Entrepreneurs: how to balance work and play

Entrepreneurs: how to balance work and play

Steps to follow to manage work-life balance 

There are lots of positives when starting your own business. Being an entrepreneur affords an opportunity to see your ideas become reality and grow more than you thought possible. One of the biggest challenges on this journey, are the personal sacrifices you have to make in order for your start-up to succeed. According to a survey we conducted on over 600 South African entrepreneurs, most small business owners found that the biggest sacrifices they had to make giving up a steady income and spending less time with their families. They also found that they had to downscale their lifestyles, focus less on personal relationships and deal with a lot of stress. We’ve put together some tips and insights to help you find a healthy balance between work and personal time on your journey to 1001 days. 

Tip 1: Be realistic about your finances

In our survey we found that 55.4% of men and 44.2% of women had to downscale their lifestyles. Remember that you won’t necessarily be getting a salary 12 times a year. Advice from entrepreneurs, who have been in this position, is to realise this from the outset and account for the fact that initially you may need to live below your means. 

Tip 2: Set aside time for family and friends

It’s normal to want to make sacrifices for your business and spend 24-7 working to make your goals a reality, but this will only lead to increased stress, depression and burnout. Of our survey respondents, 64% said that they had to give up precious time with their family and friends, due to work responsibilities. The biggest skill you need to learn is time management. Plan your week and set aside allocated family/personal time. 

Tip 3: Deal with stress

During the first 6 months of business, entrepreneurs in our survey generally felt a mixture of confidence (13%) and excitement (53%). From 6 months to a year, extreme stress (22%) kicked in as they faced different challenges, even though their confidence grew (19.5%). In order to make it to 1001 days, it’s important to counter stress. Here are some practical ways to keep the balance:

  • Exercise, take part in sport or even meditate
  • Develop a hobby
  • Make time to sleep, relax and read
  • Take a holiday from time to time
  • Plan social activities with friends

Tip 4: Hone your skills

Remember that starting your own business is a constant process of learning and growth. Challenge yourself to focus on developing both technical and emotional skills in order to find a balance between personal happiness and professional success:

  • Focus on leadership
  • Take responsibility
  • Work at your people skills
  • Learn how to negotiate
  • Work at being tolerant
  • Learn to be resilient
  • Learn how to relate to different people
  • Be empathetic
  • Focus on strategic management 

For more advice on running your own start-up, watch our 1001 Days web series featuring two South African entrepreneurs steadily making their way to the 1001-day mark in business. Hear how they have overcome various challenges related to entrepreneurship, and see what experience you can gain from their advice.

Visit our business advice page for more useful tips.

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