Updated: Aug 1
I’ve been reading a book which I believe will make a ground-breaking change to myself and my business.
Mike Michalowicz’s Profit First is based on the premise that when we fill a big plate up with food, we will eat it all; but if we use a smaller plate, we will make do with less and we won’t even notice the difference. In the same way, entrepreneurs often sacrifice themselves by only taking a tiny salary or none at all (guilty 🙋), thereby leaving a big plate of food (money) for the business, believing that it is for the benefit of our business when actually we are stifling its growth, and only leaving ourselves with the meagre leftovers.
Instead, he proposes that we set aside a small amount of the business’s income for profit, tax, and for our salary, thus leaving a smaller plate of food for the business to work from for its running costs. He argues that when we are left with a smaller amount of money to work with, we will find ways of cutting costs and improving efficiency, simply because we have to. We become more creative and resourceful, rather than splashing out on things that we don’t need because we look at our bank balance and think things are going well (which often isn’t the case if we were to pore over the accounts). This makes perfect sense to me and I’m really excited to implement this change in B&B. If you are an entrepreneur and want to read the details on how to implement Profit First, I highly recommend reading the book.
But, whilst reading, I realised that this also has many parallels with Mum life. In my various networking and Mum groups on Facebook, I often see posts along the lines of ‘What are you doing to refill your cup?” and “recharge your batteries”? I was foolishly feeling smug because I thought, I don’t sacrifice myself for my children. I can be quite selfish (because I feel we need to be sometimes), I do things for myself, and I don’t spend the evenings doing housework, I do what I want to do. But those couple of hours watching TV in the evenings because I don’t have the energy to do anything else aren’t recharging my batteries. Everyone else wants a piece of me and I’m giving myself the leftovers, the scraps. Most days my hair is full of dry shampoo and shoved up in a Mum bun even though I know this look doesn’t do me any favours. If I have some free time during the day, I often choose to either work, or do housework. And nothing is left for me.
But what if we truly put ourselves first, setting aside the energy we need for ourselves, before we dish out what is left to everyone else? For a long time I hadn’t really felt like going out with friends in the evenings because I just haven’t had the energy, especially knowing that I’m probably going to get a bad night’s sleep because of my children. But not long before lockdown I happened to have several social events (without my children) on one weekend and I felt so much better for it. THAT was recharging my batteries. And when I spoke of it, someone asked me the question, not “How often do you get time to do things for you?” but “How much can you get away with doing for you?” and that hit the nail on the head – it’s not about guiltily squeezing in something here and there when you happen to get invited to a child-free event, it’s about consciously scheduling things into your diary, for YOU. It’s about having a warm shower and washing your hair, BEFORE you do the washing up or reply to those work emails. No more scraps for me.