Working In Your Business vs Working On Your Business

So, you’ve started your own business– congratulations! Whether you made a downpayment on that new brick-and-mortar boutique or decided to finally begin selling your summertime produce at the weekly farmer’s market, branching out on your own is a bold, exciting journey. 

If you’ve decided to take the leap of entrepreneurship, you’ve undoubtedly heard the daunting facts that keep many people from pursuing their dream in the first place. This includes the statistic that nearly 20% of all small businesses are unsuccessful within the first year.

While you certainly want to be mindful of how you spend your time, energy, and money when beginning a new venture, don’t let that data deter you from your dreams. There will be plenty of late nights spent at your new company, so it's important to find a balance when allocating time,  particularly in determining when to work in your business versus working on your business. 

Working In Your Business

This is the daily hustle and bustle. After starting your new coffee shop, you’ll likely be spending much of your day making lattes and restocking inventory. (As well as chatting with your wonderful customers!) When we think of owning our own business, this is what often comes to mind when we think about work. This process will be unique to every industry and organization. 

Working On Your Business

When it comes to working on your business, it’s all about vision. Too often we can get swept up in our daily to-do list that we forget to plan ahead. But this can be the most exciting part of being a business owner! Once you’ve made the concrete steps to set up your business -- such as registering for an LLC or securing a website domain --   take some time to glimpse into the future.

Not sure where to begin? Try this brainstorming exercise that breaks down your creative vision into actionable steps. 

  1. Get in the zone - We know you’re busy, but give yourself some time to truly dream. Grab some coffee and cozy up in your favorite chair with a journal or notebook. Then answer the following questions.

    1. Where do I want my business to be in 2 years? 5 years? 10 years?

    2. What do I want my role to look like at each of those milestones?

    3. Who are my ideal customers?

  2. Reflect on your answers - What goals came from this journaling exercise, and do they feel achievable in the timeframes you’ve set up? For example, if you’ve recently started an in-home jewelry-making business, part of your 5-year plan may be to move to a physical location. Once you feel sure of your vision, it’s time to break it down into actionable steps.

  3. Make a plan - This is most effective when you work backward from your long-term goals and dreams. If part of your 10-year plan is to open a storefront for your in-home dog-grooming business, then you’ll want to begin to do some research. Your ideal customers likely live in a pet-friendly neighborhood, so take a look at commercial spaces to get a sense of the costs ahead. Keeping these numbers in mind, you’ll be able to scale your business in a way that makes sense for your goals, not just for where your business is at the moment. 

Finding a Balance

Now that you have a sense of where you want to go and the steps needed to make that dream a reality, it’s time to create a structure to support this vision. You’ll want to honor where your business is in the present moment, while still working toward your new goals. The key is a consistent, yet flexible plan. There will always be unexpected obstacles to handle in your daily operations, but you don’t want to let those deter you from company growth. 

Schedule Time

One of the most important factors when balancing working in your business with working on your business, is to schedule time for your dreams. This means treating your company like your best client. Don’t let your personal goals fall to the wayside. Keep them central to your mission by scheduling time every week to build for the future.


If you’re able to simplify your day by hiring an employee or part-time assistance, this can make a world of difference. Building a team that can focus on the daily protocols, will allow you space to plan for the future. If you’re not able to hire anyone at the moment, there are still ways to streamline your processes– particularly when it comes to finances. Whether you’re invoicing clients for a monthly retainer or processing customer’s transactions at checkout, a reliable and affordable card reader is one way to support your business growth.

Be Seen

Connecting with your ideal audience means putting yourself out there! This can be building relationships in person or using digital tools to expand your reach. Perhaps you’re a hairstylist who wants to increase your clientele? Building a social media presence is a way of working on your business that directly supports your long-term goals. 

Everyone’s business journey is unique to their industry, location, and personal goals. While there is no one-size-fits-all business model, taking the time to understand your vision will help you create a strategic plan to reach those milestones. We can’t wait to see what you dream up!

Taylor Lhamon