Are you an entrepreneur struggling to balance your relationships and your business? Do you feel like you’re always putting your business first and your relationships last? If so, you’re not alone. Prioritising relationships when running a business is an art.
Many business owners and professionals feel like they have to choose between their relationships and businesses. But, it doesn’t have to be that way.
There are a few things you can do to help you balance your wheel of life. Relationships are essential to the human experience. However, being a solo founder can be lonely.
There’s a tendency to work all the hours, which can lead to strained romantic relationships, but Sam Carew from Elliott Footwear shares how identifying a loved one’s Love Language can help: “it ensures she’s feeling treasured and appreciated as I strive for business success”
Create opportunities to connect
First, you need to learn how to prioritise your relationships. You need to make time for your loved ones and make sure that they are a priority in your life.
Melissa Davin-Smith, a product business marketing strategist, also shares her top tip when it comes to creating that special time with your partner. “Have a separate work phone and leave it in the office or turn it off.”
She also goes on regular date nights, leaving her work phones in the office or turning notifications off.
“We also don’t work during holidays so that we can focus 100% on each other,” Melissa highlights. Good boundaries are crucial when it comes to family time and holidays. “Have something to do or somewhere to go at the weekend. Get out of the house and make memories instead of getting tempted to work.”
As hard as it may seem, you need to learn to say no to your business. You can’t always put your business first. You need to take time for yourself and your loved ones.
A very straightforward practise for prioritising relationships when running a business that is to create a non-negotiable boundary. It is crucial to have practices that make space and time for others in your life.
“I now do not work on weekends no matter what! I make sure that the time I spend with my Fiancé and loved ones, I am the most present I can be,” shares confidence coach Ashleigh Frater.
“So no emails, no content writing, no calls until Tuesday (as Monday’s are my self-care days!) Yes, a hard one!”
Celebrate the little things
Ashleigh also encourages people to block out 5 minutes to connect in the morning. “before I get sucked into replying to comments, emails etc. I spend at least 5 minutes sending a thoughtful message to my Fiancé, friends, and family to let them know I am thinking of them. It is surprising how far a little note of care can go.”
“Yesterday, I got a shout from his home office, and I went in to hear music blaring from his computer. It was a cheesy 80s song, and he just said, ‘Dance with me!’ We danced and gigged for two and half minutes and then got back to work, but with smiles on our faces and a sense of togetherness.”
Don’t forget friendships, either. Tara continues by reminding us of the importance of staying close to friends by making sure you spend time together in proper connection time. Ideally one on one.
“It can be tempting to “kill more birds” by having gatherings of friends, BBQs or nights out, and they can be fun. Still, making time for a heart-to-heart is important.”
Real friendships happen when you’re able to open up, be vulnerable, let your social masks drop and be there for each other.
Start planning ahead
Florie-Anne Virgile, CEO & founder Myth-to-Measure, has a few handy tips for planning to balance relationships as an entrepreneur.
- With my life partner (16 years and counting), I organise date nights regularly. It can be a simple dinner out together or booking a play, an escape room, a WE out. I periodically schedule these to make sure we spend time together. Also, we have a little habit of going out to brunch together once every WE. We bring a book or a magazine, and we read together. We cut our phones off during those dates.
- With friends, WhatsApp saved my bacon. It’s allowed me to keep in touch with people. I was terrible with this before, and after long days on the phone with clients, I don’t feel like calling people. WhatsApp is a huge help. I’ve also created a digital book club with my close girl-friends across three countries. It’s an excellent way to keep in touch whilst doing something we love, reading!
- I’m a creative person, and I love taking pictures of my daily life. So every month, I take about one hour filling a journal for my grandparents, my father, and uncle. It’s fantastic because it allows us to share more when talking on the phone. They understand what my daily life is made of visually.
Prioritising relationships when running a business requires a clear schedule. It can be challenging to find the time to maintain strong relationships with friends and family.
However, it is crucial to make time for the people who are important to you and find ways to connect with them that don’t involve work. Your relationships will get stronger and stronger by planning and creating habits and simple practices to cultivate every day.