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    Why you do it: inspirational mantras to keep you focused

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    You work hard running your small business — endless to-do lists, long hours, and too many cups of coffee. Here are five mantras to remind yourself why you do it.

    Don’t worry, every small business owner sometimes feels anxiety about the path they have chosen. It’s normal to get lost in the day-to-day hustle of emails and meetings.

    Whether it be chasing your next customer, hurdling red tape, or scouting for your next hire, it can be easy to forget why you set forth on your journey of working for yourself in the first place.

    Here are five inspiring mantras to remind yourself why you do it.

    “I love being my own boss.”

    Yes, it feels good to be master of your own fate. In fact, according to an Ipsos poll 77 per cent of Canadians have wanted to be their own boss at some point in their careers. Most people believe they would be more motivated in their work if it allowed them to pursue the life they wanted.

    Small business owners appreciate not only the greater autonomy and independence that working for oneself brings, but they also report a greater sense of fulfillment. Few answer the calling—and you should be proud that you did.

    This guy is really enjoying being a small business owner.

    “I get to enjoy life more.”

    Remember your old 9-to-5 job and the commute? The world probably didn’t seem as exciting. Despite the ups and downs, running your own business can make life brighter.

    Small business owners consistently say they are happier and healthier in their lives versus being employed. One of the most important reasons cited is the flexibility in work-life balance and the ability to enjoy their time more. Even on hectic days, there is time to stop and smell the flowers.

    “I make other people happy.”

    Did you know that employees at small businesses report being happier than those at larger ones?

    Some of the reasons cited included less bureaucracy, more accommodating work cultures and less stringent work policies. Millennials especially appear to enjoy working for smaller companies.

    So, if you are a small business owner and employ others, you are likely providing an opportunity for someone to become happier, too.

    “I believe in my work.”

    Too many jobs are simply about making money. At the end of the day, not many people can honestly say they believe their work makes a difference in the world.

    A recent study on the meaning of work found that 9 out of 10 people would choose to earn less money to pursue more meaningful work. What you do with your life really is what you do with your working hours. Don’t forget, your work matters — to customers, to friends and family, and to you.

    “I am being true to myself.”

    Sound familiar? Ask a small business owner why they work for themselves and you may get several different answers: freedom, work-life balance, and the pursuit of happiness.

    But the deepest psychological reason you may hear in the mirror: “I feel like this is who I am.”

    Many small business owners work for themselves because that is simply who they are — and they know it.

    Originally published April 3, 2019, updated August 25, 2023

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