Life is a series of relationships. As a young child growing up at home, we learn to relate to our parents, siblings, relatives, and friends. Fast forward to today and consider just how many more different relationships we have as adults. How can a small business owner successfully manage all of his or her relationships without upsetting their work life balance?
How Does He Do It?
Recently I spoke with my friend Ray who's running three different construction companies. Ray is a high-end builder of inner-city properties. When we spoke, Ray was juggling five large projects. He's also a proud father of two wonderful children, and is in the beginning stages of a new romantic relationship. Of course there's plenty of other relationships requiring his attention, but these three seem to take precedence. Just like everyone else, Ray only has 24 hours in a day. So how's Ray managing all of his relationships?
Ray's kids are in middle school and are extremely active in sports and extra-curricular activities. If you're a parent, you'll have to agree, kids require a great deal of time and attention. Grandparents will often say, "Spend the time with your kids, they grow up way too fast." Ray is keen to this advice, so he takes every step possible to not miss important events, including any downtime with his children.
The New Romantic Relationship
We've all been there, and we'll all probably agree, the first few years with that special someone is exciting and euphoric. "I'd like to see her every night if I could," says Ray, "but it's the damn paper work, the invoicing at the end of the day that's made it challenging!" Ray told me in the last few days he had to reply to over 200 emails. How then does he find the time to romance his new love?
Running Multiple Companies
Ray's up early to pack in as much as he can before dinner time, but he often still has at least two hours of paper work to tackle at the end of the day. He tells me he's not swinging a hammer as often, but instead spends most of his time checking up on, and chasing down contractors. "As you know, I'm an extremely energetic guy and not afraid of hard work," explains Ray. " You know, it's having to deal with so many personalities, half my day is spent running around putting out fires, it's exhausting!" Ray is a one-man show, with only silent partners, so he's responsible for ALL areas of his companies' management, administration, marketing, sales, etc.
That's How Ray Does It!
Frankly, I get tired just thinking about everything my friend has to do each day. I couldn't help but laugh when we spoke last, he must have spent 15 minutes explaining his to-do list. I told him he needs a personal assistant. He chuckled, "I have one, and honestly, I couldn't survive without one!"
Even though the terms 'Relationship Management' or 'Work-Life Balance' didn't come into my conversation with Ray, it was clear to me that he's figuring it out. He understands his limits, and has made decisions to outsource certain tasks in order to keep his companies running smoothly. Like many successful entrepreneurs, Ray has learned the importance of delegating time-consuming work to a virtual assistant.
Ray admits he's still too busy, but because of his choice to pass on his administrative tasks to a virtual assistant, he's able to meet his personal commitments to his children and girlfriend.
"It's kinda funny," jokes Ray, "by learning to trust a VA with my company paperwork, I've been able to maintain and increase the trust within my personal and customer relationships. When I tell my little girl I'm going to be at her dance recital, I can say so with confidence. I finally booked a trip to Mexico with my girlfriend because I can trust my assistant to handle the basic operations when I'm gone. I've also found that I now have more face time with my customers, and believe me, that goes a long way!"
Finding the right balance between work and one's personal life can seem daunting, and at times, frustrating. However, it's not impossible to have what we want both personally and professionally. Just look at my friend Ray, he's found success by letting go of his fears and eliminating all excuses. Ray's discovered a different approach to managing his relationship to work, and now has more time to spend with his family and friends. Ray's biggest problem now is what shorts to pack for his next trip to Mexico. Well done Ray, adios!
Media & Communications Consultant
A Better Way Virtual Assistant Inc.
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