May 9, 2014

When Life Intrudes On Entrepreneurship

work life balanceOne of the best aspects of entrepreneurship can also pose the biggest complication.  You’re at the helm of the company, making all the decisions, and  that’s invigorating, exciting, and sometimes a little frightening on a day-to-day basis.  Until the rest of your life takes a severe left turn and you scramble to pick up the pieces while still keeping your business up right and looking professional.   Unfortunately, there’s no one to cover for you when you’re the CEO, head chef, shipping and receiving clerk, accountant, customer service rep, IT support, and dishwasher.  Sometimes these life left turns are wonderful events – like having a baby.   Even then though, sleepless nights and teething can place a real strain on your entrepreneurial aspirations.  Or upcoming weddings – and the vocal opinion of family members that tends to bring – may leave you feeling zapped of energy.

And then sometimes it’s the things you don’t count on.  I once spent several weeks during my business’ busiest time of year hobbling around on crutches thanks to a broken leg. I know folks who have struggled through relationships falling apart that have left them feeling utterly rudderless but they’ve still had to smile when customers called.  Family emergencies may mean you have to leave everything and get on a plane and even something as seemingly minor as an aging pet may mean juggling your schedule so that you can get you four-legged best friend to the vet as, when, and as often as needed.

The truth is that life doesn’t ever stop and let you be at your entrepreneurial best.  It’s constantly a struggle to give everything you can to the business and to the rest of your life on the best of days.  It’s even more of a struggle when the scales tip, as they always do from time to time, and you need to put entrepreneurship on the back burner for a while as you take care of more pressing life concerns.

So let me ask you this – when that happens, how do you manage the juggling act?  How do let customers, vendors, clients, etc. know that you’re still focused, serious, and in this business for real without letting your family, your pets, or your own sanity down?

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4 comments on “When Life Intrudes On Entrepreneurship

  • Ellin Purdom on said:

    Jennifer, this is so relevant to us today! Six weeks ago I fell out of a treehouse (yes really) in my backyard breaking my back in two places. I am so lucky my injuries are not worse and now face a long rehab in front of me. Well, this has put an amazing amount of pressure on my business partner & cousin Catherine (both emotionally & professionally). Fortunately, we are in our off season and summer is traditionally slower for our confection company. This has brought some relief so we are not overwhelmed. I can continue social networking for Toffee Talk on my back which has provided a wonderful distraction for me as I mend. Our fans & followers on twitter, Instagram, Pinterest & Facebook don’t even know we have faced this setback. Business as usual! One more shining light in this situation is that we have a wonderful High School Senior as a three week full time intern. Learning how we run our company and chronicling it in a blog! Extra hands for FREE in time of need great need . Here is the link to her Toffee Talk blog.
    We love reading your posts and thank you for your insight, tips and advice. Fondly, Ellin

    • Jennifer on said:

      Oh no, I’m so sorry to hear about your back. How frightening! Glad to hear you have some help but undoubtably this is hard for all of you. Heal quickly and stay out of the trees!

  • caren on said:

    I just took a detour and finished a personal training crediential which distracted me from my business for a long time. I find that planning and scheduling a lighter load helps and also scheduling social media posts so that it looks like the lights are still on in your business.

    • Jennifer on said:

      Thanks for sharing your social media scheduling tip. As you mentioned, doing what you can to make it look like the lights are on (wonderful analogy!) can go a long way when you’re feeling like your plate is overloaded. Congratulations on you personal training credentials!