Lessons I Learned from Duck Dynasty

I have a love/hate relationship with our plumbing business.  Lately, it’s been leaning more towards hate.

The business consumes so much of my time.  I know how I want to contribute my talents to the world, and the plumbing business has nothing to do with that vision.  I understand that it pays my bills.  It even pays for my graduate degree.  I should be grateful, but it feels like an anchor more than it feels like a life raft.  Lately, I have been procrastinating on my work, so when I do get around to it, it has grown into a mountain of daunting work.  Work that I don’t want to do.

Mark, on the other hand, enjoys working with the business.  He enjoys working with people.  He enjoys figuring out how to repair mystery leaks.  He is an awesome field manager, but he is not much of an office manager.  I am the detail person.  I keep the books, run the marketing campaigns, keep customer records.  It’s a lot of work.  Running a business is not for the faint of heart.  I am good at it, but my heart is not in it.  In fact, I downright resent it.

You might look at the title of this post and think, What does this have to do with Duck Dynasty?

I watched Duck Dynasty for the first time yesterday.  I have heard so much about it, I had to see it for myself.  When I watched it, I noticed that these people ran a business, but they found a way to make it fun.  They don’t let running it bog them down.  I realized that I need to find a way to run my own business that it doesn’t suck all emotional energy from me.  I need to work to live.  Right now I feel like I live to work.

In the beginning, when the business was new, it was a puzzle.  Every day I was learning from mistakes, trying to figure out how to make the business profitable.  I lost a lot of money during that phase, but I learned a lot of priceless lessons, too.  Then, after three years, the business was working, and we were paying our bills.  We were even able to pay down the debt from starting the business.  I think that when I started the business, I envisioned that when it was running well, it would run smoothly with little effort on my part.  Looking back, I’m not sure I thought about what I would do at this stage of business at all.

I want to work less with the business, but as a business owner that was under the poverty line for the first three years before the business took off, I have a hard time letting someone else help run the business.  I might hate doing office work, but I have heard so many horror stories about employees that ruined businesses that I am a bit of a control freak.  I can’t let go. How can I give power over to someone who hasn’t had to labor in the business?  Someone who hasn’t experienced the tears of joy and relief that come when you receive the money you need to cover your mortgage on the day it is due?  Someone who hasn’t had to figure out what to do for a Christmas when you have just $150 to spend on food and gifts and three children to spend it on.

Now, I realize that I have to relinquish some control in order to be able to accomplish my own personal goals.  But it is easier said than done.  But now I know that until I am able to let go, I will not be free to pursue my own lofty goals.  I want my business to support my hobbies–like the Duck Dynasty clan. The first step I need to take is to trust someone else to do my bookkeeping.  Just typing that last sentence scares me.

That being said, does anyone know a good bookkeeper?

8 thoughts on “Lessons I Learned from Duck Dynasty

  1. Hey – I don’t know if you’re a big fan of “self-help” type strategies, but I just saw some Tony Robbins videos that spoke to some of this, at least for me in my opinion. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZQxeYuf4grE His use of the concept of “leverage” instead of “delegation” is particularly relevant, perhaps. (around 15 minutes in) Also, “Activity without purpose is the drain to your life.” (11:40)

  2. Liz, for what it’s worth, I think your thoughts are going in the right direction. Too many times, individuals keep doing things/tasks that they don’t want to do without recognizing their own needs and doing something to fulfill those needs. If choosing to keep running the business feels more like “I have to run the business,” and you can’t attach a reason that provides satisfaction, then you shouldn’t be doing the task. Hope this makes sense. 🙂

    • There is so much more I want to do that I feel is my purpose. I feel that running the business and not handing it over gets in the way. I need to pray for the ability to let go.

  3. Great post and I completely understand the need to control. Having to delegate responsibilities is one of the hardest things a manager/owner needs to learn. As you have figured out, you dimly can’t do it all. I think the key is to find someone who you think will do a good job and then audit their work. My guess is that most people won’t deliberately screw up your books and doing spot checks will ensure that errors are kept to a minimum. Having a bookkeeper know that you, or an independent outside auditor will be randomly checking their work will let them know you mean business and may make them treat your books with more care. It will also discourage those who might seek to embezzle.

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