WORK-LIFE BALANCE FOR SMALL BUSINESS OWNERS
Updated: Jul 24
Work-Life Balance is one of those phrases we hear all the time in the 21st century. Is it really cliché? Or has it come about because you're working harder now? I believe the latter.... having been working since the 1980s I feel that the pressure has definitely turned up in the 21st century.
There are many who believe that, in order to be successful in starting up or running a business, work-life balance is unimportant. But the truth is, the harder you work, the more important it is to find balance. It's important for you to be the best possible version of yourself to succeed in your business. If you're life's all over the place and in chaos, how can you possibly be the most effective in your business? Running here, there and everywhere, not knowing where the day begins or where it ends.
The truth is, when you start up in a business or if you're running a small business, yes you should be busy. Very busy. It's what you signed up for. BUT..... there must still be balance. For if you're not enjoying your life outside your business.......what are you working so hard for?
Here are my top 10 tips to help you achieve work-life balance
To help you calm it down and work smarter, because I know from experience, there's so much to get done, you possibly can't afford to take on helping hands so you go at everything with gusto! Am I right?
When it comes to starting up in business, there's marketing, there's branding, there's social media, there's accounting, there's COMPLETE OVERWHELM! It doesn't have to be that way. Not everything can be done at once, and that's the truth. You don't need to be doing everything all at once; this is what keeps you working elongated hours and losing sleep,and stressing while you're with your family, or not engaging with your friends.
Grab some post-its and on each of them write down a single thing that you need to give attention to. In no particular order - and stick them up everywhere so that you can just look at them. When you've done that (one for social media, one for website, one for advertising, one for branding, etc etc). Now shuffle them into an order of priority. For example you might hold having a logo and branding more important than getting out there on social media. If that's the case, be free to attend to one through to completion before you tackle the other. Set yourself realistic goals to achieve each of these tasks at different times. Spending 16 hours straight each day tackling everything at once may actually prove counter-productive, and you will have had no downtime, and it'll be stressful.
Look at the things that only you can do, eg., if you're a photographer give prioritisation to your portfolio, your equipment, etc. If you're rushing into everything and you get a potential client and they want to see your work....that's a challenge. Or if you're not equipped to do a job, you don't want to let that client down. So ensure the thing that only you can do, the core of your business, is taken care of and given priority.
If you're working from home, try your best to separate your work space from your living space. It's not always easy, but do try your best. So when you finish work, you can walk away from it and have downtime with family, friends or do something else non-work related. When you do this, it creates a great space psychologically and emotionally to take on your business tasks. You'll approach with a more peaceful and happier mind and achieve more, than trying to approach with a chaotic mind.
Try not to do it all alone. If you have a life, I'll assume you have friends and/or family. Look to them and look for support. You never know, you probably have a friend who has a friend who designs websites, or is a social media boffin. Snuggle into these people for help and support. It's okay for you not to be perfect, it's okay for you not to know everything and it's okay for you to ask for help - this shows strength believe it or not. And what it also does is bring your authentic life into your business. Remember you have one life, and that one life will extend into many different things, including your business.
When setting your goals, include life goals too. If your goals are only about your business, you'll certainly head towards imbalance. So include things that are important to you when you scribble on those post-it notes. As well as marketing, website, social media............also include eat out once a week, do the school pick-up twice a week...........or whatever it is that might be important to you. So that your life becomes a great big ball of varied pleasure, rather than a chaotic merry-go-round of overwhelm and stress for 16 hours a day.
Don't be afraid to say "no". That's a hard one! How can you possibly say "no" to work when you do actually need to earn an income? For example, you're setting yourself up as a family portrait or wedding photographer, or something quite specific. Then a friend of a friend of a friend hears that you take photos, so they want you to take photos of their product. Never underestimate the power of referrals! So people get to hear about and you're going out and taking photos of any and everything. Then before you know it, you're doing lots of small pieces of work, (not what you set out to do) which become very time consuming and now.........you don't have the time to do the thing you set out to do; and you don't have the time to work ON your business to achieve the work you set out to do. Where will you grab the time from? It'll have to come from your downtime, from your family time, from your fun time. I've had first hand experience of this. I took on everything, and then I didn't have the time to properly apply to my business to get the business I wanted. So I took a leap of faith............thank goodness! Feeling free to say "thank you but no thank you" is oh so empowering. It's important that you stay true to yourself in your life and thus your business.
Never ever ever ever abandon your relationships!
Failure? It's not an evil word. We're taught that failure means doom, gloom and the end. No not at all. If you set out to drive an area of your business and it doesn't quite work out the way you thought, embrace that and figure out what you've learned from that. If you can accept that failure is not the end, you won't be so freaked out by it. You won't spend sleepless nights over it. You won't turn away from your relationships. You won't stop having fun. Knowing that failure is part of the learning process, you'll be able to roll with the punches and enjoy the ride. Whether or not you enjoyed your school days or your lessons, by our very nature we love to learn. Humans like to learn new things. So, embracing failure as part of the learning process can be a useful cog in your wheel of success, right?
Your 'Life Wheel'! This is a great way to go towards life, and thus business, success. Assess and embrace this whole journey holistically. Look at your whole life and, piece by piece, look to get into a great mindset as best you can.
A 'Life Wheel' is a very powerful tool to get you mindful and conscious of all aspects of your life, so that you can work on each of them to help you get into a great head space.
So go ahead and download a printable 'Wheel of Life' here and enjoy balancing out your life. Remember, the most important asset in your business is your life!