Although working within your own business often comes with more flexibility and freedom, managing a healthy work and family balance as a business owner presents a whole new set of challenges. Work becomes your priority and living to work becomes a harsh reality; my cousin is the perfect example of this.
He runs a successful air-conditioning installation business which has expanded quite rapidly over the past 3 years. During this time he also had twins. Being on the tools, and the key driver of the business, the issues started arising almost immediately once the twins were born. He couldn’t afford to have a long period of time off to settle them in at home because if he was not working then there was no income. In the evenings when he would return home from work you’d think he would be replacing the tools with a baby bottle but instead he was up all night completing paperwork and invoicing clients. Securing and chasing contracts was his priority which meant he missed out on significant moments in the twins’ lives. Moments he wouldn’t be able to experience again. The tipping point for him was when the twins took their first steps and where was he? – At work of course. This is when he started implementing some simple changes to improve the balance in his life and they’re changes you should consider too.
- The first change he made was hiring an apprentice. This was a huge move for him, especially giving up complete control and putting trust in another to get the job done but it paid off. Hiring an apprentice allowed him to free up some time during the day so that he could tend to paperwork and focus on invoicing. He also acquired two more installers and as a result was able to, for the first time in 3 years, arrive home before dark.
- He also began to switch off his phone once he pulled into the garage and dared to not check his emails. He had a landline connected at home so if there was an emergency he could still be contacted. Not constantly checking his emails and tending to phone calls meant he was enjoying changing nappies, bath time and bedtime stories.
- He was so used to working 7 days a week and up to 12 hour days, often away from home, that when his wife said to put a stop to weekend work he almost passed out. However he began delegating weekend work to his employees instead and now has his weekends free to spend with his loved ones.
- He developed a strong relationship with his accountant who specialises in accounting for tradesmen. His accountant was able to help him manage his tax, assist with all his activity statement requirements, bank reconciling and supported him with quoting. This removed significant time sinks and stress from his life.
- He updated his accounting software. My cousin is a creature of habit. Since starting his business, he had always used a simple spreadsheet (which was only simple to him because he was the only one who could follow it) to record his information. Every night he would come home, crack open a cold one and take the laptop out onto the patio to click away. This was until his accountant put him onto Xero. The dynamic software allowed him to free up his evenings, gave his accountant real time access to his accounts and invoicing, allowed him to manage his employees and streamlined his processes remarkably.
Implementing these 5 simple steps can make a world of difference to your life. If you feel like you are not spending enough time with your family or are not maintaining a healthy work life balance then take action! Contact one of our specialist tradies accountants today to find out how you too can spend more time with those who count.