Family support is crucial to the success of any business endeavor, including a startup. Owning a business requires significant time and effort. So, being an entrepreneur can keep you away from home and sometimes on call 24/7. If your partner or spouse doesn’t support your work, you’ll experience tension both in your relationship and your business. So, how do you navigate the challenges to give your best at home and in the office? Try some of these tactics to balance work and family.
Seven Tips to Balance Work and Family
1. Create Boundaries
Starting your own business and running a company is an around-the-clock job. There are no holidays, vacation days, or anyone to take the workload if you are not there, especially in the beginning. This time commitment can create stress for your family and friends. They may not understand when you can’t spend as much time with them. To make the transition a bit easier, create boundaries between work and home. Take time when you turn off your phone and disconnect from work email. Your spouse will likely appreciate the effort and you will feel better about the work-life balance.
2. Learn to Delegate
A successful entrepreneur should learn to delegate—for your own well-being, and that of your family. Surround yourself with great people. You need to be able to delegate tasks to others who can handle them with the same care and attention that you would. Being the business owner may mean putting more time into it in the beginning and be on call, but giving others responsibilities and trusting that the work continues without you, will free up time to spend with family and eliminate some of the stress.
In every relationship in our lives—friendships, marriages and businesses—we need open, honest, and frequent communication. When planning a start-up, make sure that you involve your family and friends in the plans. If they know more about the idea and they understand it, they will be more willing to support you. Talk out the important issues like health insurance, work schedule and other important topics that may come up throughout the journey. Planning and thinking through all the possibilities is key to keeping your spouse and loved ones on board and supportive.
4. Keep Family and Others Involved
Howard Aldrich and Jennifer Clift researched the importance of family connections in business. They found that, “Families and businesses have often been treated as naturally separate institutions… we argue that they are inextricably intertwined.” Based on these observations, you should ask for help and take suggestions from family and spouses. You will win them over and show them that their involvement is important. Explore possibilities with them, bring issues to the table that could use another perspective, and show them that their input is crucial to your success. If you shut them out, they will tend to feel alienated and unsupportive. When asking for help, make sure to truly listen to their perspective. They may come up with valuable ideas.
5. Be Budget Conscious
Many spouses are apprehensive about an entrepreneurial plan because they worry about the financial burden on the family. Even though you may not want to share your entire budget plan with your family, make sure that you are open with your spouse and demonstrate how you will fund your project. You will reduce your spouse’s concerns about what resources are being used and how.
6. Share Progress and Successes
Talking about plans and making sure your spouse understands is one thing. Showing your family your success is even better. Share the bottom lines with them at the end of each month, along your next month’s forecast. Your progress will help keep them on board.
7. Let it Go
Finally, Adam Toren, award-winning author and co-founder of YoungEntrepreneur.com, advises, “Let it go.” If, after doing all that you can, your spouse or family member still doesn’t support your dreams, ask yourself whether it’s time to pursue a different dream. He suggests, “Listen to their advice, love them, and then do what works for you. [It’s] your money, your career, your decision.”
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