Success is relative. For some, success is a stable job with a good salary and benefits. For others, it’s a multi-million dollar company. For some, success is having the ability to spend quality time with their children and still pay the bills.

So what is my definition of success? Not having to work.

Don’t laugh, I’m serious. I’ve realized that the only way to build a growing, sustainable business is to not do the work yourself. In addition I want to spend time with my family, go on vacations, possibly go back to school and still make a comfortable living for me and my family.

So how do you make a comfortable living without working?

It was up above if you were paying attention – don’t do the work yourself. Oxymoron? No. Most self-employed people I know (notice I didn’t use “entrepreneur”) are really just owners of a job (including me most of the time). We do all the work we used to do, plus accounting, bookeeping, receivables, marketing, filing, secretarial work and more. The only way to get out of that cycle is to break out.

I’ve been trying for a few years to break out of the cycle, but keep getting pulled back in to doing more and more work. I’ve recently found myself working 60-70 hours a week trying to make deadlines and please clients. I realized that there were two things wrong with what I’m doing:

  1. I’m doing client work. It makes much more sense to work on sites that will generate long-term recurring revenue for me than to work on projects that will make clients money.
  2. I’m doing all the work myself. I’ve recently found myself doing almost all the work myself… mostly just because I’m trying to meet deadlines and occasionally because I think I’m the only one that can do it right.

Of course, I’m not the only one who can do it (nor the only one who can do it in time to make the deadline). To move to the next level, I’m going to have to break that mindset and start outsourcing more work and start working on more internal projects.

I’m making it a point to not take on any more client work where I will have to work 50% or more of the billable hours. I’m also going to find some competent designers, programmers and developers to subcontract some of our client work to so I can focus on finishing some of our internal projects that can generate some long-term residual income.