Starting and running a business will have a profound effect on your personal life. For many entrepreneurs, the business actually becomes their personal life. A new business is like a young child—it needs constant care. As with having a child, the impacts to your life are many and varied.
First off, as an entrepreneur you don’t often have to answer to other people for your personal time. You answer to yourself. This is fantastic if you are able to focus, and are internally driven to take each day’s step in fulfilling your vision of a successful business. However, this can be disastrous if you are a procrastinator. Because you are not going to have the psychological pressure of somebody looking over your shoulder and telling you what to do, it is easy to lose track of what you are supposed to do. Don’t let that happen.
In a traditional job, employees are expected to work from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. with a one-hour lunch break, Monday to Friday. Vacation time will increase as the number of years with the company increases. Sound familiar? The pattern is familiar to all of us: get up in the morning, go to the office (busy time), come home (free time), and repeat the next day.
When you work in a traditional job, it is easy to fantasize about how much free time you would have if you worked for yourself. You can show up when you want, nobody will bother you if you take a three-hour lunch break, and nobody will bother you if you go home early. That’s right! Nobody will care if you don’t even show up at all! Sounds fantastic!
It is true that nobody will care if you are in free-time mode when you go out on your own. The problem is that if your business is not yet fully fledged, it will shrivel up and die quicker than a tulip in Death Valley if you are not careful. The truth of the matter (and something that many first-time entrepreneurs are shocked to learn) is that most self-run businesses demand much more time than any traditional job.
The fact is that because in the beginning the business is you, you are never away from it. With a nine-to-five job you can usually turn off the noise of the office and unplug when you go home. When you own your own company, there is often no such distance to be found by returning home. If you are a full-time entrepreneur, psychological distance is very hard to achieve because you have to make the business work to pay your rent and put food on the table. It is very hard to take the afternoon off and enjoy a movie if you know that that time could be spent doing what needs to be done for the business. Always the business! The business will perpetually be waiting for you to take care of something.