Everything you need to get your business running safely
The Small Business Owner’s Guide to Achieving Work-Life Balance

The Small Business Owner’s Guide to Achieving Work-Life Balance

Read Time: 6 Minutes


22 Jan 2019


No one ever said starting your own business was easy. And telling a small business owner, freelancer or entrepreneur to just ‘chill out’ is simply a bad idea – especially when they’ve poured their heart and soul into their business. It’s just not helpful!

Saying this, there are a few quick and easy ways every small business owner can proactively take a step back and work on their work-life balance, without letting their business’ growth slip. Here are some all-important work life balance tips that aim to help you find your optimum balance. 


Learn to Delegate

Did you know? 70% of small business owners prefer to do everything themselves rather than delegate. But with only 24 little hours in a day, this often is not possible and can lead to the dreaded founder burnout.

The truth is, being a good leader (which a small business owner has to be), is all about working smart and delegating effectively. And just because you’re putting your trust in an employee to carry out a task doesn’t mean you won’t get a say – you can step in at any point to encourage, assist and ultimately complete the task as a team.

From training employees to work in the way you want them to and giving clear instructions, this will free up some of your valuable time to work on something else.

And, if you’ve no one to delegate to, maybe it’s time to hire your first employee!


Why is it So Hard to Delegate?

According to researchers at MIT, entrepreneurs actually have higher-than-average brain dexterity. This means they can easily switch between the right and left side of their brain, making them excellent creative thinkers.

This level of quick and creative problem-solving could be what makes it so difficult to hand the reigns over to someone else when it comes to complex tasks. 


Take a Quick Break

And we’re not talking about having a chill lunch break (but also checking your email every couple of minutes, or wondering if you’ve missed a call). 

We know business owners never really ‘turn off’. You live, breathe and dream your business, it’s all you think of. In fact, only 57% of small business owners take time off from work. But sometimes, this means you can’t see the forest from the trees.

As well as getting that well-needed recharge, the distance away from work can help you gain perspective. Some time to think.


How Do I Take a Break from Work?

I know, I know, we said earlier ‘telling an entrepreneur or small business owner to chill out’s a bad idea’. But there are a few ways around this:

  1. Find Time in Your Schedule

    You need to trust that your team are going to cope without you. Leave clear instructions and briefs and make sure everyone’s comfortable with their tasks. This will mean a lot of your employees will need to stand up – you never know who might have an amazing manager in them!
  2. Prepare Your Team

    You need to trust that your team are going to cope without you. Leave clear instructions and briefs and make sure everyone’s comfortable with their tasks. This will mean a lot of your employees will need to stand up – you never know who might have an amazing manager in them!
  3. Remember That Emergencies Can Still Be Dealt With

    It’s 2019, you can get Wi-Fi pretty much anywhere. Limit yourself to 15 minutes in the evening to check your emails if it’ll help put your mind at rest.


Don’t Burn Yourself Out

Founder burnout is that feeling where you’ve worked yourself so hard building your startup that you’ve lost your oomph, your mojo. But there are a few things you can do to give your business a boost when it’s in a slump.

From generating excitement by launching a new product to changing up your workspace (which is also shown to positively impact job satisfaction), there are loads of ways you can rock the boat with a highly productive outcome.

In fact, all of the tips in this blog can help prevent founder burnout. Finding a balance and a way to make work exciting again are positive for you and for your business.

Set Meaningful Goals

We know you’re already setting yourself SMART goals and targets at work (and if not, here’s how to do it!), but what about personal goals not related to your business?

The life balance wheel (or wheel of life) is a self-reflection tool used in coaching and counselling and can help you figure out which areas of your life need a little more TLC. And, it’s really easy to use! This is what it looks like:


Each line on the wheel represents an area of your life. You can pick and choose as many areas as you like, and they don’t have to be the ones used above. Maybe you’d like to add education, family life or even a mental health section.


How to Use the Life Balance Wheel

Once you’ve added the important areas of your life to the wheel, all you need to do is draw a dot on each line to show how fulfilled you feel in that area. The centre represents 0%, and the outline of the circle represents 100%.

Once you’ve drawn your dots, then connect them up as pictured below:


After you’ve reflected on how satisfied you are with these areas in your life, it’ll be easier to set your goals around this. For example, your physical health goal could be to exercise for 30 minutes twice a week and drink lots of water. Or, for personal development, it might be to try a hobby you’ve been wanting to get into to back into for a while.

To Conclude…

No one ever goes into starting their own business without knowing it’s going to be hard work and you’ll have already made personal sacrifices, spent far too long in the office and overworked yourself to see advancement.

But, running your own business isn’t all hard work and no return. In fact, 91% of owners are happy or extremely happy to be running their own business. Overall, the benefits outweigh the struggles. And finding your own happy balance will do wonders to your future success. 

Jessica Lindley

About the Author

Hi, I’m Jessica and I’m instantprint’s Content Executive. I enjoy writing content to help small businesses succeed and inspire them to get creative with their print marketing.