Female entrepreneurs: the work/life balance.....

Just before going on holidays I wrote a piece for SheerB2B about how women in business can achieve the work/family balance (see below) so it's quite interesting for me to read it again after being away from the office for such a long time.
After 2 weeks in New-Zealand, a few days in Hong-Kong and a long weekend in France, I'm feeling a bit spaced out but very calm and determined to stay in the holidays mood as long as I can so I will make a few changes to our lives starting with a bike ride and picnic this weekend but I would love to hear about your experience and tips if you care to share them....
On a last note, if you are running an e-commerce business or planning to do so, SheerB2B is dedicated to help e-tailers grow and is a great website to start gathering useful pieces of info about e-commerce.

"A few weeks ago I was interviewed for a book on how entrepreneurs achieve the balance between work and personal life; it made my family laugh.... The fact that I launched our business 2 weeks before giving birth and spent my maternity leave running the business whilst looking after a new-born says it all...

However the interview did make me reflect on the balance so many women long to achieve. Women in business are a different breed - obviously multi-tasking - they are also passionate, driven and like motherhood, they will move mountains to make their new 'baby' (business) grow and succeed.

Often a real baby triggers a change of lifestyle (i.e. leaving law / banking etc behind you) and therefore the birth of a new self run business also. But if you're planning to launch a business to achieve more balance between work and home, then make and do mend with your corporate life; stay where you are or downgrade because a better balance just doesn’t happen in the early years of a new biz.

For every great feeling of freedom and sense of achievement you get running your own business, you will pay back in financial insecurity, lack of sleep, stress and far greater responsibilities than you ever imagined.

If you or have gone for then until you can afford to hire a team of people, here are a few pointers that will make a massive difference to your life:

- Be an IT geek: Get technology to work for you. Buy a blackberry, set up automatic back-ups of your laptop (trust me you will have your life on it and you don't want to lose it), set up out of the office email with who to contact while you're away. Simple but highly effective.

- Give up keyboarding: Your new mantra at evenings and weekends is 4 words: "Stop using your laptop". Hard to start with but an evening with Gossip Girl will be a lot more fun than another spreadsheet. Learn that you MUST switch off.

- In the early days value kindness in your staff: Someone kind, helpful will give you a lot more than someone ambitious whose expectations are higher than what your start-up company can offer.

- Connect with people: I'm not talking about Facebook, twitter and your blog. I mean fun time with your kids, romantic dinners with your husband, wine-fuelled brunches with your friends and girls night-outs. You will need these moments when your business takes over your life.

- Make it an adventure: Entrepreneurs are known for constantly moving the goal post. As soon as they've achieved something, they've moved onto the next goal so see your business as an adventure rather than an end. Make it fun, challenging and interesting.

- Bring out the fighter in you: If you think starting a business was hard, it will get worse! At some point, you may lose everything. Don't procrastinate, just act quickly. There is a solution for everything and only you can make things happen.

- Keep fit: Working out will help you to deal with stress, sleep well and stay focused. Ultimately, when you make it to the front cover of The Times magazine like Natalie Massenet, do you want to look like her...empowering and sexy or like a former overweight shadow of yourself?

The bottom line is that what you want to become starts right now, today. Make these little changes and enjoy the 'business empire you are creating' – out of choice."


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