early in the morning every day to work on the project. This was in addition to my normal job. Eventually I quit my job to work on it full-time, which was a major risk, a major leap of faith, and a massive, massive drain on my free time.

If you’re building a business, you’re likely facing a similar situation.

Take heart: It doesn’t have to stay that way. Figure out the time you need for yourself and your family. Then back into what processes and people you need to put in place at your business to make that a reality.

You don’t have to be a martyr with your time – learn to delegate. You don’t have to do everything in the shop. Make a plan so that as you hire people, you delegate enough so you have time for yourself, your family, and your friends. Yes, hold your employees accountable. Make sure they perform. But you’ve also got to hold YOURSELF accountable: You don’t have to sacrifice yourself completely to your company.

You don’t have to be a martyr.

Jacob Findlay

Jacob Findlay is the CEO and co-founder of Fullbay. Five years ago, he made the leap from healthcare to truck repair. He wanted to take the best ideas from the electronic medical records world and apply them to heavy-duty repair. In other words, build a medical record for trucks. Today Fullbay is the number one fleet repair platform in North America. Jacob is a CPA, has a Master's degree in Finance, a cellist, a so-so surfer, and the father of eight children.