In a world that’s purporting work-life balance, here’s a thought: what if you can build your business around your life instead? No more striking out on balancing hours, commitment, and workloads between your work life and your, well, life. Instead, you are creating something that works alongside your life just the way you like it – and, when done right, provides even more time and opportunity for you to keep living life the way you hope to, whether that’s through traveling, taking off on Wednesdays, or pursuing your other passion projects.
It may sound fantastical, but there are countless examples of entrepreneurs who are doing just this. It’s possible to have a life that you love, with a business that you love, and for the two to fit together like perfect puzzle pieces. Whether you’re considering the next step post-retirement, hoping to launch your first business, or you have your eye on your next venture after a successful acquisition, consider these tips to truly build your business around your life… rather than building your life around your business.
1. Choose A Business You Really Care About
It sounds cliche, but doing what you love starts with actually doing what you love. Many entrepreneurs go into business dead set on what will produce the biggest profit margins, or what’s aligned with the industry they’ve always worked in. Be honest with yourself: do you really care about the business idea you’ve come up with? Does it align with who you are and what you want for your life?
Jeremy Griffin CEO Of Aligned Solutions, poignantly shared with me that “your business needs to be built in accordance with your values, so that it can coexist seamlessly with your life at large.” In other words, your business should reflect the values that you have as a person – and live up to them. “Resistance in business comes when you’re infringing upon your values,” Connor warned. “This resistance can plague your happiness in your work, and make it hard for you to be truly creative or productive.”
These values can range from “a culture where everyone feels heard” if that matters to you, to “winter sports,” if that’s where your true passion lies. Start with what you know and what you care about. Go from there.
2. Build Out The Systems Necessary To Outsource
To achieve a work-life balance, you can’t be the lone sailor at the helm of the entire operation. Sure, when you’re just getting started, there’s going to be a lot of legwork. But beyond that, outsourcing will help you to better manage your time so you can be a more efficient business owner, while also having the luxury of enjoying your life (isn’t that what we’re all after?). So, build with the intention of ultimately outsourcing.
Much of this comes down to processes and systems. This could pertain to your sales funnel, business model, or supply chain management. If you were to take three months off starting next week, how would you explain each system to a team member to run the show? You will certainly need to iterate on these processes as you go, but the more you can build out a concrete ‘A to Z’ instruction manual about each stream of your business and how it’s executed, the smoother the sailing will be – lone sailor or not.
3. Make Sure The Culture Reflects Your Values
Having a business you really care about may mean the culture is built just the way you like it as is. Or, it may mean you’re finally doing work that aligns with your passion. Either way, our happiness at work or in our businesses is greatly affected by the culture of the workplace.
Your role as a business owner is to make sure that the culture you are building reflects the values you hold dear. Hint here: if you’re building a business for work-life balance, honor the same for your employees. Have clear clock-in and clock-out hours, and encourage their lives outside of work.
4. Find A Way To Do It All Remotely
We’ve all gotten quite proficient at this over the past year, but ensure there’s flexibility in the way that you run your business so that you can take liberties with how you spend your free time. Building out processes and systems will make this all the easier for your team (or, even for you) while you are jet setting off to a remote destination or taking a week off to backpack. As important as it is to be integral in building your business, don’t build it around you – in other words, don’t make it so that the business’ success depends on your physical presence in an office every single day. That’s how you’ll end up back where you started: letting your work run your life instead of the other way around.
This looks different for every entrepreneur, but having trust in team members can help a great deal. Align with them on company culture and the systems or processes needed to keep the engine running smoothly and scaling. Define how daily and weekly check-ins will look, so you can be kept abreast of KPI’s and any potential snags to the system. This way, you’re a hands-off manager that retains as much creative control as you desire to really work with your business.
People build businesses for many reasons, but usually, the heart of it is having autonomy over their lives and being able to make a living on their own terms. Don’t let this initial desire and priority change so that your business runs your life, as opposed to the other way around.