None of it’s really worth it if you aren’t happy.
Launching and running your own business means grueling hours, shouldering a lot of responsibility and at times, managing a team through dark, choppy waters. That’s why entrepreneurs, in order to stay in the game for long periods of time, have to not only remind themselves of their mission, but what they need to take care of themselves along the way.
Often, it’s family that keeps entrepreneurs happy. Exercise and meditation or prayer also top that list.
To recognize and celebrate National Small Business Week (NSBW), we reached out to the six finalists in the running to win the title of National Small Business Person of the Year and asked them to reflect on what it is, throughout all of the hustle and bustle, that keeps them happy, grounded and peaceful.
For more than 50 years, the U.S. president has declared one week per year NSBW. Throughout the week, Small Business Administration organizes events around the country to honor leading Main Street entrepreneurs. This year’s NSBW began on Monday and will end Friday.
For a peek into the psyche of the small-business owner, have a look at what these leaders say keeps them feeling good and powering on.
1. Charles Feit, founder of OnForce Solar
Headquarters: Bronx, N.Y.
Number of employees: 100 total; 85 full-time, 15 part-time.
Annual revenues: $30 million
I am fortunate that even though my business is 24/7, I do not feel like I have a job. I show up every day, execute to the best of my abilities and run my company, but I don’t consider it work. That said, I do take time to exercise as well as find some down time on a weekly basis to enjoy life.
2. Carol Craig, founder of Craig Technologies
Headquarters: Cape Canaveral, Fla.
Number of employees: 414 total; 398 full-time; 16 part-time
Annual revenues: Approximately $45 to 50 million
I am committed to singing in church every Sunday, and I play piano and hand bells to decompress. I also try hard to maintain my workout schedule. I touch base with my mother and father as often as possible (luckily, my mother loves email!) and about once a month or so, I isolate myself somewhere on the beach to catch up on things and ‘hit the reset button.’ I also volunteer in the classroom with Junior Achievement - It feels great to interact with the young people and ‘see the light go on’ when we talk about entrepreneurism.
3. Michael Miqueli, founder of San Antonio Broker Services
Headquarters: North Bergen, N.J.
Number of employees: 71 full time
Annual revenues: $8 million
My kids and my wife keep me grounded. I have an amazing wife and three really fun kids, they’re always joking around and they usually make me forget whatever it is that was stressing me out. Golf is definitely a good disconnect for me. I need a weekly dose of it to keep me happy.
4. Richard (Rick) Jackson, founder of American Document Services
Headquarters: Las Cruces, N.M.
Number of employees: 18 total; 16 full-time, 2 part-time
Annual revenues: More than $1.5 million
Play solitaire on my computer, just kidding.
Running a business is stressful. In the beginning I worried about making payroll. I remember using my credit card to draw cash out to pay my first employee, but that only happened once. Today I enjoy having BBQ’s for the employee’s to show appreciation. Cooking for them, throwing washer’s, horseshoes and games where we present gift cards to the winners. Playing golf, being on boards that guides our future leaders, supporting our local schools and participating in local events to raise funds (mud volleyball) and a great family. What more could you ask for?
5. Necole Parker, founder of The ELOCEN Group, LLC
Headquarters: Washington, D.C.
Number of employees: 62 total; 52 full-time, 10 part-time
Annual revenues: $19.4 million
Stress comes with the territory of being an entrepreneur, you’re always running and on the go – there’s never a dull moment. Daily meditations and devotions before the busyness of my day, I often find focus and relief in the quietness of my home before normal activities throughout the day start. This often includes morning exercise before the day starts. Spending quality time with family away from work is very important to me.
6. Alan Doan, founder of the Missouri Star Quilt Company
Headquarters: Hamilton, Mo.
Number of employees: 180 total; 155 full-time, 25 part-time
Annual revenues: Declined to provide
It's all about family. Dinners together, lunch at mom's house with all the siblings during the work week, playing baseball in the evenings before it gets dark with nieces and nephews, or some brotherly basketball before the day starts. Family is the people that won't ever let you get a big head or feel sorry for yourself. Keep those kind of people around.