Work-Life Balance For Small Business Owners

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Everyone talks about the importance of work-life balance, but there’s no set consensus on what a healthy work-life balance looks like. For some people they prioritise self care with bubble baths and massages at the spa, but for others, they need a cold pint as they yell at footy on the television.

It’s important to realise that achieving work-life balance isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution, as every business owner has different wants and needs. Prioritising a healthy work-life balance has become even challenging with the prevailing ”'hustle culture” in the past few years. There’s a lot of toxicity and overworking practises when you start “hustling” 24/7, but when you learn to delegate, trust and empower your team, you can see real growth in your business (without you burning out).

Achieving a good work-life balance involves changing your habits as a business owner so that you can build a healthier and more productive daily routine.

Can small business owners have work-life balance?

Small business owners can definitely have a healthy work-life balance, it’s about having the right mindset and following through with the changes you want to make to improve your lifestyle.

When I started my previous business, Seight, I was young and naive, and I thought I knew it all. I thought I didn’t need help because I was succeeding by myself anyway. While it’s true that I’m good at some things, I was also inexperienced in other aspects of the business. In reality, I was doing a lot of things incorrectly and it was holding me back.

I have firsthand experience in what the hustle culture is like because I thought that hustling was the way to go. Hustling isn’t a sustainable mindset or motivation to have, it will just lead to stress and burnout. It led me to work harder instead of working smarter. By the time Seight was experiencing issues, I'd been sacrificing my happiness for so long that I lost sight of what really mattered. I became anxious and stressed, and my marriage broke down. My business goals were distorted and unrealistic, so I was left unmoored. I wanted to grow a business, but I hadn’t properly envisioned what that growth should be like.

My past experiences made me realise the importance of understanding the ultimate objective in building a small business. The sooner you understand your business vision, the easier it is to work smarter and identify how other people can help you in growing your small business.

Finding time for your small business or side hustle can be challenging if you want to maintain a good work-life balance, so it’s important to develop clear and realistic goals for yourself. This will enable you to work on tasks that actually contribute to your business growth and success, while ensuring that you’re not neglecting your personal needs and wants. 

How to create a good work-life balance

I’ve mentioned that work-life balance can look different for different people, but I’ve learnt three tips that can help you build your own routine so that you have a healthier personal and business lifestyle.

  1. Create and enforce personal boundaries

Once an entrepreneur starts building a small business, the typical 9-5 workday is out of the window, making it that much easier for lines between home and work to blur. This is understandable, you’ve put your heart and soul into making your business vision into a reality and you’re dedicated to seeing your business succeed.

Setting and maintaining personal boundaries will ensure that you take care of yourself and your team. Business owners with poor personal boundaries are often irritable, exhausted and indecisive. Bringing your work issues at home (or vice versa), further dissolves the lines and can create a disorganised and troubled work environment.

You can create good personal boundaries by:

  • Establishing your values
  • Being clear and transparent
  • Preparing for pushback
  1. Set aside time for yourself

As a business owner, it’s important to be a good team player, but you also need to make sure that you carve “alone” time for yourself to create good habits. This will enable you to recharge and take stock of how you’re doing in terms of health and happiness. Having a moment to reflect can also help you pinpoint the reasons for negative emotions you currently have (e.g. stress, anxiety or burnout), allowing you to find ways to address the root of those feelings. 

Having “me” time may seem selfish–especially when you’re growing a business and a team, but it can actually help you build a positive and more centred attitude so that you can be a better business leader. Learning to enjoy the quiet moments can help you discover new ideas, creative solutions or even existing answers that act as reminders (i.e why you built your small business in the first place).

Humans are social creatures, so it’s understandable if you’re unsure about how to enjoy your own company. You can start small, setting 15 to 30 minutes a day to take deep breaths, have a walk or even just meditate.

  1. Just say no

As a small business owner, it’s important to say no when you need to. Saying “no” is more than just delegating or declining tasks, it’s also a strategy that can help you build your business.

Once you hit your stride and your business starts experiencing a measure of success, you’ll find a number of opportunities falling on your lap. When this happens, you need to discern which ones align with your business goals and targeted growth, and which ones you need to say no to.

It can be tempting to accept every proposal that comes your way, especially when the incentives seem attractive, but you need to identify whether that potential partnership or contract will boost your business or just bring it down. This will also prevent you from overextending yourself from trying to accomplish all the commitments you made.

Work-life balance can be interpreted differently by each person, depending on their wants and needs. Overcoming bad work habits and developing a better mindset is a good place to start achieving a healthy work-life balance. It’s a great thing to be passionate about your business, so you need to make sure that you keep that fire going despite the toxic hustling culture that’s so prevalent today.
If you need guidance on how to achieve a great work-life balance while ensuring that your business continues to succeed, book a call at Evolve to Grow. We can help you build a more positive work routine that enrichers your personal and business life.

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