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Full-Time Employee vs. Business Owner

Full-Time Employee vs. Business Owner

I've worked for other companies, and I've owned my own business. The grass is greener on the other side of the fence, no matter which side you're on. Here's a typical day in both lives.

Full-Time Employee
6:00 am: (Alarm) Crap, 6:00 already? Tonight I'm going to bed early. I can't make it on seven hours of sleep. Stupid CSI: Miami.

6:25: Shower. Shave in the shower to save time. I'm going to be late.

6:50: Toast and OJ. No time for a real breakfast. I can make up for it at lunch.

7:00: Leave the house. I hate rush hour.

7:20: I've been creeping along for 15 minutes. Probably an accident up ahead.

7:40: Finally got past it. A little fender bender everyone had to gawk at.

8:00: Barely made it. Check emails — 50 since I left last night, 10 of them marked urgent.

8:55: Urgent emails answered. Your poor planning doesn't not make it my problem. Need to get work done.

9:00: Staff meeting. Everyone talks about their progress since our last meeting, two days ago.

10:00: Committee meeting. Have to sit through a third discussion about our mission statement. I suggest we don't need one, which is met with stony stares from everyone else.

11:55: Urgent press release request from my boss. Grab a burger and work through lunch.

1:30: My boss wants me to sit in for her at some department meting. I said I had to finish the press release, but she says it can wait. She has a lunch meeting that's going to run late.

2:00: Turns out my boss had all the information everyone needed. Sitting in for her helps no one.

3:00: How can anyone stretch a meeting to one hour when the main person doesn't even show up? Glad I don't work for that guy.

3:30: Press release is finally done. Boss griped about it taking so long, but she took two hours for lunch?

3:35: 60 more emails, 20 of them marked urgent. None of them are.

5:05: Walk to the car, and realize I never got my regular work done.

5:45: Not even halfway home. Cop pulled some speeder over, and everyone had to gawk. Crawled along for 25 minutes just to move three miles.

6:00: Home again. Glad the day is over. Time to forget about work, spend time with the family. Wish I owned my own business. That life must be so easy.

11:00: Bed time. Wanted to get to bed early, but stupid Criminal Minds was on.

Small Business Owner
8:00: (Alarm). Crap, 8:00? I need to go to bed early tonight. No meetings until lunch, so I don't have to rush.

9:00: Great thing about leaving now? No rush hour. Get to work in 25 minutes.

9:25: Check email — 90 of them, 20 of them from clients, 10 of them urgent.

10:30: Urgent emails answered. Put out several client fires. Need to get some work done — crap, I have to write that sales proposal.

11:15: Emailed the proposal. Need to balance Quickbooks before lunch meeting with accountant — crap, I have to finish a client's web copy before lunch.

12:00: Lunch meeting isn't until 1:00. Need to balance Quickbooks — crap, I have to write that book review. Promised the publisher he'd have it today.

12:30: Still have to write a chapter for the book, write a new presentation, and edit 12 articles. Wish I didn't have that lunch meeting now. Never did balance Quickbooks. Looks like I need to pay accountant to do it.

2:30: I really need to quit having lunch meetings. They always run too long. I should have canceled and worked through lunch.

3:00: Coffee meeting with prospective client. Pack up work and I'll head home from there.

4:00: Got an email on my mobile phone. Writer flaked out on me, can't meet deadline for two articles. Needed them by tomorrow. Last time I use that guy.

4:30: Traffic was smooth. I love not driving during rush hour. Answer new emails before dinner.

6:00: Dinner time with the family.

7:00: Wife and kids are watching TV. I need to work on the book chapter.

10:00: Tuck the kids in bed. Worked enough on the chapter, but I need to write the presentation.

11:00: Need to write first draft of missed articles. Stupid flaky writers.

12:00: Have to edit those 12 articles. I really should do this during the day, I'm not at my sharpest.

2:30: Bed time. I wish I had a regular job so I didn't have to work so much.

My book, Branding Yourself: How to Use Social Media to Invent or Reinvent Yourself (affiliate link), is available on, as well as at Barnes & Noble and Borders bookstores. I wrote it with my good friend, Kyle Lacy.

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  1. Erik, this was a fun read. I like being a business owner. When it's chaos, at least it's my own particular brand of chaos. Plus I often have insomnia, so the 2:00 am working on articles and proposals works for me!

  2. I vote small business owner. You chart your own path, you are at the wheel, yes there are lots of waves to dodge, but YOU are the master of the ship.

  3. So very true, my friend!


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