It's a hard decision to make, since customer interactions are the best part of the job. I'm pretty good at it too. Moving on from something you've mastered is difficult (yes, I said it), but I think it's also necessary. The trap is getting stuck, and I was feeling stuck. So what do I do?
Well, I still go to work at the store. Finding enough work to do is like any new job you step into. You know there are things that need doing. You know there are things that you're supposed to be doing, that you haven't figured out yet. Your day is about poking around, tying to find out what those things are. For me, it's about taking the "building a business" tasks and giving them my full attention. Marketing is a good example. Community outreach is something I've stated is an objective that others are working on (important, but not my thing). Purchasing, which is often rushed, now is more professional. Dealing with the smaller vendors and negotiating deals has been my thing of late. Oh, and there's still a decent chance I'll be managing a construction project. You get the idea.
There are pitfalls here. First, it's important I continue to show up. The institutional knowledge is still being transmitted to staff. I've got my finger on the pulse of the business, but more as an observer. Step away, and that will change. I'm not retired or off starting a new business, which has different issues. Second, there is still the question of whether this new position is temporary or full time. It might be seasonal if I run out of meaningful projects. Perhaps it's a January through March break after each busy, holiday season. Third, is this could also be a trap of sorts, keeping me from starting a second store or other business. A safe place to explore a business that is self sufficient and really doesn't need the extra attention (I disagree with that).
This is the point where a customer might have concerns that the whole business, the service and selection, will completely fall apart. That's valid. However, I've been at the new job, kind of informally, since around October. The store is in very good shape at the moment.
Some store owners will say you should never do this. Burn down your office. Others will ask me what took so long. I think it's a decision as personal and unique as every store out there. What do you think?