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Ask The Entrepreneurs: 16 Ways to Master Your Work-Life Balance as an Entrepreneur

Ask The Entrepreneurs: 16 Ways to Master Your Work-Life Balance as an Entrepreneur


    Ask The Entrepreneurs

    is a regular series where members of those involved in the Young Entrepreneur Council are asked a single question that aims to help Lifehack readers level up their own lives, whether in a area of management, communication, business or life in general.

    Here’s the question posed in this edition of Ask The Entrepreneurs:

    How do you maintain a healthy work-life balance as an entrepreneur?

    1. Let Go of Fear

      “Many entrepreneurs struggle with fear that if they’re not working every minute that they could possibly be working, their business will fail and they will regret not having put in more time. However, in my own experience and in observing other successful entrepreneurs, letting go of this fear not only leads to work-life balance but also more meaningful productivity and accomplishment.”

      Elizabeth SaundersReal Life E®

      2. Build Lifestyle into Your Brand

        “These days so many people are focused on getting funding, explosive growth and spending 80 hours a week on their business. While that’s all great stuff, it can lead to burn out and unhappiness really quickly. Make lifestyle the most important factor in business from the beginning, and then grow with that principle in mind—less stress, more happiness.”

        Sean OgleLocation 180, LLC

        3. Schedule Your Life, Not Just Work

          “Reserve set times in your schedule for activities that allow you to recharge and that add value to your life, such as daily exercise, a weekly date or social night, reserved time for family activities, and a yearly vacation. You not only will have something to look forward to, but also extra motivation to manage your other time well so you do not have to cancel on others—and yourself!”

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          Doug BendBend Law Group, PC

          4. Set Some Boundaries

            “Calm down. It’s 11 p.m. You’re not going to lose that client if you wait until tomorrow to respond to his request for a project estimate. Set work hours for yourself and stick to them. If you make yourself available at all hours—while out to dinner, while on vacation, during “sexy time”—you set a dangerous precedent!”

            Steph AuteriWord Nerd Pro

            5. Turn It Off!

              “Our smartphones are a part of our everyday lives, but as an entrepreneur, we literally sleep with it tucked under our pillow. Simply turn off the phone and be amazed at how much you can get done—you can even fit in a work out. You have to know when to separate work and life, which starts with shutting off from everything to take time for yourself. That’s why there’s a thing called voicemail!”

              Ashley BodiBusiness Beware

              6. Learn Something New

                “I started taking beginner piano lessons at age 26 so I could schedule time away from my computer. Now I know that my Tuesday and Thursday evenings are piano nights. I’m paying money to be there, so you better believe I’ll be shutting off my work to get there.”

                Allie Siarto, Loudpixel

                7. Work It All Out

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                  “Being an entrepreneur often uses up all of your time but it’s important to remember to stay healthy and work out. Try and add a calendar invite reminding you to go to the gym, run or do whatever fits you. If not, you’ll most likely regret it when you start seeing negative results.”

                  Ben LangEpicLaunch

                  8. Figure Your Fuel

                    “Too often, the work-life balance discussion revolves around sleeping and exercising schedules; but for nonstop entrepreneurs, the conversation needs to begin with what we’re using for fuel. It’s important to stock up on healthy snacks that will reduce your cravings (for less healthy foods) and keep you going 24/7. Stash them in your desk, computer bag, and car for emergency use.”

                    Benjamin LeisSweat EquiTees

                    9. Remember Your Friends?

                      “Many entrepreneurs I talk to often think about how much time off that their peers have because of their cushy corporate jobs. Entrepreneurs should try creating similar schedules as well so that they can have proper work-life balance. If corporations can make it happen, entrepreneurs can too!”

                      Danny WongBlank Label Group, Inc.

                      10. Delegate Your Life!

                        “It’s great to delegate bookkeeping, marketing, and admin work, but for many who are just starting off your budget won’t necessarily allow for it. Get creative and delegate more of your “life” duties like childcare, cleaning house, and grocery shopping to a spouse. Having my husband help me out by doing some grocery shopping means I have more time to spend with him when we’re at home.”

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                        Jennifer DonoghYoung Female Entrepreneurs

                        11. Try Time Boxing

                          “If you can offload common tasks, such as scheduling and other appointment setting, you’ll free up your time to focus on the most important tasks. Time boxing will allow you to apply laser focus to one project at a time.”

                          Jeff SlobotskiSilicon Prairie News

                          12. Put Yourself First

                            “If you’re an entrepreneur, your business relies heavily on your sleep and sanity. Make sure that you are putting yourself first by eating right, sleeping well and exercising (at a minimum). Remind yourself that those things are critical to thinking, creating and performing at your best, and make sure you stand firm to your commitments to all three.”

                            Jenny BlakeLife After College

                            13. Balance Is Not “Equal”

                              “Personally, I’m not happy if I’m evenly dividing my time between work and other things. I really enjoy what I do, to the point that I get bored with a lot of hobbies. I focus on making sure that I’m doing well on a personal level: if I’m feeling stressed out, I’ll take a step back; if I feel like I’m not getting enough work done, I’m cool with investing more time.”

                              Thursday Bram, Hyper Modern Consulting

                              14. You Deserve a Reward!

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                                “It’s easy to forget about the “life” part. Unfortunately, this ends up making you burn out, while never giving yourself “me” time and enjoying the fruits of your labor. Reward yourself, whether it’s by taking a vacation, treating yourself to a day at the spa, or turning off your devices and reading a book. It will make you a better worker in the long run.”

                                Steven Le Vine, grapevine pr

                                15. What’s Your Work-Life Story?

                                  “Whether I spend 80 hours a week working on business or I’m on vacation and give 100 percent of myself to my reflection and refueling, my experience of both are pretty much the same. I make it my priority to narrate the story of what I’m doing, how I’m feeling, and how I’m spending my time in a way that makes me feel good and balanced. The story I tell myself is what keeps me thriving.”

                                  Alexia Vernon, Catalyst for Action

                                  16. Schedule It Like You Would An Important Meeting

                                    “If you want time for yourself, you need to schedule it into your day. 4 days a week I make 2 hours for myself through Crossfit. There is nothing more important to me than my health. To ensure I never miss a class, it is scheduled into my calendar weeks in advance and my day is planned around it just like an important meeting with a client. If it’s scheduled, you will do it. If it’s not, you won’t.”

                                    Greg Rollett, The ProductPros

                                    (Photo credit: Work Life Balance Writing on Businessman’s Hands via Shutterstock)

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                                    Last Updated on March 15, 2019

                                    How to Be a Leader Who Is Inspiring and Influential

                                    How to Be a Leader Who Is Inspiring and Influential

                                    When I began managing people 15 years ago, I thought having a fancy title was synonymous with influence. Over time, I learned that power is conferred based on likeability, authenticity, courage, relationships and consistent behavior. When leaders cultivate these attributes, they earn power, which really means influence.

                                    Understanding influence is essential to professional growth, and companies rise and fall based on the quality of their leadership.

                                    In this article, we will look into the essentials of effective leadership and how to be a leader who is inspiring and influential.

                                    What Makes a Leader Fail?

                                    A host of factors influence a leader’s ability to succeed. To the extent that leaders fail to outline a compelling vision and strategy, they risk losing the trust and confidence of their teams. Employees want to know where a company is going and the strategy for how they will get there. Having this information enables employees to feel safe, and it allows them to see mistakes as part of the learning journey versus as fatal occurrences.

                                    If employees and customers do not believe a company’s leadership is authentic and inspiring, they may disengage, or they may be less inclined to offer constructive criticism that can help a company innovate or help a leader improve.

                                    And it is not just the leadership at the top that matters. Middle managers play a distinct role in guiding teams. Depending on the company’s size, employees may have more access to mid-level managers than they do members of the C-suite, meaning their supervisors and managers have greater influence on the employee and the customer experience.

                                    What Is Effective Leadership?

                                    Effective leadership is inspiring, and it is influential. Cultivating inspiring and influential leaders requires building relationships across the company.

                                    Leaders must be connected to both the teams they lead as well as to their own colleagues and managers. This is key as titles do not make a person a leader, nor do they automatically confer influence. These are earned through trusting relationships. This explains why some leaders can get more out of their teams than others and why some leaders experience soaring profits and engagement while others sizzle out.

                                    Eric Garton said in an April 25, 2017, Harvard Business Review article:[1]

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                                    “… inspiring leaders are those who use their unique combination of strengths to motivate individuals and teams to take on bold missions – and hold them accountable for results. And they unlock higher performance through empowerment, not command and control.”

                                    How to Be an Inspiring and Influential Leader

                                    To be an inspiring and influential leader requires:

                                    1. Courage

                                    The late poet Maya Angelou once said,

                                    “Courage is the most important of all the virtues, because without courage you can’t practice any other virtue consistently. You can practice any virtue erratically, but nothing consistently without courage.”

                                    Courage is required in the workplace when implementing new strategies, especially when they go against professional norms.

                                    For instance, I heard Lisa TerKeurst, bestselling author and founder of Proverbs 31 Ministries, explain her decision to move away from her company’s magazine. While the organization had long had a magazine, she saw a future where it didn’t exist.

                                    In order to make the switch, she risked angering her team members and customers. She took a chance, and what started out as a monthly newsletter, has grown into a multi-dimensional organization boasting half a million followers. Had Lisa not found the courage to change the direction of her organization, they undoubtedly would not have been able to experience such exponential growth.

                                    It also takes courage to give and receive feedback. When leaders see employees who are not living into the company’s mission or who are engaging in behavior that may undermine their long-term success, one must risk temporary angst and speak candidly with the colleague in question.

                                    Similarly, it takes courage to hear constructive criticism and try to change. In business, as in life, courage is necessary for being an inspiring and influential leader.

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                                    2. A Commitment to Face Your Internal Demons.

                                    If you feel great about yourself, enter a leadership position. You are likely to be triggered in ways you didn’t think possible. You are also likely to receive feedback that may leave you second-guessing yourself and your leadership skills.

                                    The truth about leading others is that you get to a point where you realize that it is difficult to take people to places where you yourself haven’t gone.

                                    To be an influential and inspiring leader, you have to face your own demons and vow to continually improve. Influential leaders take their personal evolution serious, and they invest in coaching, therapy and mindfulness to ensure that their personal struggles do not overshadow their professional development.

                                    3. A Willingness to Accept Feedback

                                    Inspiring and influential leaders are not afraid to accept feedback. In fact, they actively solicit it. They understand that everyone in their life has a lesson to teach them, and they are willing to accept it.

                                    Inspirational leaders understand that feedback is neither good nor bad but rather an offering that is critical to growth. Even when it hurts or is an affront to the ego, influential leaders understand that feedback is critical to their ability to lead.

                                    4. Likability

                                    Some people will argue that leaders need not worry about being liked but should instead focus on being respected. I disagree. Both are important.

                                    When team members like their boss and believe their boss likes them, they are more likely to go the extra mile to fulfill departmental or organizational goals. Likable leaders are moved to the front of the line when it comes to being influential.

                                    Relatedly, when colleagues feel management dislikes them, they experience internal stress and can spend unnecessary time focusing on the source of their manager’s discontent versus the work they have been hired to do.

                                    So, likability is important for both the leader and the people she leads.

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                                    5. Vulnerability

                                    Vulnerability is critical for being an inspiring leader. People want the truth. They admire leaders who can occasionally demonstrate vulnerability. It promotes deeper relationships and inspires trust.

                                    When leaders can showcase vulnerability appropriately, they destroy the illusion that one must be perfect to be a leader. They also demonstrate that vulnerability is not a dirty word; they too can be vulnerable and ask for a helping hand when necessary.

                                    6. Authenticity

                                    Authenticity is about living up to one’s stated values in public and behind closed doors.

                                    Influential leaders are authentic. They set to live out their values and use those values to guide their decisions. The interesting thing about leadership is that people are not looking for perfect leaders. They are, in part, looking for leaders who are authentic.

                                    7. A True Understanding of Inspiration

                                    Effective leaders are inspirational. They understand the power of words and deeds and use both strategically.

                                    Inspiring leaders appropriately use stories and narratives to enable the teams around them to see common situations in an entirely new light.

                                    Inspirational leaders also showcase grit and triumph while convincing the people around them that success and victory are attainable.

                                    Finally, inspiring leaders encourage the teams they lead to tap into their own genius. They convince others that genius is not reserved for a select few but that most people have it in them.

                                    As explained in the article True Leadership: What Separates a Leader from a Boss:

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                                    “A leader creates visions and motivates team members to work together towards the same goal.”

                                    8. An Ability to See the Humanity in Others

                                    Inspiring and influential leaders see the humanity in others. Rather than treating their teams as mere tools to accomplish organizational goals, they believe the people around them are unique beings with inherent value.

                                    This means knowing when to pause to address personal challenges and dispelling with the myth that the personal is separate from the professional.

                                    9. A Passion for Continual Learning

                                    Inspiring and influential leaders are committed to continual learning. They invest in their own development and take responsibility for their professional growth.

                                    These leaders understand that like a college campus, the workplace is a laboratory for learning. They believe that they can learn from multiple generations in the workplace as well as from people from diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds.

                                    Influential leaders proactively seek out opportunities for learning.

                                    The Bottom Line

                                    No one said leadership was easy, but it is also a joy. Influencing others to action and positively impacting the lives of others is a reward unto itself.

                                    Since leadership abounds, there is an abundance of resources to help you grow into the type of leader who inspires and influences others.

                                    More Resources About Effective Leadership

                                    Featured photo credit: Markus Spiske via unsplash.com

                                    Reference

                                    [1] Harvard Business Review: How to Be an Inspiring Leader

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