I have been thru each phase. My business is now 7 years in.
"hire employees or contractors to do the work and you can therefore essentially ease your way out of the business" -- I haven't figured this out. The more work that I get and the more people that are working for me the more swamped I get, with both worries of things going wrong that are out of my control, and with dealing with so many things that I don't want to be (client relationships). I was good at the thing I did, and now I just try to run others doing this and handle ever changing client demands. I can't ever get the work out of my mind, ever. ever. And often it feels like its taken away the joy from my life (which I should have plenty of with such a wonderful family backing me). When things were slow, and business was "bad", it was awesome, as there would be decent downtime when life would be great and my spirits would return.
I feel such a responsibility to my partner and the amazing people that work for me I'm feeling trapped even beyond personal financial concerns. I'm basically on the cusp of FI now (maybe just a year away if another good year is had?) and so realize there are options, the recent success of the business has made this possible sooner than it otherwise would have been. I made a decision 20 years ago to not be a loser and a quitter as my life was not on the best path, and have gritted my teeth ever since. I work from home the majority of the time so shouldn't have many complaints. I just can't back away, I panic at every potential thing that could go wrong, even before it does. I'm lost right now and trying to figure out what to do. I'm trying to figure out how to ease out of things in a way that doesn't hurt anyone, be it my business or my family.