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When we started our home business, the Copper Lion, 10 years ago, our kids were 4 and 6. We put an open/closed sign on our office door and told our kids they could go into the office when it was open.

Then our son turned the sign around. “The sign says open,” he explained. We forbade him from changing the sign.

There are subtler ways business owners can lose time. Protect your time with your business and beware The Errand Trap.

When you begin a home business, some family and friends believe your flexibility gives you opportunities to run their errands.  They ask if you can do this, do that, and more.

Snap goes The Errand Trap.

You have to learn to say no and set boundaries. The only at home business people who make millions doing nothing are actors in infomercials.

Small business owners live with flexibility to decide:

  • which 6 of 24 hours we will sleep – sometimes. Sometimes it is 1 or 2 of 24.
  • which 1 day out of the month we will take off as a real day off with no work – sometimes.
  • which 1 in 10 years we will shut down and take a family vacation.

 The short one hour errand can kill half a day. How?

  • Add ½ hour for conversations before and after the errand.
  • Add ½  hour on either side for drive and delivery time.
  • Add ½  hour to either side for time you spend preparing to leave and then settling back afterwards.
  • That becomes 3 ½ hours lost.

You just lost half a day’s work for that 1 hour errand.  You will make it up by giving up family time or sleep.

Successful businesses are built because their owners are willing to “crush it,” as Gary Vaynerchuk passionately puts it. We have free time but schedule most of our lives around work.

Decide how much of your time and talents you can share with others on errands.  Set a limit on that time. Otherwise, unless it’s a dire emergency, it’s ok to say no.

Protect boundaries.  Spend your time on friends and family who respect your efforts to build your business and go after your dream.  

Good news about The Errand Trap – business owners can spot it and avoid it.

Make sure you don’t get caught.

How do you avoid the errand trap?

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