Can you really have work / life balance as an entrepreneur?
I am typing this at 6AM in the morning as I have just fed the baby and am awake (whilst everyone else is fast asleep) and I thought, "I need to do some work, update my social media, do my blog etc and I don't need to leave the house until 7.30AM so I have plenty of time". I am a mummy of 2 girls, on maternity leave and an entrepreneur. I started my own business to give myself a better work life balance but after a mammoth week I am asking myself do I really have a better work / life balance?
Luckily the answer is a resounding yes. I took on too much this week as had a lot of new clients starting their coaching journey who I had introductory calls with as well as wrapping up with a couple of my clients I have had for a while. Two out of three of my "older" clients said they wanted to continue coaching indefinitely and signed up for a month by month deal which I wasn't expecting so this left me a bit time short. On top of that I spent a lot of time and energy putting together a confidence course and the new term started so there was dancing, swimming, singing and baby sensory to attend. Plus I spent the day in Hastings on Tuesday and am off on a professional development course today. It is no wonder I was worried about work / life balance.
What I have realised is as an entrepreneur you can spend your whole day working, I could be constantly doing marketing and developing my business. It is all about learning to say "no" and being very strict with your time. I have finally learnt to sync my google calendar to everything and I have started blocking out time for exercise, family, socialising and work. This means that on weekends I only work when the rest of the family are asleep - so early mornings and some in the evening. As I run two Facebook groups and a page I do check in to these during the day but try and keep my screen time to a minimum around the girls - they are the most important thing in my life not Facebook updates.
In terms of clients and coaching calls I am specific about my availability, I do work around clients (of course) but want to ensure that I am here for my kids at key times. I am lucky as I have my mum around two days a week which gives me flexibility to work on these days. I am also lucky that I have a kick ass business coach who makes me be very honest with myself about what I can achieve in the time I have allocated with myself.
The business coach I work with has been pushing me to get a virtual assistant for a while now and this week I finally made the decision to do it. I have always rationalised that outsourcing makes sense especially if you are time poor and am not the biggest fan of admin so I am hoping this will help me focus on the important things at work so I don't have to spend ages doing my accounts or my website (I need to get someone to do this as well but that is another story).
So, can we have a better work / life balance and be an entrepreneur - hell yeah! I wouldn't be encouraging so many of my clients to do so if we couldn't. The key is that you are in control of your work / life balance now and you need to set down how you want it to work. For me scheduling has really helped as it makes me look at my days and weeks and think about the key times I want to be spending time with my children, the activities that they want to do (or I want them to - lets be honest at 8 weeks and 2 years you don't have much choice), the family time I want, my own time (exercise, friends etc) and finally my work time. I have my goals for my business and I revisit these daily. If I can't achieve something within the time I have allocated it is liberating to walk away and come back to it.
This week has taught me not to take too much on and to remember why I set up my business in the first place. It is such an easy trap to fall into working all the hours to be a success but it won't give you what you truly want. I better go now as have to express, have a shower and then cuddle my girls before heading off to this one day professional development course. It is the first time I have left the baby so I am feeling pretty emotional about that too.