During the years between 1997 and 2015, the number of businesses owned by women grew by 74% (that was 1.5 times the national average). In fact, women are now running 30% of all businesses in the United States, which accounts for about 9.4 million companies, according to the recently published "2015 State of Women-Owned Businesses Report" commissioned by American Express Open.
But many of these entrepreneurial women are also mothers, wives and life partners! They have to find a balance between raising families, maintaining relationships and running their businesses. I struggled with this, myself, and it took me quite some time to be able to figure out how to achieve a proper work-life balance without letting my business fall apart.
Here are 6 tips that worked for me, and I am sure they will help other female entrepreneurs find their balance and lead a more complete life:
See Also: Is Work Life Balance Only For Men?
1. What is Your Idea of “Balance”?
First, you need to determine what your own, personal balance looks like. Which work-home ratio would suit you and your family best? What is “balanced” to you may not be right for somebody else. It’s a matter of individual preferences, but once you find what works for you, stick with it and keep it as your goal. The key is not to beat yourself up if you do not achieve the right balance from the get-go. It will take some time and adjustments, which brings me to my next point…
2. Tweak Your Balance on a Regular Basis
Don’t try to achieve perfection in either role. Instead, focus on getting the best work-life balance possible. There are certain situations where you will have to decide if your work or your family comes first. In these situations, it is important to remember that there is no such thing as a perfect life. But, as long as you keep the situation under control, you’ll be happy with the choices you make.
If your plan to achieve balance isn’t working, tweak it from time to time until you get it right (like A/B testing for your life). It means constant work, and even if you feel you’ve achieved balance, something will undoubtedly come along to disrupt it. Don’t stress about it. Deal with it, calmly, professionally – at home or at work – and you’ll get through it.
3. Use Technology
With the Internet, mobile communication apps, and social networking, it is so much easier to work wherever you want! So, if you have to stay home with a sick child, you can still be in contact with your workplace, customers or team. If you need to be on a business trip – even if it’s abroad – you can still be in constant contact with your family via Skype, WhatsApp, Viber, or other apps.
Reverse situations are also possible. If you’re on a family holiday, consider devoting a certain amount of time every day (say, between 6 and 8 in the morning...if you’re an early riser!) to work issues, and then put down your work for the day and enjoy your family holiday.
4. Plan Ahead
Schedule specific times of day for certain tasks to make the most of your time and have a clear separation between work time and family time. Of course, the level of success in doing this will depend on the type of business you are in and your family situation. But work hard at planning, and you’ll find it settles into a very workable groove.
5. Ask for Help
Don’t think that this means you are failing. Not at all. Many successful people have made it by asking people for their assistance and guidance. This may mean hiring help at home or outsourcing business projects instead of doing it all yourself. Build a professional network of other female entrepreneurs and business women in a similar situation to talk to and learn from. Set up a forum in your town or city, where you can meet on a regular basis, exchange ideas, problems and learn from each other. There’s nothing as successful as collaboration.
6. Take Care of YOU
While you are so focused on your business and your family, do not forget to dedicate time to yourself, your health and your well-being. Exercise regularly – at whatever level you feel comfortable. You don’t have to become a star athlete, but you are striving to be a star business person and homemaker! Keep yourself fit, walk, do yoga, pilates, swim, go to the gym a few times a week, and meditate. Take a power nap every day and pamper yourself occasionally. You deserve it. You will be surprised at how much it helps you concentrate and gain the energy you need to succeed.
Taking these few practical steps will help you become the business person you strive to be and the mom, wife and partner you love being. Good luck. Woman Power is awesome, and it’s getting stronger because of people like you!