Reconciling Entrepreneurial Success and Family Responsibilities

by Dr. Patty Ann Tublin

It is amazing to think that women have been working outside the home for more than half a century! And yet, if we are really honest, we have not come much closer to helping women create success in their business and careers without sacrificing happiness in their marriage and family life than we were when women first hung up their apron strings over fifty years ago.

Do you know one woman who has actually achieved work/life balance as described in the media? Really, do you know even one woman? I don't—and I know plenty of smart savvy women. This is enough evidence to suggest that this whole work/life balance debate is a myth. It is like searching for the Holy Grail. Work/life balance has been painfully perpetuated on women and their families for quite some time now—just giving us another thing to feel guilty about not achieving!

As female entrepreneurs, we went into business for ourselves so we can create a life we love. Yet, for all the advantages of owning your own businesses, there are also many challenges and difficulties you don't have to deal with when working for someone else.

Whether you have children or not, female entrepreneurship brings its own set of struggles for women who are multitasking at what feels like the speed of light. The biggest challenges I hear from my entrepreneurial clients (and the corporate ones also) is the difficulties and frustrations they experience trying to do "it" all.

We all know what "it" includes:

  • building a successful business,
  • taking care of the kids and the house,
  • finding time for romance with your partner—or even finding time for a romantic connection,
  • and finally—and unfortunately—with this item often being at the very bottom of our to-do list, finding time to take care of ourselves.

This struggle has been enveloped in the term "work/life balance" and it is my firm belief that this concept has lead women on a wild goose chase!

So rather than beginning with this false "work/life balance" premise, let's begin with a discussion of the most fatal, and most common mistake many married entrepreneurial women make when starting their own business—and that is: rushing into business decisions without careful thought and discussion of how their business dreams will involve and affect their family.

Every business expert will tell you that you need to create a business plan to be successful. But we also need to create a family plan if we are to successfully reconcile our work and family responsibilities.

So what exactly is a family plan? A family plan is a map as well as a compass for your entrepreneurial adventure. Creating a family plan will not eliminate your romantic vision or throw cold water on your entrepreneurial dream. It will, however, ensure that you are at least traveling with your partner on the same path, in the right general direction.

Thoroughly discussing your business dreams and planning with your family will help you choose the entrepreneurial path with the most potential for satisfying your long-term individual, couple, and family goals.

Your family plan involves asking yourself very specific questions designed to launch you and your partner into initial discussions of some of the larger issues related to entrepreneurship and self-employment. These questions are a good start toward thinking about your family plan issues.

In my upcoming course, I will walk you through a proven system and strategies that begin with these family planning discussions and go deeper so as to enable you to prepare and create a thorough family plan that complements, rather than competes, with your business plan. I will give you essential tools for creating a successful marriage and family life as you pursue your entrepreneurial business.

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