The most common reason small business owners and franchisees set up their own business is in order to achieve a better work-life balance. This has been proven time and time again, in polls by SmallBusiness.co.uk and in a recent study by the Franchise Relationships Institute.
In fact, in the UK, employees are becoming burnt out from constantly being available for work. A new Standard Life study shows that 70% of people leave their phones on all night long, and 15% cut their workouts short so they can check their BlackBerrys. And the Trades Union Congress released figures that 3.3 million people in the UK work more than 48 hours a week.
However, new business owners fail to remember that starting up a new business is hard work ... and can be very time consuming as well! That's why we want to make sure you have realistic expectations about being your own boss, and that you take into account that your new business won't necessarily be easy or less time-consuming.
You'll have the perks of a more flexible lifestyle (working different hours, taking days off or vacations when you want, etc), but you will also be called to attend to the needs of the business and put in the effort required to generate the level of income you want.
So in order to take advantage of the flexible lifestyle and better work-life balance a franchise can bring, here are some tips to help achieve that elusive work-life balance we all want:
- Make yourself a daily routine. Try to wake up at the same time everyday and then schedule some working hours for yourself so you're not stretching work out all day long.
- Schedule your work for the time of day when you're most alert. That might mean the morning (for most people, as bleary-eyed as they may feel, it is!) or the afternoon, but if you can do work when you're most alert and productive, you'll get more done in less time.
- Take a lunch break. Even if you are overloaded with work, you need to eat! So take a break and grab something to eat with friends (that's what flexibility is for, right?) or make something for yourself.
- Get out of the house if your franchise is home-based. It's hard to get out of your pajamas sometimes, but try to make it out of the house at least once a day. Whether that means getting rid of your coffee maker and visiting a coffee shop or making a lunch appointment with friends, it'll be good to see some friendly faces.
- Set aside time for your family. That might mean a nightly family dinner, or taking a walk and exercising together at night. Whatever you enjoy doing together, set aside some time to do it.
- Set aside time for yourself. You need some time to read a book, take a walk or do the things you love. Don't forget to give yourself that "you" time as well!
- Turn off your computer at night. You might get the urge to check it when you wake up in the middle of the night, so make sure you turn it off when you are done with work for the day. There's rarely something that can't wait until the morning...
- Make one day a week a "technology-free day." That might mean turning off your phone, your computer and TV for a day. But that will free up a lot of time for you to spend time with the ones you love, and concentrate on your wonderful life!
If you're taking the plunge to become a business owner, enjoy the flexibility it affords you! But remember to try for a work-life balance you and your family can be happy with... after all, you're the boss!