- by Don
The short answer, yes. It is possible to have work/life balance, even if you own your own business.
You may be afraid to become an entrepreneur or start a business because you are afraid it will consume your life. You've no doubt heard about, or known—or even already been—a business owner who is essentially married to the business. And that’s a scary thing.
Break up with your business - don't marry it!
If you’re married to your business, then there is no time for anything else. You may intend to attend that party with your spouse, or go see the kids’ sporting event, or attend their recitals… but at the last minute, some “emergency” always pops up with your business, and you end up canceling out on your family and missing out.
If you watch Shark Tank, you’ll frequently hear the Sharks (especially Robert and Mark) talk about how they expect their entrepreneurs to “hustle” or to always be available.
Is this really healthy or sustainable? No.
Does that contribute to healthy relationships? Absolutely not!
And does it help you feel like you have any kind of balance in your life? Again, no.
But don’t you have to do that to have a successful business? I’ll submit that the answer is also “no.”
Why you may be afraid that you’ll become married to your business, or that you’ll end up working all the time, if you do that, then your work stops being fun, and starts feeling like drudgery. And then you start feeling like the business owns you, instead of the other way around. And that defeats the whole purpose of creating your business in the first place!
The reality is that long hours can lead to lower productivity and overwhelm, especially if you don’t focus on your goals (see more in my video blog post on why businesses fail, a lot of which overlaps with today’s article). Several studies have shown that working excessive hours actually decreases productivity. In fact, according to studies reported by CNBC, productivity starts falling off at 50 hours a week, and drops sharply after 55 hours a week—so much so that working 70 hours a week is no more productive than working 55!
Now, I will admit that when you’re first starting out, your life may be temporarily out of balance, especially if you’re starting your business as a “side hustle” and working full time. But longer term, your business needs to run more on “autopilot.” After all, if the goal is for your business to provide the income you need in order to afford to RV full time, then you need time left over to enjoy RVing!
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The key is to structure your business so that it provides steady income, without fully consuming your life. So, how is this accomplished?
3 Elements to Steady Income From a Business:
Solve a BIG problem.
Stand out from the crowd.
Design your business to be scalable.
There are 3 elements to gaining steady income from a business:
Solve a BIG problem. The larger the problem you solve, the more your clients will happily pay you.
Stand out from the crowd. If you’re bland, boring, confusing, and sound like everyone else, there is no compelling reason to hire you, and you’ll end up competing on price—if you’re even considered at all. So you need to develop a strong personal brand identity and be able to clearly articulate what you do for your clients and how you do it.
Design your service to use scalable delivery. Being scalable means you have the ability to add additional clients without increasing the amount of work required from you.
You don't have to work yourself to the bone
The first two elements to gaining steady income from above are vitally important to having a successful business and steady cash flow. Once you have those two, it’s time to look at scaling. By scaling your business, you can either free up time to dedicate to your personal life (4 hour workweek, anyone?), or you can dedicate the newly available time into expanding the business. Which route you go is entirely dependent on your goals.
Owning your own business does not require you to work yourself to the bone. While all businesses need a little extra “oompf” to get going, once the foundation is set, your business can be scaled in ways that allow you to focus on what you truly desire.
When I work with clients, I help them design a program that uses a mix of strategies in each phase so that these elements become building blocks in high value programs.
Want to learn how you can scale your business? Let’s talk.
Find yourself needing assistance in starting your business? Schedule a call with me today!