Work / Life Balance – What will it be like starting my own business?
Setting up your own business can be very rewarding, but there are pressures involved.
One of the main reasons why people start their own business, or even consider it in the first place, is to obtain a better work / life balance that they desire. Perhaps that less commuting, having control, less stress, seeing more of the family spending time doing your hobbies.
However, in the early days, you should expect that that this is unlikely to be achieved without some very good planning and laser focus.
As you strive to structure the business to provide the stable foundations for your future success, it is likely that you will work longer hours than perhaps you are working now. This is because there is lots to do or business owners find lots to do.
Roles and responsibility
If you start the business alone, you are usually wearing all the business hats at some point. One minute you are the business leader, then the salesperson, then the operations manager, then the finance maanger and possibly the HR manager. So it is usual, even with the prioritisation of responsibilities, to be working longer hours and most days of the week, just to fit it all in during the initial start up period. However for most, it feels ok, as you know you are building something for the future gain and in the belief that you are now doing what you want to be doing.
Yes, short term pain for long term gain, but you have to be aware of the influencing factors and reasons you may be working the hours or you will look back on your first anniversary, still working those long days, as it is far too easy to do so, as there is always something to do.
The important consideration here is to be aware of this fact, so to avoid frustration, but more critically you know what you have to do to build the business that is less reliant on you.
One way is recruitiing or outsourcing, but what? Know when you are the finance manager or the sales person etc and consider what you are good at, what you enjoy and what adds the most value in the initial years. This will help you understand what you can later delegate to an employee or even outsource to a business service provider.
Another recommendation is to hold onto your ‘Reason Why’. Is that being achieved? If not, why not and what needs to change?
Be mindful of your time
It is often related to the better use of your time. As I mention, it is far too easy to find something to do, but is it the right thing? You will hear me reference to ‘High Pay Off Activities’, which are those activities you have to do withour distraction for the development of your business. These activities should be dominating your diary.
It is good to have the support of your family and friends. They may not have been through the process of starting a business, so ensure that those close to you are aware of the commitment needed to get the business started.
Very few businesses are overnight successes and will take time to build a business for the return you desire, time and or money. So be prepared for long hours with low reward. This together with responsibilities of running the business and making decisions may cause stress if not acknowledged, appreciated and then controlled.
Of course as an Entrepreneurial Business Owner at start up, the buck stops with you. The successes and failures will be from your decisions or perhaps the direction given to others. For some that is a great feeling, but for others, that is not and one that creates worry and procrastination that is taken in the home life.
You should also be prepared for the feeling of isolation. Some business owners struggle with this. In the past they have always worked in a team of people and now they are working alone, making decisions alone and not seeing people. That in itself is difficult, but avoid just going to meetings for the opportunity to meet someone or recruiting someone because you want someone with you. Use your time and energy to develop the business, with a plan that is most efficient for you and ensures you gain the work / life balance that you desire, as quickly as possible.
Lastly, understand what Work / Life Balance really means for you. For some it will be working between the school run and spending as much time as possible with the family, but for others it will be very different and in fact working for yourself may just be the Work / Life Balance you desire.
If you are starting your own business, then I wish you every success.
As a Mentor, I work with business owners to retain control, maximise their time and keep them accountable, whilst motivated, to do what needs to be done without distractions.
Click for more details about my mentoring support.