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Entrepreneur Mindset

What a French Shopkeeper Just Taught Me About Business…

Photo by Nolan Isaac

It was 12:25pm.

Denis could have been hard at work in his little Provencal grocery store.

But instead, his store was shuttered, and he was outside sitting on the bench with his wife, watching life go by.

Looking calm and relaxed, he turned and greeted us as we walked past.

“It’s a beautiful day!” he said cheerfully.

Each day, they open at 8:30am and then go home for lunch by 12:30pm.

And then, if their grandkids aren’t being too cute (and if they feel like it), they re-open again from 3:30-5:30pm.

They work no more than 6 hours a day, 5 days a week.

Sometimes they decide to take an extra day off just because…

Spontaneously shuttering their doors and setting off to visit their daughter or whatever else they feel like doing.

We told them how amazing this was to us, being city folks from a busy-land.

“We work when we want, not when you want..” he replied, his eyes glittering.

And that just stunned me for a second, because it was just about the most “anti-business” think I’ve ever heard.

Denis and Laurence were two of the nicest people I had ever met, and every single time we go into their store (and we pretty much shop there daily, since they’re right next door to us), it’s like we’re the only people in the world to them.

But, when they’re closed, they’re closed.

And yet their business was doing just fine.

And they were happy.

My first reaction was to mock them gently: “Oh, they don’t live in the real world.”

And then, something began to dawn on me.

If there’s a real world, I think it’s ME that doesn’t live there.

After a month in France, our 24/7 culture of instant access now seems not just wrong, but downright pathological.

After all, we open up shop online looking for freedom to re-create our lives on our own terms.

And then we find ourselves trapped in a prison of OUR own making.

We expect immediate responses to our emails and phone calls, and constant access via Facebook and text message from the people we choose to do business with.

So get so caught up in the emails, posts and messages flying at us from every direction, that we end up sitting in front of our computers day and night, losing touch with the real reason we went into business in the first place.

I don’t care WHO you are — there’s a real and undeniable cost to this 24/7 access that takes a very heavy toll on our bodies and minds.

It’s just not sustainable.

And it took a trip to France to fully understand that there’s another path that’s possible to travel.

Denis and his wife Laurence consciously make a decision each day to run their business in a way that supports their life, rather than trying to extract every possible cent (and making themselves miserable along the way.)

And the larger we grow Live Your Message, the clearer it becomes to us that business needs to support your life, not the other way around.

That’s why I wanted to share with you the most important system we’ve put in place that let’s us “work when we want, not when you want”… and still have you love us for it… 😉

Click here to read one secret to managing expectations so you can show up and give fully on your terms.

And, if you’re inspired, leave a nice note below that I can share with Denis and Laurence to let them know how they’ve made a difference in our lives.

 

Love it? Hate it? Let me know...

  1. alan

    Daniel + Lewis on to something good.Business should only be part of Life – not all consuming. Say hello to the Smart couple + have a grand time on the remainder of the trip in France.

    Reply ·
    1. Marisa Murgatroyd

      They are definitely on to something good! Those are the kinds of businesses that I actually LOVE giving my money too. We buy a carton of strawberries every day from them — and quite a bit more… 🙂

      Reply ·
  2. Sherri

    Such a valuable lesson – what really counts is how we make people feel when connecting with our business not being available 24/7. The mantra that my husband and I live by is Freedom and Flexibility – its the metric we use for everything we do. Thanks for running a “human” business and showing everyone that it can be done. The french, as usual, teach us so much <3

    Reply ·
    1. Marisa Murgatroyd

      I like that “Freedom and Flexibility”… and yes it’s all about framing the not being available 24/7 so people see it as an asset and not a liability…

      Reply ·
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About the Author Marisa Murgatroyd

Marisa is the founder of Live Your Message, where she turns entrepreneurs into Online Superheroes, and the creator of Start With You where she helps people just like you to discover the business they're meant to build, not just the business they can build. At 4’11 and a quarter, she’s called the shortest woman in marketing — and that doesn’t stop her from having huge ideas. She’s the “go to” brand builder for industry luminaries and heavyweights such as Justin Livingston, Callan Rush, Danny Iny, Alexis Neely and Susan Peirce Thompson. Marisa helps entrepreneurs create a business that is authentic and aligned with who they are, to empower them to turn up the dial on their “inner superhero”, so they can be the superhero to their tribe, as well as in their own lives.

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