Have you ever asked yourself if work-life balance is possible as an entrepreneur or small business owner? I have in my early days as an auto shop owner. Since 1999, my husband and I were consumed with running all the areas of our business, while juggling our personal and family life.
There were times that work, and life felt off balance. Not being present in the moment was a sign for me. I was concerned about family and friends while putting in long hours at work and thinking about work challenges when with family and friends.
As a speaker or when coaching clients many have shared “Maryann, I didn’t think it would be so difficult to juggle it all.” In fact, most tell me, they thought being a business owner would be easier.
That’s because you saw business ownership from your current lens at that time. Most people focus on the money coming in and don’t understand the true business costs (the money going out) and the amount of time it takes to start, build, and grow a business. It’s not typically taught during the K-12 years.
When starting out, most small business owners don’t have the cash reserves of big business. As a result, you give up your time in the name of your dream. Spinning your wheels working long hours and calling it dedication. Over time these habits don’t serve you, your family, your team, or your business. As a result, many wonder why they aren’t as profitable as they thought they would be. Business is no longer enjoyable nor sustainable for an owner who is burning themselves out.
Business Ownership at What Cost?
Not having the time, you once did for family, friends, and self-care can leave you running on empty. Relationships and health can suffer. Friends and family may not understand why you’re working so hard. Work-Life Balance can seem like a myth because just when you seem to be making progress in one area another challenge will burst the work-life balance bubble.
The reality is people are built for connection. Here are some signs of being out of balance and/or burning yourself out.
- Sleeping Issues
- Lack of communication
- Loss of interest in activities you once enjoyed
- Unhealthy eating or drinking
A New Perspective
What if you looked at Work-Life Balance as a way align your personal and professional life? The way work-life balance looks for you will be different for me. This is not about comparing yourself to others. It’s about customizing and courage.
- Customizing work-life balance for you and your reality – Work-life balance will look different at different stages of business and life. From when you are new in business and have lots of energy to when you have increased personal and family responsibilities. Life demands may lesson or increase from time to time.
- Courage to do things differently. Be open to new ideas and suggestions. – We’ve all heard the phrase, (work on your business instead of in your business). It’s the courageous part of work-life balance, but one of the most difficult shifts to make on your own when your day is controlling you. Many people have told me that getting help sooner would have saved them years of frustration.
The need for work-life balance becomes apparent when business owners say they’re very busy yet not achieving the results they want. Image what life would be like being in control of your day. The good news is, it’s not too late. You can start today.
Three Steps of Work-Life Balance:
- Define what work-life balance looks like for you. – Allow yourself to dream
- Set realistic expectations – For yourself and others. Boundaries are good.
- Achieve goals – Assess your available resources of Time, Money, People and Skills.
Work-Life balance is not about perfection or juggling it all to keep up appearances.
- It’s being flexible and adaptable when challenges happen.
- It’s having a support system.
- It’s trusting and enjoying the journey
- It’s having no regrets, by using lessons learned to fuel us to be our best.
We all have been going through challenges. Work-Life balance is about legacy. Your legacy is your choice. Choose wisely my friends.
Maryann Croce is a business owner since 1999. She is 90 Day Year TM certified and has been speaking and coaching small business owners since 2017. If you have work-life balance questions or would like to chat with Maryann visit Small Biz Vantage to schedule a courtesy call.