How to Limit Your Small Business Sacrifices and Maintain a Healthy Work-Life Balance

How to Limit Your Small Business Sacrifices and Maintain a Healthy Work-Life Balance

It’s no surprise that small business owners make sacrifices. Choosing to follow your own path means you have to work twice as hard and there are plenty of things you have to give up on the way to success. If you’re lucky, these sacrifices pay off in the end with a thriving business, financial security and personal satisfaction. But if you’re not careful, these sacrifices can mean broken relationships, poor health and even financial ruin.

A recent survey by American Express OPEN Research demonstrates just how widespread sacrificing is in the small business world. The survey found that 89 percent of small business owners invest a significant amount of their personal time to grow their business, and 68 percent also invest a considerable amount of personal savings in the business. Sacrificing time and money is, therefore, the norm among small business owners – but it’s hard to tell how much sacrifice is helpful or when you’re doing more harm than good.

Common Small Business Sacrifices

Those who have come before us have warned that some sacrifices are inevitable if you want to grow a successful business. These include:

  • Income and Benefits – You probably won’t see much in returns during the first few years of running a new business, and even though you can make your own salary, it will take a few months of operations before there is enough revenue to pay yourself.
  • Stability – Starting your own business is a risky venture, with no guarantee that you will succeed. Many entrepreneurs leave stable, successful jobs to embark on the unpredictable path of starting a business.
  • Sleep – Sleep is important to your health and productivity, but for a small business owner it takes a backburner to late nights and early mornings. In some cases, even if you do get to bed early, worries and what-ifs will keep you up all night.
  • Downtime – With the business as a priority, your ‘off duty’ hours will be kept to a minimum. The time you used to spend going to the gym, socializing with friends and family, and just relaxing in front of the television will be severely limited.

Maintaining a Healthy Level of Sacrifice

Although some sacrifices are necessary, it can be easy to go too far, giving so much of yourself to the business that there is nothing left to give in other areas of your life. To avoid the trap, follow these tips for maintaining a healthy level of sacrifice.

  • Delegate – Don’t get caught thinking you can do it all yourself. You can move the business forward quicker if you have the right team of workers. These days you don’t even have to hire full- or part-time employees – you can rely on freelancers and independent contractors who have specialized skills to handle your business tasks.
  • Set Regular Hours – You’re working for yourself, but you have to set up some sort of schedule to put yourself into a productive routine. The hours may be long and the schedule may have to be adapted on some days, but you can regain sanity by setting your hours and doing your best to stick to them.
  • Schedule Family and Me Time – Just like you should schedule your work hours, you should also make a daily plan for family and me time. This scheduled downtime should be non-negotiable because it is vital to keeping your relationships healthy and avoiding burnout. Plan to eat dinner with your family and carve out some time for you to hit the gym or relax with a book.
  • Let Technology Help You – From keeping track of tasks and appointments to managing clients and finances, there are plenty of tech tools that will save you time and make you more productive. To get some ideas, check out our list of 50 Tech Tools for Small Business.

Sacrifice is a fact of life for all small business owners, but it’s also important to keep things in check so as not to neglect your relationships, mental and physical health. Try these tips for limiting your small business sacrifices and you can grow a successful small business while maintaining a healthy work-life balance.

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