If you’re a small business owner, it’s quite likely you have two families – a work family and your family back home. While it can be easy to focus on the work side of things, your family also play an important role in your working life. As 15th May has, since 1993, been designated the International Day of Families by the United Nations, we thought it was a fitting occasion to celebrate the role that families play for all you small business owners, entrepreneurs and freelancers out there.

Life support
Families are a critical life support system for most small businesses, offering everything from inspiration, to funding, emotional and physical support, perspective, humour, and even a test bed for those crazy business ideas.

So it’s perhaps a worry that a Hiscox study into small business owners last year – DNA of an Entrepreneur – found that one in five respondents had less time for family and friends since the economic downturn, while 13% said that the downturn had affected their marriage or relationship.

Balancing your work life with your family life
For many, family support is essential, but family life can take a back seat against the all consuming demands of your business. So, in the spirit of International Day of Families, here are some tips to redress the balance and put your family life back where it belongs.

  • Switch off
    Start by switching off. Not from your family but from your office communications. Do you really need to check emails at the breakfast or dinner table? How about enforcing a post-8pm watershed for all your electronic communications?
  • Take a holiday
    There is no generous holiday allowance when you’re self employed but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take a holiday. Practically you may have to deal with some work when you’re away but allocate an hour in the morning to deal with anything outstanding and switch off (electronically) for the rest of the day.
  • Be organised
    One reason for starting up your own business may well have been so you can be your own boss. That means you can decide whether you go to your child’s sports day/family day/parents’ evening…Don’t pass up those opportunities. Schedule in family time.
  • Involve them
    Share what’s going on with your business with your spouse, children, and other immediate family. If you have a good win, share it. Likewise, if things are tough, share that experience too. They are your support network and will appreciate being involved. It will also help them understand when you have those work peaks that everybody who is their own boss inevitably faces.

What will you do to recognise your family and celebrate International Day of Families? Why not share your tips and advice below to other small business owners on how you maintain a healthy work/family life balance.