Whether it's for the flexibility, a result of corporate burnout, or to leave a legacy, women are starting businesses in record numbers. For many female entrepreneurs and small-business owners, the endless task of building a business mixed with family demands and community involvement leads to a bit of overwhelm, but through delegation, women are utilizing tools and resources to create life balance while making their entrepreneurial dreams a reality.
The truth of balance for female entrepreneurs is that it's never easy, and sometimes balance is impossible. You'll have days when work has you up early and late in the same day, when you eat on the run (if at all) and wish you could get more than four hours of sleep. Gayle Goodman, executive vice president and partner, ExperiPro LLC, finds balance in making sure she keeps a very, very accurate calendar and plans all activities as much in advance as possible, with "air" in between each. "Meetings run long. The carpool line is sometimes out of control. You get flat tires. You cannot book yourself so solid that you are running from place to place. When you are late to a single location, it becomes a domino effect for every meeting following it," says Goodman. "I also have a realistic expectation of what can be done in a day."
Janine Truitt, chief innovations officer, Talent Think Innovations, LLC, found that having a few go-to family members and friends ensures her home continues running and her children are comfortable and well-cared for while she's gone on business. It also gives her peace of mind knowing her home is in good hands. "I travel locally for work and nationally a few times a year for speaking engagements. My family has been the cornerstone of my days away from home," says Truitt. "I've also learned that I am not superwoman, and sometimes it's all right to ask your spouse to handle things."
It's a constant struggle to keep your business humming along, cook dinner, and just take a few minutes of downtime. Your priorities shift based on your business cycles or what's going on in your life, as there are times when you throw yourself into your business and other times when you just need to take a step back and catch your breath. Nicole Krug, founder, Social Light, says, "You have to delegate, it's the only way to keep your sanity. Know your strengths. You can't do everything, so focus on what you excel at and let someone else do the rest."
More and more women business owners are learning the real value of delegation and the impact it has on their work-life balance. Judy Terry, founder and chief concierge officer, Her Concierge, says, "Women entrepreneurs are so relieved to see that there are finally services that not only help them enhance their life by taking back precious moments but understand what a woman needs and what they go through as business owners." Terry's most popular service requests include smaller personal tasks like meal delivery, house cleaning, and home office organization.
Truitt offers this great piece of advice: "Be gentle with yourself. Success is a journey and not usually manifested in the way you initially envision it. Ask for help often, find hobbies outside of building your business to refill your cup, and be a lifeline to other women doing the same when they need it."
Julie Barnes is an award-winning multi-passionate entrepreneur, an international bestselling author, advocate for change and the founder of Too Bizy Lady.