Kathy Ireland smiling in a room

Achieving Work-Life Balance When You’re an Entrepreneur

Updated January 1, 1 . AmFam Team

Pursuing your dream of launching your own business can be exhilarating — and also a little overwhelming. As you navigate the entrepreneurial way of life, you may be tempted to put your personal life on the backburner. Yet, a healthy work-life balance can help you stay connected to the people and things you love and avoid entrepreneurial burnout. Striking the right balance takes some effort, but you can do it!

Kathy Ireland, American Family Insurance brand ambassador, is the chairperson, CEO and chief designer of kathy ireland® Worldwide (Opens in a new tab) (kiWW®), a multibillion-dollar global empire that she started while balancing being a wife, mother, advocate and friend. In this video, she shares her advice for achieving work-life balance as an entrepreneur and parent.


How to Create Work-Life Balance

As you strive to strike a balance, keep these two things in mind:

  • There will be days when your work life and home life are not in sync
  • The days you cross off every task on your personal and professional to-do lists will probably be few and far between.

Fortunately, you can take steps to help keep your business and your family running smoothly (most of the time).

Identify your personal priorities

One of the most important steps is to spend some time reflecting on the areas of your personal life that you hold close. Maybe it’s eating dinner as a family every night, volunteering in your community or cheering from the sidelines at your children’s activities. Whatever those personal priorities look like to you, schedule them on your work calendar just like you would a business meeting. Blocking off that time can help you honor those commitments and be fully present with the people you love.

Set personal and professional boundaries

Setting boundaries for yourself, your family and your clients is a key step in achieving and maintaining a healthy work-life balance. From setting bedtimes for the kids to letting clients know when you’ll be available to take calls and answer emails, creating some structure around your days — and sticking to it — can help keep your days feel more balanced. A big part of setting boundaries? Remembering that “no” is a complete sentence!

Delegate responsibilities

With CEO as part of your credentials, you may feel you need to have your hands in all things at all times. Not true! You hired smart, reliable people to join your dream team. Trust that their knowledge and skills will keep your business humming along when you’re not available. One effective strategy is to start each day by reviewing your to-do list with your staff to determine which tasks you can take off your plate and pass to others.

And if you’re the CEO of the household, that same strategy can work wonders to bring balance into your home life. Whether it’s a quick sit-down with your partner to review the upcoming week or a family meeting, taking a few minutes to get everyone on the same page can help keep daily life running smoothly. Simply knowing ahead of time who can pick the kids up from school and get them to their activities can ease the stress of a busy work week. If you have older children, let them plan and prep dinner one or two nights each week. Younger kids can help out with easy tasks like setting the table and feeding pets.

Build your village

On your path toward entrepreneurship, you likely reached out for help and developed a network of people you continue to rely on for support. You need that same level of support at home, too. The phase “It takes a village” applies to raising a family for a reason! Having a support system you can rely on to entertain the kids when a last-minute meeting pops up or help you prep for an important presentation is essential to achieving work-life balance. And remember, this circle of trusted friends and family members is also great to have in place for those times when you need to laugh, cry or vent!

Make time for yourself

When you’re the CEO of your own business, your own needs often drift to the bottom of what can be a very long to-do list. Taking care of yourself is essential! Even if it’s just 10 minutes a day, schedule some “me” time into your calendar to rest, relax and reset. Setting aside time to exercise, eat a healthy meal or just catch your breath will benefit you, your family and your clients.

There will be days when your CEO role outweighs your personal responsibilities, and vice versa. On those days when work and life get out of balance, remind yourself of these strategies, then take a moment to reflect on — and appreciate — how much your family and your business have each grown and evolved. You've achieved so much! When one area takes more of your time on any given day, balance it out by setting aside another day for the other to help you get back on track.

Remember, we’re here to support and protect your entrepreneurial dreams every step of the way! Looking for more career strategies to help you keep things moving forward? Browse our Career Growth Resources.

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