Building a business can take a significant toll on one's personal life. How do entrepreneurs strike a successful work-life balance? We asked members of the Entrepreneurs' Organization to provide their best tips and advice.
Apply successful business principles to your home life.
"Apply the same principles that create a successful business to create a successful personal life. For example, I hire coaches, from public speaking to mental toughness, to help me grow my business. In my personal life, my wife and I don't just work on our relationship when we hit rough patches; we see coaches even when things are going well. I know that if I don't invest time and energy in my business, it won't grow, and the same goes for my family."
--Jason Forrest, CEO, Forrest Performance Group; EO Fort Worth
Plan and commit to balance.
"When my business started to consume too much of my personal life, I began committing to things that make me happy, and signing up for sports leagues and booking future vacations forced me to keep doing things I love. Business is important, but being happy (and well rounded) is more important. What's more, it helps; the best ideas often come to me when I'm on the slopes, cooking, or playing dodgeball!"
--Eric Griffin, co-founder, Clear-Coat; EO Philadelphia
Trust and delegate.
"I learned how to trust and delegate from the start, and form a team smarter than me and equally dedicated. This is the key to my work-life balance. Knowing I can get away to be with my family and trusting the work was getting done allowed me to keep everything balanced."
--Magaly Chocano, CEO, Sweb Development; EO San Antonio
Be passionate about personal goals.
"I've prioritized my personal life regardless of what seems 'right.' For example, I took a month off work and completed a lifelong goal of hiking Mount Kilimanjaro, even though it was time-consuming. And while I was there, inspiration struck, and I pivoted the business upon my return, and I started a new division of our company. I would never have dreamt to do this had I not pursued my personal life with the same passion."
--Rahul Mahna, vice president, CSM Corp.; EO New York
Get out of the office.
"I have found time out of the office to be important. Once you've hired your team and gotten past the initial stage when you are constantly needed, take regular breaks. I take an extended fishing trip without Internet access or satellite phone to Canada every year. This kind of hard break allows the systems and processes you've built to function without your guidance for a few days. Although there could be problems that you could help solve, chances are things will be just fine."
--Scott Wilson, founder and CEO, Marathon Consulting, LLC; EO New York
Connect only when necessary.
"The problem with disconnecting is that I worry about what I don't know. So I've decided to create a 'disconnect email address' that I use only while I'm away. My team reaches out to me at this address if there is an actual emergency, and I check it only once a day. It takes just a minute to see that there is nothing requiring me to connect to and put my mind at ease. It's a simple trick, but it has tipped the work-life balance scales in the right direction."
--Denise Blasevick, CEO, The S3 Agency; EO New Jersey