Social media is a helpful communication tool for businesses as it allows them to communicate directly with customers and engage them in conversations. Social media can also help you to increase your customers’ brand awareness and find new contacts or business opportunities. If you want to become active on social media, but don’t know [...]
The New Norma Project - Life First, Work Second
After struggling with many work/life balance issues themselves, Jayne and Valerie established the NewNorma Project to examine how work/life balance can become a reality for any woman running her own business.
Through the NewNorma Project, Jayne and Valerie delved into many variables concerning female business owners' experience of work/life balance. Their research involved seeking the views of women entrepreneurs on what they call life: work balance - to reflect the priority they place on an holistic life balance. The women who responded to their survey and one-on-one interviews were business owners from around the world - rural areas, cities and towns in Europe, Africa, Asia, North America and Australasia.
Jayne and Valerie found that more women (just over half) reported they had achieved life work balance than those who lacked it and over one-third said they had both life balance and business success. In contrast, less than half felt they had achieved business success and sadly, just under one third said they had neither.
While business success was defined in many ways by the respondents, life balance and other qualitative aspects figured strongly in their definitions:
"It's basically, not about wealth, but how you feel"
"Success is when you run the business and the business doesn't run you"
"I have freedom to choose whatever I want, when I want"
The length of time to achieve balance ranged from 1 to 10+ years, with almost half respondents reporting they had achieved life: work balance in 1-5 years, and another third taking 10 or more years. Most women said there was a cost in attaining balance, usually in the form of sacrificing income and undertaking constant vigilance.
A further cost that became apparent through the NewNorma project was the almost universality of guilt impinging on working mothers. Although there was no question on guilt in the survey, the word was used frequently by women in many different countries and with all sizes of business.
"I don't think there's one woman who doesn't feel guilt and I think men don't really understand. And it's guilt about everything", one respondent said.
However, guilt provided a motivating force too. One woman told how her inspiration to start her business to have life work balance came about as a result of the guilt she felt about missing school events when she was an employee.
Proven Strategies for Balance
While there are no shortcuts to achieve balance, Jayne and Valerie have identified a number of proven strategies implemented by many successful, balanced entrepreneurs, including:
- Plan for the important things first - and this means looking after you. If you are not in top condition you can't be as effective in your business OR at home.
- Match your life work balance life-cycle with your business life cycle.
- Get help - outsource, barter, but focus on concentrating on what you do best and get help with the rest.
- Stop feeling guilty and use that time and energy on what will really bring results.
They will shortly release their full research findings, including additional life: work balance strategies, in a white paper entitled Life: Work Balance Strategies for Women Entrepreneurs and Business Owners. For a free copy go to www.guiltfreebusinessmothers.com.
In the meantime, if you'd like to contribute to Jayne and Valerie's ongoing research into life: work balance, please visit www.newnorma.com to take part in their current 60-second survey "Is your Partner Helping or Hindering Your Business Success?"