Love me, love my business

Starting and running your own business can impact your family and wellbeing. Rosie Murray-West get tips from those at the coalface on how to redress your work-life balance.

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In the intensity of starting a business, it can be hard to separate your own wants and needs from those of your company. This can take its toll on family and relationships.

Starting up can mean breaking up

Studies suggest that entrepreneurs are more likely to divorce than the rest of the
population, with almost a third of female entrepreneurs struggling to maintain work life balance whilst running a business, and 17% of men saying the same.

“Running a business means your work can sometimes become your life, and for good reason!” says Huw Moxon, marketing manager at Informi, a small business advice service backed by AAT. “You’re passionate about your work, which has led to the development of a successful business.”
But, as Huw adds, setting boundaries is important to help you to remain successful, with those who do not facing burnout or relationship breakdown.

So how can you ensure that your drive to make your business a success is not all

Reassess your boundaries

Business and personal blur when you start a business, but entrepreneurs agree that separation is key, and that the distinction needs to be made with intent.
“Establishing dedicated times for work and leisure helps prevent burnout and nurtures mental and emotional well-being,” says Dr Leo Evans, Education Entrepreneur and Founder of Spires Online Tutors (

Just as technology can tempt you to be ‘always on’, sending emails late at night or checking the business bank account while watching the children play, it can help you to set boundaries too. Moxon, at Informi, suggests turning notifications onto silent at certain times of day and scheduling personal time into your calendar to ensure you create personal space. Considering separate phones for your business and your personal calls can also create a sense of space.

Hire and use the right team

Delegation can help you to take time out for your family.  Emily Bain, cofounder and MD of executive support recruiter Bain and Gray, says that that with a family and a business to manage, she can only achieve what she needs by having the right people around her.

“It’s about being clever and focused and ensuring we hire the right people.”
Evans, at Spires, says that leaders need to be self-aware, and take an active approach. “This way founders not only enhance their well-being but also create an environment where their businesses can thrive in the long run and are set up for exit, should that be their choice.

Remember the positives

While work-life balance can be tricky for entrepreneurs, being your own boss can also improve work life balance and family cohesion, if you let it.
Academic research from the Enterprise Business School found that there are positives from being an entrepreneurial family, for both the business and the individuals. These include being able to allocate resources to businesses and family members as necessary, as well as increasingly flexibility and building family cohesion.

Bain, at Bain and Gray, says that she “never switches off 100%” as a business
founder, but on the plus side she can allocate her own time.
“It’s important for me to be able to split myself between being a mother and working.  School drop off and pick up, watching matches and hosting playdates is equally important to me as pitching for a big client or spending vital face time with my team.

As she summarises, “You can make it work but have to super organised. Every minute is precious.”

Rosie Murray-West freelance business journalist
Rosie Murray-West

Rosie Murray-West is a freelance journalist covering all aspects of personal finance, as well as business, property and economics. A former correspondent, columnist and deputy editor at The Telegraph, she now writes regularly for publications including the Times, Sunday Times, Observer, Metro, Mail on Sunday, and Moneywise magazine.

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