I used to think work-life balance was impossible for entrepreneurs to attain. When I started my business, I worked all hours of the day and night, worried constantly about finances, stopped exercising and participating in hobbies that I loved, and became an exhausted, overworked, business owner. It wasn’t fun, nor was it sustainable.
After a few months of working like a maniac (with no work-life balance), I started experiencing negative health effects of non-stop stress. I lost weight, my hair started falling out, and even the simplest of activities – like fueling up my car or going to the grocery store – felt overwhelming. I knew that something about my work was going to having to change if I was going to be able to grow my one-woman show into a full-fledged business.
Managing a healthy work-life balance as an entrepreneur can be tough. It’s easy to find the boundaries between your personal life and your business becoming more and more skewed, especially as your company goes through periods of growth. Self-employment is one of those things that has a way to feeling like your to-do-list is never done – like there’s always something work-related you should be working on. Thing is, there’s only so many hours during the day, and we cannot do everything – something has to give.
If you’re a fellow entrepreneur seeking to improve work-life balance, I want you to know that it is attainable. While work-life balance isn’t a static thing – it’s always changing – you can maintain a healthy relationship with your work with a work-life balance strategy.
Here are three work-life balance tips for entrepreneurs:
Establish (and enforce!) business boundaries.
My first work-life balance action started with establishing boundaries between my personal life and my business. I started by creating “work rules” that outlined what I could and could not do when it came to working. These guidelines (big and small) helped me restore work-life balance to my hectic entrepreneur life.
Here are a few boundaries I implemented to improve work-life balance:
- Only checked email once a day and never on the weekends.
- Removed email and social media notifications from my phone.
- Set work hours and did not work on work stuff after 5 PM.
- I prioritized the setting of realistic timelines (ones with some wiggle room built in) so I wasn’t always operating down to the wire on work projects.
- Turned my business phone off at 5 PM each weekday and kept it off during the weekends.
- Did not talk shop with my significant other after hours.
I wrote my work rules out and posted them on the wall above my desk. Having that written reminder helped me be more conscious and turn these boundaries into habits that foster work-life balance. Without these work boundaries that helped separate out my work life from my personal life, I would get stuck on business mode 24/7. Having boundaries was a real game changer for my entrepreneurial journey. While the majority of them reduced my working hours, I actually became more productive – a work-life balance win-win!Establish (and enforce!) business boundaries to improve your work-life balance.CLICK TO TWEET
Find the right business tools.
I had very little real-world business experience when I started my company. I just knew I was passionate about my industry and wanted the freedom self-employment was reported to provide entrepreneurs, so I went for it. Initially, many aspects of running my business overwhelmed me. Bookkeeping, invoicing clients, training employees, and promoting our services left me feeling exhausted. I felt like I spent so much time doing boring administrative things that I never got to do any of the fun consulting work that I loved.
A fellow entrepreneur friend recommended Intuit QuickBooks as a business tool that could help me balance out my business responsibilities so that I would have more time to spend doing the things I loved to do, like client work, running, and volunteering with a nonprofit in my community. Having the right tools in place – like Intuit QuickBooks – helped me achieve work-life balance and drastically reduced the number of hours I was spending each week on admin work. Thanks to Intuit QuickBooks, I was able to save reclaim more than ten hours a week, which was life-changing!
Here are a few of the business-building things Intuit QuickBooks provides:
- A customized financial dashboard that helps entrepreneurs track their company’s growth, assess the company’s financial needs, and assist with strategy development.
- The ability to create and send professional-looking, online invoices to clients.
- Intuit QuickBooks’ Payroll feature allows for time tracking and other employee-focused features that can help entrepreneurs manage their team.
- The Sales Tax center takes all the guesswork (and legwork) out of taxation.
- Entrepreneurs can generate financial reports through Intuit QuickBooks which can be presented to investors, lenders, and partners.
My favorite thing about Intuit QuickBooks is how easy it is to use! When I hear the word “finance” I immediately think “complicated” – not so with Intuit QuickBooks. Their online resource is super easy to use and they offer a ton of tutorials that we help you get your company set-up in just a few clicks of a button.
Another cool thing about Intuit QuickBooks is its ability to grow with your company. When my business was really small (just me, myself, and I!) I started out using QuickBooks Freelancer, which provided my company everything it needed to build a secure financial foundation. As my business grew, and its management needs changed, I upgraded to QuickBooks online, which provides even more financial tools for my business!
Prioritize things outside of work.
Once I structured my work day and connected with the right business tools, I was able to start improving my overall life – not just my work life. My work-life balance journey had freed up more time for me to spend on things that made me happy and more healthy. I started to prioritize hobbies and wellness activities that helped me de-stress after work, make new friends, improve my health, and give back to my community.
I started taking horseback riding lessons and training for dressage competitions (something I used to love to do, but had quit when I started my business). I volunteered on Saturday mornings with a local nonprofit organization that was focused on STEM education for girls – a BIG passion of mine. I even picked up my old hobby of distance running and registered for a few community races that required regular training sessions. For the first time in my entrepreneurial career, I actually had the energy to do things outside of work.
All these non-work activities helped me find balance, provided creative inspiration, and introduced me to new friends. I’d always thought that to build a successful business you needed to spend as much time as possible working on your business; however, that ended up being a bad strategy that led to quick burnout. During my work-life balance journey, I learned that non-work activities aren’t a luxury – they are essential for business growth. Your business can only be as good as you are, and if you’re tired and stressed out all the time (like I was) that’s not good for your business.Prioritizing things outside of work can help you develop your career through creativity, inspiration, and networking! #worklifebalanceCLICK TO TWEET
Are you ready to improve work-life balance in your career?
Work-life balance is a daily practice. Even though I’ve been on this entrepreneurial journey for several years now, I still have to be intentional with my time and remind myself of the strategy that helps me stay balanced in my work and life. Establishing work boundaries, finding the right business tools (like Intuit QuickBooks), and investing in non-work activities help me from falling into the trap of working all the time. You can improve your work-life balance. Remember: you own your business – it shouldn’t own you!