Your personal and your professional life have a symbiotic relationship, so growing your family and business is a delicate balancing act. Everyone’s circumstances are different; for some, they may lack the energy to play with the kids after a full day at the office or serving customers. Equally, if your significant other is also your business partner, the demands of running a company and raising family become deeply intertwined. Or, you might be a stay-at-home parent that’s trying to run a freelance venture without getting distracted by the kids every five seconds. Whatever the situation, managing the two is no mean feat.
Moreover, growing a successful business is intrinsic to your family’s quality of life – which makes balancing family and work one of the biggest challenges facing small business owners. However, this isn’t to say it’s all an uphill struggle – there are definitely huge upsides to entrepreneurship and parenthood. After all, being your own boss means that you have the power to manage your own schedule, so you can make time for your kids when you need it. What’s more, seeing your business create a better life for those you love is an incredible feeling.
So, although there’s likely to be bumps in the road when it comes to balancing business and family life, there’s ways you can make it work. Below are three tips for growing your business and family, so you can ensure you’re making enough time for both.
1. Establish boundaries between business and family
Finding the balance between family and business is all about boundaries. Primarily, your family needs to understand what your work demands. Often, people can deal with long hours, travel, or emotional difficulty when you explain why it’s happening and why it’s necessary. From here, it’s important to draw a clear line between when work finishes and home life begins. This will help you to avoid stress or overtime bleeding into precious family time. Sometimes overlaps can’t be helped, but establishing boundaries is the first step to managing this eventuality.
Furthermore, you need to make sure you apply similar rules to your relationship with your employees and colleagues. This is especially the case if these workmates are also members of your family – you need to agree to separate your professional and domestic relationships. For instance, a good strategy is make work communications off limits whilst you’re at home and your kids are awake. Make sure your team understands that while you’re at home and spending time with your children, you’re not getting back to emails.
2. Date night is important, but self care is too
If you’re self employed, you’re likely to work far longer hours than most people. For example, many small business owners work over 51 hours a week. When compared to the working week of the average American, that’s a lot of overtime. Moreover, self employed people are more likely to work on weekends, which can certainly eat into precious time with your children or partner. Although these long hours are important to meeting your goals and providing for your family, it can certainly begin to feel like it’s taking over.
With so many extra demands on your time, scheduling is pretty key to striking a balance between family and business. A time-honored strategy is to be strict with your date nights; once or twice a week, make sure you and your partner take some time out for each other. Go to the movies, eat at your favorite restaurants, relax, and if you run a family owned and operated business, do not talk shop! On top of that, make sure you schedule in some focussed time for the kids as well. Although your long hours might be what’s financing their college degree, it’s important to show your love in quality time as well as funds.
Lastly, it’s crucial to make time for yourself. Self-care is vitally important if you’re working long hours, so schedule in something that helps you switch off. Working out is a great way to refresh, as often, focussing on the body is a good way to clear the mind. However, if you’re feeling stressed and tired, doing something like booking in for a massage is a simple way to take some time for you.
3. Take vacations
It may seem obvious, but it’s amazing how many of the USA’s small business owners skimp on vacation time. According to a recent study, 70% of entrepreneurs only plan to take three days off during the festive season and a further 49% work on Thanksgiving. When compared to the vacationing habits of other Americans, this is seriously imbalanced – so no wonder so many small business owners feel stressed. Taking vacations is not only central to staying sane, it also buys you quality time with your family. This isn’t to say that every vacation has to be child-centric – sometimes, the answer might be leaving them with the grandparents and taking a romantic break with your partner. Whatever the scenario, just make sure you’re affording yourself the time off other workers are entitled to – it’ll make you more effective in the long run.
Your business is your baby – but so are your kids!
Most entrepreneurs pour a lot of their time and energy into their business. After all, some say that owning your own business is like a second family. However, it’s imperative that you spend quality time with your actual family – no exceptions. Family and work have a deeply co-dependent relationship, so distributing your time effectively is key to the health of both. As such, business growth and development is fundamentally linked to personal and emotional well-being. Therefore, if you set clear boundaries between family and business, you can enable both to flourish.