By Neil King
Does being self employed mean you can relax and enjoy a bit of free time? We find out.
Entrepreneurship is about freedom, isn’t it?
Well… yes and no. Freedom to pursue your business ideas, yes; freedom to kick back and relax, definitely not. Some say that entrepreneurship is more about sacrifice than freedom, so don’t expect to gain lots of leisure time when you become your own boss.
So I’m supposed to work until I drop?
Of course not. Running your own company is exhausting, so you need to have balance. You’re no good to anybody if you’ve not slept for days on end, so you have to make sure you get your rest. The point isn’t to kill yourself in pursuit of business success, it’s to find ways to optimise your working capability – your energy, your enthusiasm, and your productivity.
How do I find that balance?
It differs from person to person. Some might find balance by taking up a hobby and dedicating a couple of evenings a week to doing that. Others might meditate, or see friends. Others might like working on other projects. Some might not actually need or want anything in their lives and are balanced enough by their work. If you need time off to function well in your job (as well as maintaining good physical and mental health), then put that in your schedule.
When do I get a holiday?
Some entrepreneurs will tell you they haven’t had a holiday for years. Others will tell you they built regular holidays into their long-term strategy. You have to approach it the way you want. If you want – or feel like you’ll need – a holiday every six months, write it into your schedule and work around that time. For most entrepreneurs, however, things are so full-on that holidays – certainly long ones – will have to take a back seat for a while. Try weekend breaks instead as a more realistic escape.
It’s my dream to have lots of free time
You certainly won’t get it straight away, but it’s something you can work towards. A great many people set up their business with the goal of early retirement, or part-time hours, so it’s definitely achievable. But entrepreneurship is very often about passion. If you’re more passionate about time off than you are about the business itself, will you have the drive to truly make it work?
So I’m destined to work flat out?
Not necessarily, but ultimately most start-ups are one-person, or two-people teams. There are so many jobs to do within the business just to set it up, let alone keep it alive, make it profitable, and grow, so you’ll probably be doing more than imagined. Just don’t run yourself into the ground. Make provision for rest periods, and hopefully the time spent working won’t feel so exhausting.