Entering the world of entrepreneurship is exciting and exhilarating, but it also demands some sacrifices. Especially when you're in the startup phase, managing work and your personal life can get tricky. After all, there are only 24 hours in every day and only seven days in every week. None of us gets any more or less than that.
When you go into business for yourself, you're not the only one who needs to be prepared for some significant adjustments. Those closest to you -- your family and friends -- will also need to know what to expect. If not well prepared for the potential adjustments in your lifestyle, they may feel neglected, cheated, and resentful. The entrepreneurial journey will be challenging enough, so you certainly don't want to add that extra pressure into the mix.
Unfortunately there's no guaranteed way to completely alleviate the potential for stress and misunderstanding, but clear and honest communication can help immensely. In starting and running my businesses, I discovered how powerful simple heart-to-heart talks can be in setting expectations and gaining acceptance and cooperation.
What They'll Need To Know
Of course, every business owner's situation is unique, but here are a few of the talking points nearly every new entrepreneur might benefit from addressing with family and friends.
• You'll face long -- and out of the ordinary -- hours. It comes with the territory of being a business owner -- and it can cause schedule conflicts with family plans and friends' invitations to go here or there. Although I've always tried to never miss the really important things that are happening with my loved ones, I've had to make some sacrifices during various stages of entrepreneurship. If your friends and family know this upfront, they may be more understanding when you decline that offer to meet up for coffee on Saturday morning or take a trip to the mall on Friday night.
• You may need to forgo some luxuries you took for granted before. This is a rather harsh reality for some entrepreneurs. Just as you may need to dip into some personal time for your business, you may also need to cut back on your personal expenses. When starting out, many business owners don't take a paycheck until their companies are doing well enough to compensate them. It can be painful to leave behind certain lifestyle elements (such as going out for dinner every weekend night or taking an expensive vacation) as you're ramping up your business. Even more excruciating is when you need to ask your family members to forfeit things that they love and have become accustomed to. But avoiding the topic could make matters worse.
• Sometimes, you may be a little more tense than usual. If starting a business were easy, many more people would try and succeed at it. Entrepreneurship is stressful. Both the long hours and financial sacrifices I've mentioned contribute to that, and there's also the element of uncertainty. When you start a business, you don't know for sure if it will make it. Yes, if you've done your due diligence and have planned well, your chances of success are greater. Still, there's much that's simply not in your control. As you brace yourself for the ups and downs of being a business owner, make sure your loved ones know you may be feeling a bit more stressed sometimes.
It's Not All About You.
Starting and managing a business is one of the most gratifying adventures you can undertake. Just remember, you're not on the journey alone. Prepare not only yourself for the sacrifices and successes ahead, but also prepare your family and friends.