Is Work-Life Balance Really Possible as an Entrepreneur?Feb 17, 2023
When the topic of work-life balance comes up I often think to myself, gosh, from over 30 years of being in business is that possible? But it is!
This is such an important topic because it's something that we deal with day in and day out as entrepreneurs and small business owners. No matter what we do, we are always thinking about things that are happening at home while we're at work. And while we're at home, we're thinking and dealing with things that are happening at work all the time. So how do we deal with and overcome some of the roadblocks that come up?
Challenge 1: The long hours
As entrepreneurs we do have the ability to be flexible with our schedules but let's face it we often work very long hours, especially during peak holidays and weddings or event seasons. And it can be difficult to find time for other activities outside of work. When I look back, my life was so different from the moment that I bought a shop until the moment that I closed everything in 2020.
And my life forever changed because I was a social being, I was the one that was planning things, getting people together. And at the time I bought the shop I was single. So life was fine. And I had plenty of energy. And I was able to do things at super speed, be there for all the hours that the shop was open and when it came down to the wire to get something created and out the door or created and set up it was on me.
Challenge 2: The additional stress
Being in business is fast paced and high pressure with tight deadlines and high expectations from our clients. Boy, can that make your blood pressure rise, and we get stressed and we burn out often. Another one of the things I realised too is there's a lack of separation between our work life and our personal life. Because it all just kind of intertwines, right?
When you come home, can you really stop thinking about what's going on at work? Or if you get this text and all of a sudden you feel completely derailed because someone's texted you. So we have that feeling of guilt and shame and stress that can really kind of seep in when that happens.
Challenge 3: The physical demands
This is a challenge that we often don't think about until it's too late but boy have I felt that! From weak ankles to broken limbs, frozen shoulder to neck and low back issues. All of those things have come about from the years that I worked so hard in my business. And I'll be honest, I didn't really take good care of myself, the ultimate goal was to get things done. The ultimate thing was to make sure that everything I finished out was done for the client, because it was all about the client and sometimes I would put that above myself, which I'm not saying that is the way to go. There has to be a balance.
Challenge 4: Being able to delegate
You can also have challenges in being able to delegate tasks. That can be really difficult, right? You have to trust others to take care of your business. And when you don't, it can lead to overworking and really highlight that lack of work life balance.
I can remember hiring some of my first employees outside of my mom and realising that someone was going to start doing some of the daily design work that was going out of my retail shop and that was difficult for me to just give up. And I really had to ask myself, why am I making it so difficult? Does she design well? Yes. Does she understand and can she grasp what my brand style is that's going out the door? Yes.
In fact, trusting her led to a 15 year relationship where she was able to design for me on all of my daily work that went out of my shop. And it gave me the freedom to be able to concentrate on the wedding's that I was doing, and other aspects of the business.
So how do we take proactive steps to address each of these challenges? With proper planning and prioritisation, it is possible to maintain a more healthy balance.
1. Set clear boundaries and prioritise your self care.
Because no one else will do that for you. It's not going to just show up one day and be like, yes, you've taken great care of yourself. You get to say, Okay, what is my boundary around this? And am I going to open this up at night? Or when the day is over? Perhaps setting a boundary around even removing email from your phone so you're not tempted to check.
Now, that is a big step. I don't think I would do that yet. But I said yet, because who knows, I might get to that point. Think about the boundaries that you have and whether you have created any boundaries between work and personal life?
I know a lot of entrepreneurs have studios or work from home and that makes it even more difficult to be able to seperate work from home life. Sometimes it's a lot easier when you're going to a separate place. Because when you're at a different location, you can close that door, and then walk into a new door and focus on family time.
2. Decide if it's necessary right now
Whenever you feel overwhelmed ask yourself is everything that you're doing necessary. Is it necessary for you to have to make that decision right now? Or can it wait? What would change if you didn't deal with that right this moment?
Sometimes, we think that it's going gonna give us less stress because it's going to be off our minds but if you hadn't checked in the first place, would you still be feeling that way?
3. Delegate and outsource work
I know, some of you are wearing all the hats and doing everything yourself. You're like, okay, Christie, that's easy for you to say, you've had employees and everything else. Well, there was a time where I didn't, in fact my mom was one of my business partners and she helped me out a lot. But I pretty much ran my business for the first 10 years by myself.
So there are things that you can delegate, and there are things that you can outsource. If you don't have a team yet start with outsourcing for example your bookkeeping can be outsourced. There are people out there that will do a bookkeeping job for five hours a month - a great place for you to look at this is hiremymom.com, it's a resource site where you can advertise for jobs. There are a lot of stay at home moms who would love to have some kind of remote work that they could do on the side and they do a great job.
You can also outsource administrative work that you have to do. There's nothing more important than starting to look at the systems and procedures that you're doing on a day to day basis and start recording what you're doing and how you're doing it. Because when you do grow, and you add more people, one of the biggest things you have to do is figure out what am I going to give them to do? And do I have enough time to train them? And what if you didn't have enough time to train them? At least if you're building up this library of processes along the way then the training would be really close to being ready to go.
4. Saying no to work related requests
This is one that a lot of entrepreneurs struggle with and so I want you to say it with me? No. Say that word again? No, no, thank you, or someone calls and it's just like, I've been trying to get a hold of you, I think you would be the best person to be able to do this. And I'd love to have you help your help with this.
And then you realise, oh my gosh, this is on a weekend where I have all these other things going on all these other events? Can I add that to it? You don't want to say no to that person, because you're afraid that they're not going to call you back again.
But what if you did say no. Would your family appreciate it that you weren't going to be working those long hours? Would your team appreciate it that they're not getting tacked on for yet another job? Can you handle it? Will your body be happy that you're not going to overwork it again?
Start to think outside the box of all the ways that you can start to just give yourself a break and I want to encourage you to find some strategies that work for you. It's important that we take some time to think for ourselves, to do for ourselves, to feel like we are winning at this game of balance. And I believe it's possible. Sure I've had times where it didn't work but I always was able to get back up and find a different way and I want to challenge you to find a different way today.
If you're ready to take your business to the next level and boost your revenue, I'd love to help. That's why I've created my group coaching program "Propel" specifically designed to support creative entrepreneurs like you.
In Propel, you'll receive expert guidance and support from me, as well as a community of like-minded entrepreneurs who are all working towards their business goals. We'll cover topics like marketing, customer service, and business growth, and you'll have the opportunity to ask questions, share your successes, and get feedback from your peers.
If you're ready to take control of your business and reach your highest potential, I invite you to find out more about Propel and apply today. With my support and the support of our community, you'll have everything you need to grow your business, boost your revenue, and achieve your financial goals. So don't wait, take the next step and apply now!
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