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Balancing Business Ownership: Is Work-Life Balance Possible for Entrepreneurs?

Nailing a proper work-life balance as a business owner won’t always be easy. But you should still prioritize your mental and physical health all the same.

Andrew Deen //November 7, 2023//

Balancing Business Ownership: Is Work-Life Balance Possible for Entrepreneurs?

Nailing a proper work-life balance as a business owner won’t always be easy. But you should still prioritize your mental and physical health all the same.

Andrew Deen //November 7, 2023//

The concept of “work-life balance,” is a frequent talking point in modern culture. Job seekers actively look for employment opportunities at businesses with a positive company culture. They want the opportunity to work hard, but also to enjoy their personal lives.

While that may be possible for the average person, it becomes much harder for someone who owns their own business. 

Small-business owners are aware that when they don’t do something, it simply doesn’t get done. That type of pressure can make it hard to relax at the end of the day. 

Is proper work-life balance even possible for small business owners? In this article, we explore that question and look at ways you can meet both your business’s needs and your own. 

READ: Mastering Work-Life Balance — Practical Steps for Entrepreneurs to Thrive

What is work-life balance?

Work-life balance has developed a pop-culture connotation that doesn’t quite align with most people’s experiences. You’ll see big tech companies invest hundreds of thousands of dollars in quality-of-life features at their office buildings. Sushi bars. Yoga classes. Meditation studios. 

Those things are nice, but they aren’t within the realm of possibility for most people. The average person is hoping for simpler things. The ability to eat dinner at home. Pick up their kids from school. Sit through their child’s soccer practice without needing to answer emails. 

As a small business owner, you are probably more than just the founder and CEO. You’re also head of sales, marketing and customer relations. It’s a big responsibility that doesn’t just click off when the clock strikes five. So, how can you handle the responsibility and still retain some semblance of a personal life?

First, establish your priorities

It’s important to take a step back and view the situation objectively. Certain responsibilities do require immediate attention, regardless of what time of day it is. As the business owner, you will need to address these circumstances right away, regardless of whether or not there is something you’d rather be doing at home. 

Other things could be pushed back until tomorrow. Telling the difference can be difficult when you have your head in the game. Take a step back and think things through as objectively as possible. What do I want? Dinner at home with my family? I have to do A, B, and C. If I take on all three, there is no way I will get home on time. Can they wait?

Sometimes, the answer will be no. However, simply by asking the question, by establishing dinner at home as a priority, you increase the odds of finding opportunities to do it. 

READ: How to Balance Your Day Job and Side Hustle for Entrepreneurial Success

Taking care of yourself

It’s important to consider self-care and work-life balance as a foundational aspect of your business practices. As an entrepreneur, you aren’t just trying to get through the day. Your goal is to build something that will last for years to come. 

You can’t run yourself into the ground every day, without eventually bottoming out. 

Self-care and work-life balance help make your business practices more sustainable. While accomplishing these things may look a little different from person to person, here are some foundational aspects of both to keep in mind. 

  • You need sleep: Most experts recommend between 7-8 hours a night. While accomplishing this is often difficult, it is an important aspect of keeping yourself healthy. Sleep deprivation can lead to stress, anxiety and poor decision-making. 
  • Good nutrition: As a busy business owner, it may be tempting to reach for takeout or a prepackaged meal. But while junk food is easier than healthy home cooking, it’s not doing your body any favors. Well-balanced meals provide you with energy and can boost cognitive function. Don’t skip out on your leafy greens. 
  • Monitor your mental health: It’s important and increasingly socially acceptable to pay careful attention to your mental health. Social stigma around mental health has largely evaporated. Now, it is very mainstream to admit you suffer from stress or anxiety, or even to say that you think you need counseling. 
  • Mindfulness: Mindfulness is, at its core, all about being aware of how you feel and what is happening in the world around you. Basically, it’s about living in the moment. Many people achieve a state of mindfulness by practicing meditation. While you don’t have to become a yogi, occasional mindfulness exercises can help you better understand your feelings, and live a happier life. Speaking of which….
  • Do things that make you happy: Truly, what’s the point of being a business owner in the first place if you aren’t happy? It’s important to remember that entrepreneurship is a choice you make. Make sure it’s one that you find fulfilling and enjoyable. Put your heart into the business, but make sure it doesn’t come at the cost of personal happiness. Otherwise, what’s the point of it anyway?

Nailing a proper work-life balance as a business owner won’t always be easy. Nor will it even always be achievable. However, by establishing it as a goal and prioritizing it every day, you vastly increase the odds that you can enjoy a fulfilling professional and personal life. 


Andrew Deen HeadshotAndrew Deen has been a consultant for startups in a number of industries from retail to medical devices and everything in between. He implements lean methodology and is currently writing a book about scaling up business.