There’s nothing more exciting than breaking free of cubicle life and starting your own business. Finally, you can be your own boss and make your own rules. You get to decide how your time is spent, who you partner with and how you go about doing business. To be sure, there are a lot of benefits to running your own company.
But there are also quite a few drawbacks to entrepreneurship. For one, there’s no safety net – you’re putting most, if not all, of your eggs in the basket labelled “I’m going to start a business, and it’s going to be a success.” There are stressful decisions to be made on a regular basis regarding hiring, firing, pricing, planning, partnerships and more. The scale of work life balance tends to tilt toward the work side (if not crash to the floor).
We decided to survey hundreds of entrepreneurs to get answers to these questions, as well as several others. The responses surprised us – pleasantly, in some cases. In others, not so much.
How Many Hours Are Small Business Owners REALLY Working?
Work/Life Balance White Paper
When talking about work life balance, the first question should be “how many hours per week do you work?”
So we asked, and the general response was, “a lot.” Specifically:
• 19% work 60+ hours per week
• 30% work 50-59 hours per week
• 33% work 40-49 hours per week
• 14% work 30-39 hours per week
• 5% work less than 30 hours per week
Although around 1 in 5 business owners work less than the standard 40-hour work week – a major win for those who are able to achieve it – the majority are in the 40+ category. And there are still a significant number of entrepreneurs pulling 60+ hours per week.
The Reasons Why Entrepreneurs Are Working So Hard
If the “average” job consists of 40 hours per week with a two-week vacation, small business owners are working far more than average. But are they working too hard? In most cases, yes – 79% believe that they are working too much. Still, that leaves almost one in five business owners in the sweet spot of working without feeling overworked. The biggest reason small business owners are working more than they should? Because they feel like there are some tasks only they can handle (32%). A significant number also reported that their business requires a temporary increase in working hours (16%), that they need to make more money (13%), or that they’re worried about falling behind (8%).
Tips for Work Life Balance: It’s Possible With Strategic Planning
Though the survey showed there were some definite majority trends – the desire to spend more time with friends and family, a tendency to work weekends and a level of stress in the workplace – we were surprised at how truly eclectic and diverse our entrepreneurs revealed themselves to be. We were also able to pinpoint some of the common benefits of working with TAB, including fewer working weekends, more vacation time and increased success with strategic outsourcing. This has been through our advisory boards, one to one business coaching and our strategic planning tools. Small business owners will always be faced with the challenge of achieving a healthy work-life balance. At its core, entrepreneurship comes with a list of inherent risks and responsibilities – if it was easy, everyone would do it. But it’s difficult for a leader to be effective in a business (or any) setting if they’re stressed out in the workplace, working nonstop and hoarding tasks that could be passed off to somebody else. There has to be some sort of work life balance.
Examples of those who have achieved work life balance:
“By being more focussed on doing the right things and using my team better, I can genuinely say that TAB has saved me a couple of months a year. My TAB Board made me realise you only live once and encouraged me to take time off. That was great news for me and my family who I wasn’t spending enough time with. We hadn’t had a holiday in 7 years and I am now planning two this year and every other weekend off.” – Craig Daley, TAB Member since 2017.
Download our white paper on work life balance for more tips:
- Cover some key findings from a recent business owners survey
- Explore more work life balance drawbacks of owning your own business
- Dive into real work life balance solutions for entrepreneurs