The various ways a female franchisee can balance her life
If you ask any female franchisee why she decided to strike out on her own in preference to working for a boss, a common reason you hear is ‘I wanted more freedom and flexibility’.
In a recent GoDaddy survey, half of South African small business owners say the flexibility of running their own business is the best aspect of being a franchisee/entrepreneur.
However, the reality can be rather different as the lines between home and office and between personal time and work time can blur, most especially in a world where women are often the homemaker.
A stark attraction of franchising over other forms of self-employment, is it gets the lady of the house out of the house. But still, women can find themselves overwhelmed by the amount of work and the number of chores they need to manage unless they achieve a satisfying work-life balance.
To celebrate Women’s Month, let’s look at some headline ways for female franchisees to both succeed in business and achieve a more harmonious work-life balance:
Claim your seat at the boardroom table: Too often, the female partner in a business gets stuck in the mundane day-to-day management tasks, and relinquishes the strategic role to the male partners in the business. Make sure you remain involved in the strategic leadership of the business, even if it is not your inclination. When the time comes for the big strategic decisions to be taken, you would want to be fully part of it.
Manage time carefully
The key to achieving the balance you would like between work and life is to make the most of every moment of the day. This involves managing one’s schedule carefully, using such available tools as the calendar in Outlook or a wallchart to mark one’s schedule. Apart from budgeting time for every activity, an evaluation process should be employed to find what went wrong – enabling corrective action.
To this end consider:
- Keeping focused on each task at hand until completion. Research has proven that multi-tasking is not effective, especially for tasks requiring more mental effort.
- While doing any task, don’t pay attention to e-mails and social media notifications.
- Put phones on silent and laptops on airplane mode.
Outsource wherever financially possible
No woman should try be Superwoman and do everything herself. She should build a support system and ask for help whenever she needs it: that may be the spouse/partner, kids helping with housework or asking a family member to help with babysitting. An au pair may be affordable. It may also means outsourcing business tasks and chores to someone else when it makes sense for items which often backlog, including filing, bookkeeping and tax or marketing. When making such decisions, ensure the amount you will pay the person to do the work is less than the value of your own time, or one will simply have to work even harder to pay that new bill.
Establish boundaries between work and personal life
That means managing demanding clients who expect to be able to phone one at any time of the evening during family time. It also means cordoning off business hours from family disruptions.
To this end consider:
- Franchises are great places to involve the family, but it should be for work purposes and not having kids running wild.
- As far as possible, one should disconnect from work e-mails and phone calls at the end of the work day to balance work with spending quality time with one’s family.
- Either have an au pair or schedule playdates and extra murals for children when they’re out of school.
- Set aside specific times to take care of personal tasks.
- Learn to say no more often.
Don’t sacrifice mental and physical health
Many female entrepreneurs will first sacrifice themselves before others. Don’t! They should maintain their regular schedules of coffee with friends; gym; any creative activities; and even household chores can bring calmness to life. Abandoning these will create difficulties down the line and affect a woman’s productivity.
Taking care of business and family starts with taking care of one’s own wellbeing.