…you don’t go anywhere!

I’ve spent the last several weeks with agency owners in our peer network meetings. As a part of that meeting, the owners have to present their financials (show P/L, Balance sheet, etc.) to the group. They also have to report sales progress, staff issues, and a host of other metrics. It’s always an interesting lens from which to see the agency owners. I am reminded of what a rare breed they are.

We all get frustrated and discouraged sometimes. There have certainly been moments in time when I would have gladly sold my agency to you for a nickel. But not very many and that malaise never lasted very long.

Because you’re an owner (if you are one) you forget how unusual you are. The risks you have taken are not risks most people are willing to accept. The emotional roller coaster you ride on a daily basis isn’t a ride most people can stomach. There is a blend of fortitude, resilience, and confidence in you that you take for granted but the truth is, it’s a very uncommon combination.

Agency ownership is hard, even on the good days, but it’s relentless when things aren’t going your way (which, by the way, is inevitable). Your unflagging enthusiasm, “it will get better” belief and most of all, your willingness to be very uncomfortable for as long as it takes, is your secret weapon.

Why am I reminding you of all of this? Because you think everyone is wired the way you are. But you are a rare breed. And that’s okay. But the misperception that everyone is like you can cause some trouble. It creates expectations that your employees often can’t meet. Every article I read says that 63% or 72% of all Americans want to be their own boss. Guess what — they have no clue. They want the often promised perks (more money, time freedom, etc.) but they don’t realize the price that gets paid to even have a shot at the upside.

Why am I telling you all of this? Here’s what I hope will happen.

You will:

  • Recognize how rare you are and be grateful that you are built to run your agency
  • Realize that you actually aren’t wired for this and need to make some changes and that it’s okay to make that choice
  • See your employees more realistically and don’t expect them to be like you
  • If you have one of those rare unicorn employees who is built for ownership — realize how fortunate you are and give some thought to whether or not they are partner or succession material

Pay attention to how you react on the rough days. It’s easy to be an agency owner when the pipeline is full, the bank account is flush and the employees are all getting along.

It’s how you react when things aren’t going according to plan that is telling. If you can roll with the punches and come back with enthusiasm and optimism — congratulations (or, I’m sorry) but you are wired to own the joint!

Recognize that you’re a special breed and celebrate it. And remember, on those rough days — we’re here to help.

This was originally published in the weekly AMI newsletter.  To subscribe, click here.