Can entrepreneurs have a good work life balance?

Starting up a business inevitably means a lot of hard work. That’s not to say a typical day job does not, but when you own your business the to-do list can feel overwhelming as you quest to accomplish early targets vital to making the venture both viable in the short term and a long term success. Budgets are also tight and you may not have the money to take on a host of staff to help pick up the slack.

You didn’t plan to at the outset but before you know it you’re doing all the odd jobs yourself. A customer asks for minor changes which were not part of the contract but as a gesture of good will you try to accommodate them. You’re answering the phone as soon as it rings in an effort to make sure you don’t miss anything. Or you’re simply feeling everything needs that final touch by you.

Maintaining a healthy work life balance at the same time can therefore seem like no more than a pipe dream as the long days pile up and the weekends end up being more days of work rather than a break.

But running on empty, dashing from one apparent emergency to the next, clearly isn’t sustainable. So how do you strike that work life balance when times are so demanding of you in those early stages?

Here are some thoughts to help make things that bit more sustainable, and most importantly enjoyable. Because after all your start up business was meant to be just that!

Work life balance tips to give a thought to

  1. Delegate, delegate, delegate – Learn the art of delegation if you’ve got team members to help you. Identify the strengths in your team and let them take care of the things they are best suited to. It involves trust but there’s no reason to think why it should be you doing it all yourself. Your team want the business to be a success too so make sure your employees feel like business owners and empower them to get on with what you hired them to do.
  2. Define your boundaries – Define physical boundaries between home and work and stick to them. It will give you the freedom to enjoy your personal space without bringing your start up home with you.
  3. Outsourcing – It may seem counter intuitive to think of outsourcing when you’ve just set up your own business to deliver on your idea and cashflow is tight. But time is also money and outsourcing is what some successful entrepreneurs do to save time and double the output of their efforts. What’s wrong with outsourcing a task or a project if it’s not one of your strengths or simply doesn’t interest you? Your energy when you set up a business is going to be critical to its success so there’s no point in wasting it on something that you don’t want to do. If it is feasible financially, outsourcing a task to keep control of your working hours and your energy levels high, is a potential way to maintain some balance.
  4. Under promise, but over deliver – Do not overpromise to clients. Let them know exactly what your routine work times are. If you need time to do the school run every day for example, don’t give the impression that you are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. It won’t work, will simply cause you stress and most likely irritate those critical early customers.
  5. Set achievable goals – recognising what you’ve done and achieved, however small, is as important as knowing what you’ve still got to do to build your business. Set yourself bite sized goals along the way to delivering the grand plan, stick to delivering them and celebrate their achievement.  They’ll re-stock the energy levels and keep you motivated.

A perfect work life balance can be a myth as people’s priorities both at home and in the office inevitably keep changing. Given the fast paced nature of entrepreneurship that can seem even more so. However by practicing and completing some of these bits of advice you can keep things on an even keel and maintain those critical energy levels needed to make your start up business a success.

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