Running your own Business can be a Juggling Act

Running your own business can be a juggling act


Managing your own company can be stressful.

The verb “run” can mean several things. Of course it means to move physically:

I go running every morning.
I was late late so I had to run for the bus.

Managing a Business

In the phrase:

running your own business

The verb “to run” means “to manage” or “to operate”. In another sense it can mean “to govern” although it is informal.

Running a Country

Obama ran the country for two terms and then Trump took over.

This means Obama governed the country for eight years and then Trump governed after him.

“Term” refers to a period of time
Link to the Time Page.

In the US a Presidential term of office is four years. After that the is another election. The President is not allowed to govern for more than two consecutive terms.

When a candidate tries to get elected, we say:

He is running for office


He is running for President.

In this case the verb “run” is a phrasal verb:

To run for something

Business means Company


“Busy” is an adjective and when we say:

He is busy

we mean:

he has a lot to do

When we use the noun “business” it does not generally mean the quality of being busy. It has a more concrete meaning. It means a company or shop or industry or some economic activity.

Trying to make enough money to survive keeps everybody busy.

Grammar – Gerund

The verb “to run” has many meanings but as we saw above, it means “manage” or “operate” in the phrase “running your own business”.

Note the “ing” at the end of the word “run”. It means that a noun (running) has been formed from the verb “run”. This type of noun is called the gerund.

Personal and Impersonal

We use the gerund to create an abstract or academic tone in our speech and writing. We speak of the action “running” with no reference to who is running. Compare these two phrases:

If you run your own business, you will have to juggle many things at once.

Running your own business involves juggling many things at once.

The General use of “You” and “Your”

The pronoun “you” and its possessive variant “your” have a general meaning and a specific meaning.

If I say:

“You are a good person.”

it refers specifically to “you”.

If I say:

How do you spell “juggling”?

it refers to anybody.

Look at some more phrases with general “you” as opposed to specific “you”:

How do you get to the station from here?
How do you pronounce this word in Spanish?
How do you say “still” in Spanish?

When we say “running your own “business” it means “running a business in general”. It refers to anybody who runs a busniness or might run a business. It doies not necessarily specifically refer to one person: “you”.

So we see that the word “you” has two separate meanings in English. We can call one meaning “general you” or “impersonal you” and the other meaning “personal you” or “specific you”.

Do you get it?

Tell us if you get it in the comments section below.

The use of the word “own”

Look at these phrases:

I own my own business.
I own my own car.
I own my own house.

They mean:

I have my own business.
I have my own car.
I have my own house.

Note that “own” can be a verb as in:

I own a restaurant.

but it is also a type of possessive adjective in the phrase:

I own my own restaurant.

We always use it in the pattern with:

my own
your own
his own
her own
their own
our own

Look at these examples:

I have my own laptop.
You have your own office.
He has his own car.
She has her own room.
They have their own problems.
We have our own money.

In effect these phrases emphasise the ownership of the laptop, office, car, room etc. This type of structure is common although if you talk to somebody who speaks simple English you might try easier sentences:

I have a laptop.
You have an office.
He has a car.
She has a room.
They have problems.
We have money.

The effect is the same. Using “own” just emphasieses “ownership”.

Don’t confuse the verb “own” and the possessive adjective “own”. They often come together.

Do you own your own laptop?

Tell us about it.


A Juggling Act is a Metaphor.

In the literal sense of the word, “a juggling act” refers to a circus act where a performer (a juggler) throws balls or hoops or other objects into the air and catches them again.

In order to be a successful juggler you have to be quick and change your focus constantly. That is why people say:

Running your own business is a juggling act.

When you manage your own business it is necessary to shift your focus constantly. You have to hire and fire people, monitor the market, organise advertising, look after quality control, find new customers, source materials, etc etc. It is hard work. It is stressful. It is time-consuming.

Running your own business is similar to a juggling act. So we say:

Running your own business is a juggling act.


Do you run your own business?
Do you own a business?
Have you ever run your own business?
Was it like a juggling act?

Tell us about your experience in the comments section below.


Follow the links and study more:

Advertising is a powerful force
Figurative Language – The Metaphor Page

Much of Meaning is in Context

The Work Page
Vocabulary – Carnage

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