When you work for other people, you often think about how much easier life would be if you were our own boss. Control over your schedules, the power to do things your own way, flexibility to make changes when and where you need to.
In fact, it can be the exact opposite, especially during the start-up phase. In a recent survey carried out by XLN Business Services, almost a third of small business owners admitted to missing a family celebration, birthday or anniversary because of work and 64 per cent said they had worked on Christmas Day.
When you’re starting a company, you are either beholden to your investors, or you are starting with no capital and trying to earn enough to pay yourself (and maybe your employees).
If you’ve borrowed money from people, those people will be breathing down your neck, wanting to see a return on their investment. If you’re going it alone, you are keenly motivated to start generating income.
The net effect is that you’re left feeling like you have no time and no money. In short, there is no work-life balance.
Most business owners know to expect this. What they don’t expect is that once the business is up and running, it can be extremely difficult to exit this start-up mode of operating.
You’ve been going full-throttle for months, or possibly years. You’ve hired likeminded people with a similar work ethic. You’ve realised that you can accomplish a lot, at low cost, by working very, very hard. You’ve built an efficient company this way, and changing gears at this point can be easier said than done. Shaking that start-up mentality is one of the biggest challenges for business owners’ work-life balance, and for their ability to develop or maintain relationships in their personal life.
Work-life balance audit
One way to address this is by doing a work-life balance audit every few months, and asking friends or family members to help assess you.
Did you promise to cut back your hours, but you haven’t made it home in time for dinner yet in 2014? Have you rescheduled drinks with a friend five times and still haven’t managed to meet up?
Yes, the business is important and may sometimes need to be your first priority, but your personal life also needs time and attention. If you ask, your loved ones will let you know how you’re performing outside of work. That can give you the impetus you need to begin shifting out of start-up mode and investing more in your personal life.
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