BALANCING LIFE AND RUNNING A BUSINESS


BALANCING LIFE AND RUNNING A BUSINESS
I never knew life can be likened to sports till I started thinking deeply in recent years.

Do you know that life is like a juggling act? You juggle your family commitments, friendships, work, career, schooling and religious commitments while at the same time trying to fit in sports, hobbies, adventures, fun and the occasional trip to the cinema.  How are you supposed to add ‘starting and running a business’ into all of this?  After all, there are only so many hours in a day.

This is a common juggle struggle that holds many people back from starting something new.  It just doesn’t seem to be enough time or energy to add any more activity to the above – even if the desire is there. But, it is possible and achievable and has been done by many before. So, how did they do it? How can someone throw another ball into a juggle like the one above? Find out for yourself.

1. Set realistic expectations
It is not realistic to become instantly successful, wealthy or rich. These things rarely happen overnight. If you are at the very beginning of something, set aside time to learn and be prepared for lots of mistakes and learning.  This is true for almost anything.  Actors will tell of their years of rejection, years of cultivating their craft, before hitting it big and ‘making it look easy’.  Comedians too have similar stories and entrepreneurs; even Sir Richard Branson.

2. Be prepared to make some sacrifices
There are lots of exciting stories out there from Zerox to Microsoft, FaceBook to EBay, Google to Silicon Valley, and many more. The truth is that all these businesses did not make profit before paying the price: they sacrificed several hours and missed out on lots of fun, adventures and gatherings.  Many young entrepreneurs wake up early and have already answered 20 emails and dealt with several business decisions before their friends and peers have heard the alarm clock ring.  Juggling takes some effort and energy, and sacrifice to be sustained. Get up and get out there.

3. Consider starting something you are already interested or involved in
This is where I bring in passion, interest, family crafts and talent. What are you interested in: Sports, video games, painting, baby-sitting? Are you already training for something?  Are you studying a topic or course that can put you ahead? In my article How to turn hobbies into business, I shared some valuable examples that you can learn from. Remember, if you are not interested or into it before, you might rethink and quit when challenges arise.

4. Learn how to manage your time and prioritize
Here is a life-long skill that you must learn and master in order to add more balls to your mix: effective time management. Things don’t get easier to juggle as you move through the seasons of life: growing up, marry, have children, build a home, sustain your career, etc. So, learning how to set your priorities and use time wisely is essential to continue juggling.

Learn to divide your life into sections:  School, friends, family, work, business and fun.  Get a diary so you can keep track of everything you need to do and prioritize.  You can use a smart phone for this now, but a pen and paper version is still more ideal especially writing next to dates.  Each morning, take a look at whom or what needs attention and do the most important things first.  Weekly review what you accomplish, what you still need to accomplish and set new priorities.  Sometimes you will need to spend more time revising for a test, so you will have less time to manage some aspects of the business that week.  Other times you’ll invest more time in the business.

5. Locate good partners
As your business begins to grow, locate and bring in partners to help you out while you maintain your balance. Get good hands in your family and among your friends that can help you get more done. It’s important to not just let go of responsibility, but to carefully consider what work you can share, and with whom.  For many young entrepreneurs I know, they enlisted the help of younger siblings and friends with related interest, knowledge and drive to take on extra jobs such as sales representative, book keeping or customer care service for start for a token of their profits.

6. Don’t forget to rest!
Rest is a good recipe for long life in health. You must set realistic goals that will allow you rest. Nothing was built by the snap of the fingers: everything takes time. So, grow the business over time and endeavor to rest adequately to enable you continue to sustain your juggle. Remember, if you burn and churn yourself out – everything will come down: family, friends, work, career, religious commitments, sports, hobbies, adventures and fun. Know your mind and body and know when it’s time to just shut everything down and go to bed. 

In all, have a good laugh with mates whenever you can, don’t take yourself too seriously and make time to be silly every once in a while.  Keep it real, simple and fresh. Never give up and learn to always do more. Believe in yourself, be persistent and strive for excellence. You can do it. You can become what you think about.


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