Is work-life balance possible when you run a small business?
Is work-life balance possible when you run a small business? Contributed

Why work-life balance for small business owners is "a crock"

VETERAN life and business coach Babette Bensoussan doesn't buy into the idea of small businesspeople having a work-life balance.

"I would argue that [it's] a crock!" said the Sunshine Coast businesswoman with a laugh. Bensoussan, the founder of MindShifts, has spent 25 years working with business owners and executives.

"A small businessperson is (on the go) 24/7; it never stops, because it is their small business and their life," she said. 

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"When people talk about work-life balance, does that mean while they're at work they're one kind of living person, and when they're at home they're another kind of living person? You're not, you're who you are the whole time.

"I think people need to have a shift in their thinking about how they perceive their lives."

A December 2018 study of small businesses illustrated the lengths to which owners go to succeed.

Welcome to our Business Class series.
Welcome to our Business Class series. News Corp

The research, conducted by YouGov, showed 54 per cent of small business owners surveyed spend six to seven days a week on their business, with more than one in four (28 per cent) working seven days a week.

Small business owners also find it difficult to switch off, with 73 per cent agreeing that concerns around their business prevented them from relaxing during holidays.

"A small businessperson needs to understand that starting a small business is part of a life choice," said Ms Bensoussan.

"What often happens is that people who run their own business always feel a lot of pressure to do multiple things at the same time.

"I say to [them] to try to be present to what you're doing at the time. If you're picking up the kids from school, be present [in the moment]'; if you're working at a meeting with a client, be present to the client; or if you're at dinner with your family, be present in that dinner.

"I always ask: 'In 50 years, will [your business] matter? Will it matter in 100 years?' The answer is no. So be present to what you're doing, and understand that this is a life choice that you made."

Ms Bensoussan gives the example of a small business owner who is exhausted but facing an angry client, deadlines and a family in need of their attention.

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"How lucky are you? You've got a family that wants you [and] is clamouring for you; you have customers who want your product or service; [and] how wonderful it is that you can learn from that problem to grow your business.

"You're a small business, you're overwhelmed with deliveries; how do I get this to the client on time?; have I done the right job?; I'm expecting this from someone and they've let me down. How lucky are you that you've got this happening - be grateful for the sh*t you're in! It shifts your energy from negative to more positive, and therefore releases the burden of stress."

Small Business Minister Michaelia Cash said personal wellbeing should be top priority for business people. 

"Running your own business presents its own unique pressures and challenges, so prioritising your personal wellbeing from the outset is key to ensuring your business is sustainable," said the minister, who pointed to the government's $3.6 million investment "to help enhance the mental health of small business owners".

"We are expanding the Everymind's Ahead for Business pilot program, and I am hosting the second Small Business Mental Health Roundtable this month (FEBRUARY) to ensure we can most effectively promote mental health resources and information to small business owners."

News Corp Australia


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