How To Unlock Business Growth By Working ON Your Business

7 Warning Signs That You’re Not Running Your Business, It’s Running You







  1. How scheduling white space in your calendar leads to business growth
  2. Why it’s critical to start your day with intention
  3. How to stop your business from creeping into your personal life and gobbling up all your free time


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Do you ever feel like your business is calling the shots, not you?

You’re not alone.

Most of us start a business dreaming of freedom, autonomy and fulfillment.

But if you’re not vigilant, this dream can slip through your fingers. Instead, your business can become a demanding boss — pushing you around, ignoring your boundaries, and dictating everything from which tasks you focus on to the length of your workday.

So how can you tell if you’re in the driver’s seat or if you’ve accidentally slipped into passenger mode?

And more importantly, how can you get back behind the steering wheel?!

Read on for the solutions that’ll help you regain control of your time, your dreams, and your entrepreneurial empire…

🚩 Red Flag #1: You’re tethered to your inbox.

Do you feel a rush every time you clear an email?

Does reaching inbox zero give you shivers of bliss?!

Beware of what I call the ‘Inbox Illusion’.

While it might seem like you’re crushing it every time you archive an email, spending time in your inbox often gives a false sense of productivity. It allows us to feel like we’re busy, but is this ‘busy-ness’ genuinely pushing our business forward?

Nine times out of ten, the answer is no — it’s all an illusion.

The Fix:

As entrepreneurs, it’s crucial that we learn how to differentiate between tasks that keep us ‘busy’ and those that genuinely foster growth. (This applies to everything, not just email!)

With your inbox specifically, it might be time to switch up your approach. Batch your inbox sessions as much as possible. Try scheduling specific times during the day to check emails. And turn off all notifications — the world won’t end if you don’t see that email within three seconds of its arrival. (Promise!)

🚩 Red Flag #2: Your calendar looks like a Tetris game gone wrong

7 Warning Signs That You’re Not Running Your Business, It's Running You

If your calendar is jammed with back to back meetings, appointments and commitments, it’s time to reassess. 

As the CEO of your business, it’s critical that you have periods of uninterrupted white space in your schedule in order to engage in the kinds of tasks that move your business forward — like strategic planning, deep work, creative thinking, product development, brand direction, and overall visioning.

So if, like many solopreneurs, you’ve found yourself so over-scheduled that you can barely fit in time for a cuppa or a bathroom break, your business might be calling the shots.

The Fix: 

Schedule in your ‘CEO Time’ FIRST. It’s the priority — it should come before any of those other tasks.

Another scheduling hack I love: Instead of scheduling 60 minute meetings, schedule 45 minute ones. (Or instead of scheduling 30 minute meetings, schedule 20-25 minute ones, and so on.) This tightened timeframe encourages participants to be concise, prepared and on point — and it allows YOU to reclaim valuable time.

If you struggle with an overstuffed calendar, not getting enough done, and never taking time off, I highly recommend getting your hands on a copy of Time Magic, the book I co-wrote with my husband, Nick. Check it out here.

🚩 Red Flag #3: Vacay? What’s that?! 

If your idea of a holiday is moving your laptop from your desk to the couch, then honey, we need to talk. Workaholism isn’t a badge of honor, it’s a one-way trip to Stressville. Humans are not designed to be ‘on’ 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, all year long. You need a break!

The Fix: 

Schedule regular downtime and (gasp!) actual vacations. If that’s not possible for you right now, then work towards this in the near future. Not only are holidays great in and of themselves, but you’ll come back to work feeling energized and reinvigorated after having had a proper break.

🚩 Red Flag #4: The word ‘no’ feels out of reach

You’ve become a “yes-woman”, piling on projects, clients, and commitments — even when you don’t have capacity for them. 

This is an easy trap to fall into, especially in the early days of business when it feels like you need to jump on every opportunity that comes your way.

But remember: every time you say ‘yes’ to something, you’re saying ‘no’ to something else (maybe even your sleep or sanity).

The Fix: 

Sometimes, a polite decline is the kindest thing you can do for yourself. So relearn the art of saying “no”. 

It’s not about being negative; it’s about being clear on your priorities — and putting what’s important to YOU, first.

🚩 Red Flag #5: You’re reactive, not proactive 

You’re constantly putting out fires. Instead of setting the tone for your day, you’re bouncing from one crisis to the next, like a pinball machine on overdrive.

The Fix: 

Start your day with intention. Whether it’s through meditation, journaling, or just sipping tea and staring into space, give yourself time to set the vibe for your day. You’d be amazed how big an impact this one simple shift can make.

🚩 Red Flag #6: Work has invaded the rest of your life 

If you’re taking calls during family dinners, answering emails at your kid’s soccer game, or dreaming of your clients instead of fluffy unicorns, it’s a sign that your work is invading your life and you’re suffering from ‘work creep’.

Work creep is a HUGE cause of overwhelm and exhaustion for entrepreneurs. It makes you feel like you can never truly switch off, because you’ve always got one foot in work mode. It’s also a sign that your business is running the show.

The Fix:

The solution? Set boundaries and stick to them. When you clock off for the day (or the weekend), commit to that decision and be fully present in your personal life. And remember, YOU determine when you’re available, not your clients or customers.

🚩 Red Flag #7: You’re all fizzle, no flame 

The biggest red flag that your business is running you? You’ve lost your spark.

When your motivation has fizzled and your passion has left the building, it’s a giant sign from the Universe that you need to pause, recalibrate and reevaluate.

The Fix: 

Don’t worry: a missing spark isn’t a sign that you (or your business) aren’t good enough, or that you need to burn everything down and start from scratch. Often, all it takes is a shift of a few degrees to course-correct and get you feeling excited again.

A good place to start is reconnecting with your purpose. Maybe it’s time for a vision board party, a session with a business strategy coach, or a deep dive into the goals and dreams that made you start your business in the first place.

Another excellent strategy: take a break. A proper one. The old saying is true: absence makes the heart grow fonder, and it applies just as much to your biz as your beau. 

So there you have it: the 7 warning signs that your business might be running you — and how to turn the ship around.

The Key Takeaway?

Your business is an extension of your passion, dreams, and hard work; it shouldn’t become the puppet master pulling your strings.

Taking back control means recognizing that true success comes from balance, prioritizing yourself, and leading with intention.

It might take some effort to implement the above strategies, but once you do, you won’t just reemerge as the leader of your business, but of your destiny too. ⚡️


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Til next time, sending so much love,

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Hi Gorgeous, I'm Melissa.

Multiple bestselling author, #1 podcast host and TEDx speaker.



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