Half days…

I remember, quite a while ago whilst I was still working at Virgin, going to a meeting with boffins from some university business school or other.

The idea was that there was potential for a Virgin Business School.  There might well have been; unfortunately I left before the project got too far.

Anyway, we were in this meeting: us from Virgin, a couple of guys who were running their own business and had valuable experience to bring and the boffins.  I can remember to this day one of the boffins saying: ‘Just because you run your own business it doesn’t necessarily follow that you have to work long hours.’

Well, I suppose not, but I also remember the reaction of one of the self-employed guys: his shoulders hunched as though he was strangling someone.

I didn’t think too much about it at the time, except that there was obviously a difference of opinion here.

But now, running my own business, but more particularly watching my dear trouble and strife running her business (which happens to be a franchise) I can’t helping think what a dumb thing it was for the boffin to say; at the very least it clearly demonstrated he hadn’t run his own business.

Here’s a breakdown of a not untypical day in the life of my wife:

Up at 5.45 (that’s a.m.) to get to a 6.45 breakfast meeting.  Into the office for 9.30 to spend some time with the team to make sure they’re okay.  First meeting: 10.00am.  Second meeting: 11.00am, third meeting… well, you get the point; there were five of meetings.

Constant interruption from the team (and me, if I’m honest), grabbed lunch at 12.30 – and that was only because I put it down in front of her and stood over her whilst she ate it.  Same again through the afternoon, until the team left at about sixish.

Started her own ‘work’ at six without interruptions for an hour or so, before attending her final networking event which started at 7.30 and finished at 10.00pm, from where I picked up and we went home for tea.

The pay off, of course, is that business growth (and therefore asset growth, i.e. what we’ll have to sell when we come to the crunch) is fabulous and effort at this intensity will be a relatively short lived thing (I hope.)

However, this story should serve to illustrate two things:

  1. Buying into a franchise is not a short cut to success: the franchisor can show the franchisee what to do, but it’s absolutely up to the franchisee to implement.  And if a franchisee wants the results, they have to put in the hours.
  1. When you join a franchise (or go self-employed) you can absolutely work half days.  And it doesn’t really matter which twelve hours you work.

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