If you run a small business, you’re part of a long American tradition that dates back to our founding fathers: George Washington owned a flour mill and whiskey distillery, Alexander Hamilton founded the Bank of New York, Thomas Jefferson operated a nailery, and Ben Franklin ran The Pennsylvania Gazette newspaper.
Today’s entrepreneurs share a common passion with these leaders: Freedom. In a Gallup/Wells Fargo poll last year, the top reason entrepreneurs gravitated to self-employment was “being my own boss/independence/being the decision-maker.” Still, many lose sight of how valuable that freedom is when going about day-to-day business. Why not take some time this year to celebrate your hard-won independence from the world of traditional jobs? Here are some ideas.
Shake up your office routine.
Ask your employees to clear the decks for a two hour meeting in the next week or so—and when they show up for it, surprise them with a fun Fourth of July activity. Show a movie in a conference room decorated with patriotic memorabilia, adjourn to a local bowling alley or order lunch for an outdoor picnic in a nearby park.
Take a well-deserved break.
It is easy to fall into the trap of working six or seven days a week if you run a business. Plan a one-day break where you have to be away from your computer and can’t work—whether it is a day at the spa, hiking in a nature preserve or going to a ball game. You’ll be surprised how many great ideas percolate to the surface when you declare your independence from constant work.
Re-ignite your inspiration.
Reading about successful entrepreneurs can help you reconnect with the independent spirit that drove you to start your business. If you’re looking for some energizing summer reading, try Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future by Ashlee Vance, Zero to One by Peter Thiel or #GIRLBOSS by Sophia Amoruso.
Make this the year you helps others realize their dream of freedom and independence through a charitable activity. Get involved with Global Entrepreneurship Week , which encourages startups around the world, donate to a microlender focused on expanding access to capital, such as Accion, or lend money to an entrepreneur in a developing economy through Kiva. Paying it forward is a very rewarding way to celebrate the opportunities entrepreneurs have in the U.S.