Article #69, May, 2008
Home-Based Business Work/Life Balance
'Work Life Balance' has been talked about for years, but it also applies to small ho'me-based business owners. The biggest difference is that when you are an employee working for a company that works toward work/life balance, your boss is (hopefully) looking out for you. When you work for yourself, you have to look out for yourself!
I have a built-in monitor - my children. They need to be picked up after school whether I have work to do or not, and I'm an only parent. They also need to eat - every day! Since I really enjoy spending time with them and understand the value of having dinner together, I don't work with clients nights or weekends.
What stops you at the end of the day? Do you have an 'end of the day'? You really need one! When you read that, if you answered in your head with, "Yes, but..." you might be working too much!
It isn't that simple; I know. If you work in an industry that requires you to work nights and/or weekends, like a wedding planner or a psychologist, it is difficult. Also, there is that period of time when your business really takes off, but you are not making quite enough profit to hire an assistant.
You need to maximize your in'come, so what do you do? The truth is, I have lost a couple of clients because I don't work nights. I also built my target market around my work hours. If I worked with corporate employees, I would need to work at least a couple of nights per week. For me, it was well worth it.
My clients also benefit. I accepted a couple of clients in the evenings, after my children went to sleep, when I first started my business. I was hungry! After working all day, taking care of my then 7- and 9-year-old daughters all evening, I was tired! My clients were not getting my best. Then I would be exhausted and energized at the same time, at bedtime, and more tired as the week progressed.
Everyone lost. My clients, my kids and I all got less than we deserved.
Does this sound familiar? How can you begin to set stronger boundaries so you are not working all the time? Do you need an additional day off during the week? Perhaps you can start by deciding not to work a specific evening every week, and go from there. If you are in real estate, perhaps you can take the first half of every Tuesday and Thursday off. Sleep in - get a mani-pedi - watch a movie.
It boils down to you setting your priorities, and it starts with a decision. You need to decide that having a life outside of work is important - that YOU are important. You are, you know. If you don't think so, ask around. Decide what is important to you and go after it - don't wait for permission. In fact, stop waiting in general. Go after what you want today - life is short.
By having time off of work, you are replenishing yourself so you will be happier at work! You will be healthier and have more energy. Your family, friends and clients will thank you!