As an entrepreneur, balancing your work and personal life can be challenging. From time management struggles to financial instability and social isolation, there are many obstacles that can impact your work-life balance. This is even more true in Latin America, where there are several common struggles related to work-life balance. One of the major challenges facing Latin entrepreneurs is the cultural expectation to work long hours and prioritize work over personal/family life. In many countries in South & Central America, it is common for employees to work more than 45 hours per week, and it is not uncommon for people to work on weekends or holidays without hesitation. It's all for the greater good, right?! This can lead to a lack of time for not just yourself but for your community of relationships. And then guess what... That "lack" can lead to a lot of feelings including extra stress, aloneness, and burnout.
In this article, we will explore the top 4 struggles of work-life balance for entrepreneurs all over the world and provide some tips for overcoming these challenges.
Time management: As an entrepreneur, you are responsible for managing all aspects of your business, from sales and marketing to finance and operations. This can lead to long work hours and a lack of time for personal activities and relationships. According to a survey by the U.S. Small Business Administration, nearly 60% of small business owners work more than 40 hours per week, and 22% work more than 60 hours per week. To overcome this struggle, it is important to prioritize self-care and set boundaries between work and personal life. Establishing a regular routine can also help you manage your time more effectively. Don't be afraid to use "apps" to keep yourself on track. Research shows that successful time management helps build confidence and reduce anxiety. Apps like Todoist, Google Keep, TimeCamp, or Toggl Track are all highly rated and based on your personal wants/needs could be a great fit to help you keep everything under control.
Stress and burnout: Entrepreneurship can be a stressful and demanding career, and it is important to find ways to manage stress and prevent burnout. Lack of work-life balance can lead to increased stress levels and decreased productivity, which can ultimately lead to burnout. According to a survey by the American Psychological Association, entrepreneurs report higher levels of stress than the general population. To overcome this struggle, prioritize self-care and find ways to manage stress, such as through exercise, meditation, or spending time with friends and family. The dreaded word "exercise" can be an automatic negative for a lot of entrepreneurs that don't have any time already. Consider this... Walking for 30 minutes. According to the Mayo Clinic, the simple act of walking can not only reduce stress & tension but can also improve your mood and sleep patterns. Now, for sure it would be better to get to the gym and lift weights or do cardiovascular work for that 30 minutes but time does not always allow for that type of personal investment.
Show love and caring without conditions but don't expect anything in return. Do it out of the kindness of your heart and your passion for loving others well.
Financial instability: One of the biggest challenges of being an entrepreneur is the financial instability that comes with it. Starting and growing a business requires significant investments of time, money, and effort, and there is always the risk of financial failure. This can lead to added stress and a lack of financial security, which can impact your work-life balance. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, about 20% of small businesses fail within the first year, and about 50% fail within the first five years. To overcome this struggle, it is important to have a solid financial plan in place and to seek out support and resources to help manage your finances. Have an "emergency fund" in place for those situations (medical emergencies, car wrecks/major repairs, house or apartment repairs, etc.) that can leave you decimated if you aren't careful.
Social isolation: Being an entrepreneur can also lead to social isolation, as you may spend a lot of time working alone or with a small team. This can lead to feelings of loneliness and disconnection from others, which can have a negative impact on your mental health and overall well-being. Really, it's the story of any business owner. The feelings of distrust or people being out to take advantage of you are real and come from experience for a lot of entrepreneurs... According to a study by the University of Pennsylvania, social isolation can have negative effects on both physical and mental health, including increased risk of depression and cardiovascular disease. To overcome this struggle, make an effort to connect with others and build a support network. This can include attending networking events, joining professional organizations, or simply spending time with friends and family. A great piece of advice I received many years ago from a mentor was, to "think the best of those you surround yourself with but don't drop your guard too far. Show love and caring without conditions but don't expect anything in return. Do it out of the kindness of your heart and your passion for loving others well." Being a business owner or entrepreneur doesn't eliminate you from having friends or being super connected. It just makes it more difficult.
Overall, maintaining a healthy work-life balance as an entrepreneur requires a commitment to self-care and time management. By prioritizing your physical and mental health, setting boundaries, and seeking out support and resources, you can overcome challenges and find success in both your personal and professional life.
Want to find a place to work where you can get help finding that work-life balance? Well, Co.Labor is a community of like-minded business owners & entrepreneurs that can open up a whole new world of opportunities to your work experience. Come check us out or drop by our website to see more about who we are and what we offer in the way of coworking, private offices, conference rooms, and event spaces.
Aeon, B., Faber, A., & Panaccio, A. (2021). Does time management work? A meta-analysis. PLoS ONE, 16(1), e0245066. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0245066
"Best Time Management Apps in 2022." TechRadar, Future Publishing, Ltd., 12 Aug. 2022, www.techradar.com/best/best-time-management-solution.
"Walking: Trim Your Waistline, Improve Your Health." Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 19 May 2021, www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/fitness/in-depth/walking/art-20046261.
Castillo, Gonzalo Andrés. "Cómo armar un fondo de emergencia personal y qué hay que tener en cuenta." Forbes Argentina, Forbes Argentina S.A., 25 Oct. 2021, www.forbesargentina.com/money/como-armar-fondo-emergencia-personal-hay-tener-cuenta-n9266.