How to Keep Small Business Ownership From Taking Over Your Life

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Late night work

Don’t Be a Slave to Your Business

The dream of owning a business is something few people ever achieve. Once that dream is realized, then the real challenge begins. Owning a small business means that the success or failure of that business falls solely on your shoulders. There is a widespread belief that when you own a small business, you are shackled to that business, and you must live, eat, breathe and think about that business 24 hours a day, seven days a week. But that kind of devotion can also backfire, because it provides excuses for inefficiency since you’ll be at the business all day. It can also take a huge toll on relationships, family bonds, marriages and cause a small business owner to miss out on all of the important milestones in their children’s lives. A successful small business owner must learn how to keep that business from taking over their life.

Create a Work Schedule

If you were working for someone else, you’d be expected to adhere to their work schedule. As a small business owner, once you establish a work schedule, you will know that you must accomplish whatever you have to do on any given day during those hours. It is a good way to force yourself to be more disciplined.

Learn to Prioritize

Everyone has to set priorities in real life, so small business owners can do the same thing. It doesn’t matter what type of small business it is. Setting priorities takes any guess work out of trying to figure out what to do next. It means that you will complete tasks in order of what is most important.

Keep Business and Personal Phones Separate

If you use a cell phone, make sure that you don’t use the same cell phone for business as you do for your personal life. Otherwise, you’ll have people calling your personal cell phone at all hours of the day or night, and you will become a prisoner of your cell phone. Once you do get a separate business cell phone — should that be necessary, you won’t have to give people you do business with your home or personal cell phone number. Turn your business cell phone on when you are working, but be sure to turn it off when you’re not working. If your business is located someplace outside of your home, consider leaving the phone there. If you have a land line, make sure it isn’t published or listed with directory assistance. That way, people can’t find your home phone number and call you outside of work.

Create or Establish a Dedicated Workspace

Many small business owners work out of their homes. The advantage of this when first getting started is that you won’t have to pay rent for the business space. As convenient as working from home is, it can also be a disadvantage when other people or things around the house become distractions. As long as there is a designated workspace, you can go off to that space, just as you would go off to work at a traditional workplace, and then leave at the end of the day.

Schedule Family Time

A small business requires tremendous dedication and hard work. That should never be an excuse for neglecting family. By scheduling family time, you remind yourself that this is as important an obligation as anything else. It also assures your family that there will always be a designated time for all of your favorite family activities.

No business can function with only one employee. Remember that and be willing to hire other employees. Although the addition of an employee may mean more money that you have to shell out, it may free up time for you and allow you to get some mental free time as well as actual free time. By accepting the fact that you need other workers, you alleviate some of the burden and anxiety that can quickly lead to burn out. By remembering that you need to take care of yourself and spend time with loved ones, you will be a more balanced, effective and successful small business owner, and this will help your business grow and thrive.