There are many challenges in starting your own business. While some of these are related to finding your niche in the marketplace and attracting your customers, others hit closer to home and relate to the practices and habits you form, right from day one. Of all of the bad habits new business owners get into, forgetting about work-life balance is one of the most common, and one of the most important to avoid.
Don’t start what you aren’t prepared to continue
Many people believe that starting a business requires hard work and a lot of time. While that’s true, the habits you start today can be hard to break once your business becomes more successful. In considering how much time you have to devote to your business, don’t start anything – working evenings or weekends included – that you aren’t prepared to continue long term. Establish what you’re willing and not willing to compromise on right from the start, and set a hard line where work starts and finishes. Once you and your customers get used to a certain level of access and availability, it can be hard to scale back. If you establish healthy work habits from the get go, you will thank yourself in the years to come.
When you’re setting your schedule or availability, be sure to factor in family time, “you time” that doesn’t involve business, and flexibility for the unexpected. Set clear and defined priorities so when choices need to be made, the decision is easier. Family and friends will also appreciate that you have set time aside for them, and will be more understanding and tolerant of your hectic schedule. Work-life balance is about exactly that – setting your personal priorities and sticking to them, while you set and achieve your business goals.
The activities, hobbies, and side projects that you were able to accomplish before you started a business will be a lot less doable when you’re running a one-person show. You’ve added a massive load to your plate and getting help along the way can be a huge benefit in many ways. Identify any tasks around the home your family can help with, take your friend up on an offer of help, or simply understand that you may need to say no. Outsourcing tasks that are time consuming and can be secured affordably can also be a way to lighten your personal load and help your focus. Sites like Upwork or TaskRabbit are great for offloading the tasks that take up the most time, such as market research or graphic design work. Establishing balance across work and life means allocating time for both, ensuring that the responsibilities of one doesn’t completely overshadow those of the other.
Use technology when you can
Technology is changing and evolving quickly – driven by human need and often, the demand for work-life balance. Identify the biggest time wasters in your workday and chance are, there is a device, app, or gadget that can help. At Invoice2go, we’re passionate about technology’s ability to make your work life easier. That’s why we’re set on perfecting how you send invoices, and most importantly, how you get paid. Instead of spending hours at night catching up on paperwork, you can get your invoicing, quotes and other paper burdens done as you move about your day’s business, freeing up more time for the life portion of your work-life equation.
Give yourself a day off
Even the boss deserves – and often needs – a day off. Whatever schedule you’ve set for yourself, whatever you decided your availability will be, give yourself the occasional planned, or unplanned, day off. Take a holiday, show someone in your life how important they are to you by surprising them with some quality time, or just refresh and renew your energy and commitment to your business and your life with some downtime. You, your business, and those around you will benefit from the more energized, more focused you.
Work-life balance is critical – to your health and wellbeing, to the relationships you maintain, and to the success of your business. Keep in mind that habits start with actions you can’t break away from. Make sure from day one that your business habits support a healthy work-life balance for the long term.