As we step off joyfully into the promise of a New Year and new opportunities, many of us will start dreaming of becoming our own boss. According to a survey by the University of Phoenix, the entrepreneurial spirit is alive & well, with 50% of working Americans owning, or wanting to own, their own business. There are many reasons for this, and one of the big ones is the desire for autonomy... or at least, a bit more personal control over our schedules, finances, and projects.
As exciting as the prospect seems, many small business owners and entrepreneurs still find themselves working longer hours and burning the candle at both ends. Why? It depends on the business owner. Many feel the need to work long hours in order to cut costs and do as much as they can by themselves. Others have a hard time letting go of tasks and trusting others to help them. And many spend countless hours trying to learn how to master tasks they were never responsible for in their previous jobs.
All of these work hours, and the compounding stress, can take a toll on your personal life and health. But have no fear! There are several things you can do to maintain a healthy harmony between your business life and your personal life.
Step 1: stop trying to "balance" everything!
The concept of balance implies division... two parts counteracting eachother in order to keep equality... or to keep from falling! The act of balancing in itself is stressful! So let's knock that word out of the equation and see if we can find something a bit less overwhelming. If we look at the work-life continuum as an ecosystem, then instead of forcing balance, let's strive for harmony. Sometimes work will be at the forefront, and sometimes play. Sometimes it will be our families, and sometimes it will be our alone-time. All of these factors blend to make up our life. Let each one flow with the others, and don't judge yourself for letting one take center stage at anygiven time. Just work towards finding harmony with the other parts.
Step 2: delegate!You are not a machine... and you are not going to be able to do everything yourself!! Accept it! You are the leader of your business, and your role is to set the goals, excite your team to reach them, maintain the momentum of the business, and provide clear leadership. Delegate tasks that are not a productive use of your time, and mentor your team when they need guidance.
Step 3: know your strengths... AND your weaknesses
No one is an expert at everything. Surround yourself with a supportive network of mentors, advisors, consultants... anyone who can help you learn and grow in the areas where you need help. Hire employees who fit your company culture, live up to your ethics & customer service standards, and who have skills & expertise in areas that you don't. A wise leader surrounds herself with wise people!
Step 4: breathe!
I know it sounds silly... but trust me. You need to breathe. Not the shallow, survival mode breathing of a stressed out business owner. The deep, yoga breathing that happens when you step away and refresh yourself. At the end of the day, you need to decide to find harmony, and allow yourself to embrace it. It's ok to take a day off! It's ok to ask for help. It's ok to leave work and take a walk around the block to clear your mind and breath deeply. These are not signs of weakness!! They are signs of a leader who trusts herself, her team, and her path.
And finally, do as much research as you can on the type of business, and business sytem, that best fits your personality and skills. Some people flourish as the lone wolf, making up their own systems & processes as they go. Others find that they prefer to work within a more established framework, while still having control over their key business decisions. To learn a bit more about these two approaches, check out our previous post on deciding whether a franchise or an idependent business is right for you.
If you are interested in learning more about Little Nest Franchise opportunities in your area, click the link below to set up a time to chat with me. I'd love to meet you.