photo: Andrew Neel
Entrepreneurship comes with its fair share of benefits, from having full control over business decisions to the ability to change the world through your innovative ideas. However, it is certainly not without challenges. One common challenge is achieving an effective balance between family and business. The work hours for an entrepreneur can seem never-ending, but there are some things we can do to cope. Here are 4 Expert Tips to Help You Balance Family and Business.
Attorney, entrepreneur, and author of the upcoming book, The Accidental Life, Peter J. Strauss admits, "Entrepreneurs really do have to walk a tightrope between their families and their businesses...Failure in one of those two aspects usually leads to failure in the other."
As a fellow entrepreneur, and mother of two, I totally get it. It seems like the most obvious thing to do is to make sure your business is thriving so that you can provide for your family. If your family has all of their material needs met, they should be happy right? However, the family needs your attention just as much, if not more, than the business itself does. So how do you make it work?
It can be difficult to prioritize and effectively manage time when juggling a business and a family. For the entrepreneurs who are working from home like myself, this can be even more difficult as there is no physical separation between the business and the family. Strauss understands this struggle and has offered the following tips for entrepreneurs who want to have success in both their business and their home lives:
- Set Boundaries. Especially if you run the business at home, it is important to set boundaries with your spouse or partner to make sure you are not always talking about business. When you are at work, be at work. And when you are at home, even if your business is in the garage, be at home. Have a separate phone for your business and don't take business calls when you are on family time unless it is an emergency.
(photo: Glennn Carstens-Peters)
- Prioritize Work Tasks. Determine what is the most difficult task and attack it first. That will help you get out of work on time and go home to your family. If you have a family event in the evening, it is much easier to leave a small task to the morning instead of a large, difficult task.
(photo: Clem Onojeghuo)
- Take Vacations (Even Small Ones) A vacation doesn't have to be two weeks. Take a day off and take the family on a picnic. It will not only be good for your relationship with your family, it will also be good for your business. You will come back refreshed and better able to tackle the challenges of your business.
(photo: Vadim Sherbakov)
- Don't Intrude On Your Family's Space If you run your business from your home, have a designated workspace. Don't use the family dining room table for your paperwork. Find someplace where you can focus on your business without family interruptions.
Strauss says entrepreneurs should not underestimate the importance of finding the right balance between business and family. "If they don't get it right," he says, "they risk losing everything."
Using Strauss' tips we will not only maintain a positive relationship with our family but will perform at optimal levels within our business as well. It is a win-win.
About Peter J. Strauss
Peter J. Strauss (www.peterjstrauss.com) is an attorney, entrepreneur, and author of several books, including the soon-to-be-released The Accidental Life. He is the founder and managing member of The Strauss Law Firm LLC, on Hilton Head Island, S.C, and also the founder and CEO of Hamilton Captive Management, LLC. He is a graduate of the New England School of Law and of Harvard Business School's Owner/President Management program. Strauss also holds an LL.M in estate planning from the University of Miami and speaks regularly at public seminars.