Running a One-Person Business mentors Paul and Sarah Edwards respond to the following question from an inc.com reader:
My wife and I have been running two successful companies for 10 years. She has recently become tired emotionally and physically, and she wants to walk away from them. I want to stay on but fear going it alone. Understandably, I am having problems fulfilling the duties shared by two people in the past. What can I do to keep my companies and my dream intact?
Paul and Sarah Edwards respond:You can't expect to adequately perform the duties that two people performed in the past, so don't even try. First and foremost, you need to make sure that you do not also become exhausted. We suggest that you and your wife take a vacation away from the pressures of the businesses, preferably in a natural setting, where both of you can relax and reflect on new directions in life.
If you return from your vacation and still wish to keep both businesses, we recommend you think about finding a new partner. You might consider turning to an executive who is semi-retired and wants to get back in the game. Such a person could start with you as an employee or on a contractual basis. If, after six months, both of you are happy, you might take this person on as a partner and allow him or her to buy into your corporation.
We also propose that you explore the option of scaling back both companies with the help of a business consultant or a professional organizer. You might, for example, run both companies from home and use the Web to transact business. Or, if keeping both companies is unrealistic, you might sell one and work out a marketing alliance or some other collaboration with the new owner. Selling does not have to mean the end of your role in your company's operation.
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