Born free – why not stay that way?

If I remember my primary school history class correctly, it was a French philosopher Rousseau who said, “Man is born free, but is everywhere in chains.”  

Whether taxes, civil responsibility, or the responsibility for people, the carefree freedom we enjoy as children, teenagers, and even early adults, very quickly vanishes when we enter the world of work and adult responsibilities.  

How much more so do we find ourselves in chains as business owners, restrained from some of the very freedoms we aspire to and hold dear? Here are but a few:

  1. The freedom of regular income through sustainable cash flow.
  2. The freedom of choice about profits should be in the bank account but is impacted by late payments for goods and services already provided. 
  3. The freedom to determine a realistic retirement date or to not work ourselves into an early grave. 


Even the well-known Scottish freedom fighter, William Wallace, famously proclaimed, “They may take our lives, but they will never take our freedom!”

I maintain that ‘Living’ and ‘Freedom’ are not mutually exclusive. Neither should being a business owner and having the freedom of a great quality of life. 

I personally, prefer to align my outlook with another French Revolution expression, “With great power comes great responsibility.” (Yes, it was also quoted in the Spiderman franchise but I’m not a fan of Tobey Maguire). If the power of choice gives us freedom, then the onus rests on us to wield that power in the most responsible fashion.  


  What does that mean exactly?  

  • Building a business that works for us, not because of us, or we will never be free of the need to drive day-to-day operations 
  • Having the responsibility to run our businesses as businesses, not as side-hustles waiting to grow up, or as our passion points that we’re just happy to be able to do what we love 


This brings me to the conclusion that the only way to obtain true freedom is to work ON our business and not IN our business. The business that needs us to run it robs us of the freedom to make choices about what to do with our time, and if we will be able to sell it or to grow it at the pace that will serve our life plans.  

There are no finite definition of what freedom means because it holds separate significance for each individual. Finite is the time within which you can attain that freedom, the time before your business becomes the chain that holds you back from the freedoms you are trying so hard to attain.  

The one choice you do have is to reach out for the help that will get you to that point of freedom, sooner rather than later.  

Get into action and embrace the freedom that a business coach can bring you.  


Brehndan Botha, ActionCOACH Business Coach
brehndanbotha.actioncoach.com | brehndanbotha@actioncoach.com