"At least once every day I consider replacing myself with a 'real' CEO," writes Ian Lurie at Conversation Marketing. "Then I could just be the nerd in the cave, writing and programming and SERPing and such." But—like many entrepreneurs who love their business passionately—Lurie never follows through on the threat.

And he maintains his sanity by following rules like these:

Brace yourself for unexpected trials and tribulations. The top job comes with more headaches than the normal stress of making payroll or dealing with irate customers. In Lurie's case, unexpected snafus have included "busted air conditioning pouring water into your office, the fired client driving down from Canada to accost you in your office, and of course the loss of phone service for five days."

Hire people who fit in with the rest of your team. "If you hire for skills, you get someone who can do the necessary work right away," he says. "Hire for smarts and you get someone who can learn a lot. Hire for chemistry, though, and you get someone who meshes your team, does a fantastic job in the long term and will probably be smart and skillful."

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