Starting a business and keeping it running can be an all-consuming commitment. You have to organize business goals, strategize how to meet those goals, and execute the achievement of those goals.
Not only do you have to make the abstract concrete, you also have to take care of the necessities like buying the right business insurance, making sure the copy machine has paper, and meeting payroll for your employees.
Plus if you have a family that loves and needs you, then you may feel like there’s not enough of you to go around.
You can have it all–a successful business and a happy family–but it will take intentional commitment to each to succeed. You can’t abandon your family to run your business and expect them to be okay with that, and you can’t expect your business to grow if you don’t invest your time into it.
The steps below will help you find a balance between work and family obligations.
#1 – Set Your Priorities and Stick with Them
Your family should be your number one priority. You could run the most successful business, but if your family life is in shambles, you won’t be happy and your success won’t be satisfying.
Let your family know they’re number one through your actions.
Building a business takes immense energy and time investment. Your family will be able to deal with that more easily if you talk about it. Tell them how many hours you’re going to put in at work and when you’ll be home. Then stick to that. If you said you would put in a 12-hour day and be home by 7:00 pm, be home by 7:00 pm.
The hours you commit to working may be long, but if your family expects that, they can plan around it.
#2 – Make a List of Your Non-Negotiables and Commit to Them
Some of your non-negotiable commitments should be to your business and some should be to your family. Make a list of what you won’t budge on, and use it to help you make the right decision when you feel torn.
Are you committed to attending your son’s baseball games? Do you need to guarantee you will have the next day’s work tasks delegated each night?
Take some time to write down the most important commitments you have, and then balance them. If you have too many commitments, cut the ones that aren’t priorities.
#3 – Leave Work at Work and Don’t Bring It Home
When you’re with your family, be all present. Employees and even some customers will need to talk to you on the weekends and after hours about work-related things, and sometimes it’s important.
So, how do you balance being there for your business and being there for your family?
When you start a business, you may need to bring work home. But keep work time separate from family time. Depending on the nature of your business and how quickly it’s necessary to respond to questions, set periods in which you will respond.
For example, let your employees know, “I will respond to messages and questions at 9:00 pm each weekday evening and at 12:00 pm and 5:00 pm on the weekends.”
If your work requires more prompt responses, tell your employees that you will answer questions and calls on the hour, but you will leave your phone and computer to take messages until the next hour.
Don’t let work interrupt conversations and activities with your family outside of those set periods of time.
#4 – Always Treat Others with Respect and Kindness
From your family to your employees, everyone you interact with is a person, first. When you have a lot to deal with and you’re worried about finances and making your family happy while being successful at your business, stress can absolutely consume you.
Instead of seeing individuals, you may start to see struggles and roadblocks. Take the time to slow down and speak with respect and understanding to those who are looking to you for guidance. Connect with your customers, show genuine interest in your employees, and embrace your family.
Your customers, employees, and family will all benefit when you treat them as individuals, and when those around you are happy and satisfied, your quality of life will naturally improve as a result.
#5 – Set Boundaries at Work to Prevent Stress
When I started a music instruction business, I set a strict limit on how many students I would take. Since I had my non-negotiables set, I knew that I would have to compromise on those if I took on too much work. When I reached my limit, I stopped taking new students.
When you try hard to grow your business and it finally starts succeeding, it can be hard to make the choice to stop the growth. But to succeed in your family life, you can’t stretch yourself too thin.
If your business plan includes employees, it will be possible to continue growing your company. Even if you’ve reached your personal limit, you can still assign tasks to others.
The important thing is to know how much you can do well, and then either stop taking on new tasks or delegate responsibilities to others.
#6 – Take a Vacation to Get Some Rest and Relaxation
Your mental health requires that you take breaks. Step away from work periodically, and get away with your family for a week. You’ll make memories that will help your relationships grow stronger, and you might even find a new purpose and meaning in life along the way.
Coming back to your work refreshed and with a fresh outlook will also help you to achieve your business goals with renewed vigor.
You Can Have It All
As I said before, having it all doesn’t just happen on its own. It takes organization, intention, and commitment.
Defining what is important to you is your first step toward success in work and family. Take a deep breath when worries start to pile up, and focus on doing the next thing you need to do on your path to your goals.
Melanie Musson is a writer for InsuranceProviders.com. She balances her music instruction business with being a freelance writer, raising her four children, and loving her husband.