Franchises offer entrepreneurs the opportunity to take control of their professional careers by allowing them to own a business which gives them an established product line and track record of success. But no one wants to trade in one hamster wheel for another. So in order to actually make the most out of being your own boss, you need to recognize those attributes which made franchise ownership appealing to you in the first place, and combine them with your need to maintain a fulfilling life outside of work.
Here are six tips to help you run a franchise while achieving a healthy work-life balance:
Set your goals. As you begin (or continue) your journey as a franchise owner, determine what your optimal work-life balance looks like. This means asking yourself whether you would like to work a certain number of hours each day or week, whether you would like to have nights or weekends off, or whether you want to set aside time for vacation each year. If, like many other entrepreneurs, your road towards franchise ownership was borne out of frustrations or disappointments with your 9-5 experience, then figure out exactly what it was about your previous job that made you unhappy. Remedying those issues and implementing strategies which set you on a path to achieve your work-life balance goals are a great way to ensure that you are getting the most out of your franchise ownership experience.
Once you have set your goals, stick to them. It is easy enough to say “I do not want to work on Sundays.” But then issues come up which distract you from this simple goal, and the next thing you know your goal of work-free Sundays has gone right out the window. As a franchise owner, you need to keep your goals at the forefront of your mind in order to make sure that you are not sabotaging your own opportunity to achieve a work-life balance. If this means disconnecting and setting work timeframes for yourself just as if you were “clocking in and out” at any other company, then so be it. Franchise owners who do not stick to their goals can find themselves losing the very reasons that they wanted to own their own business in the first place.
Put the franchise to work for you. Franchises are a specific type of business, one with both advantages and disadvantages like any other. But one of the primary advantages of owning a franchise is that you get to build upon the expertise of others. The most successful franchises will have proven records of success and an established market, reducing your overall responsibilities. The strength of the franchise allows you to put their success to work for you. For example, if you are facing a challenge in your business, check to see whether others in your field have already experienced, and successfully addressed, this same issue. This process can help you to achieve a better work-life balance by saving you the time of resolving a problem for which others have already found a solution.
Ask for help when you need it. When you purchase a franchise, you become a member of a well-functioning team. But that team can only help you succeed if you give it the opportunity to do so; in other words, having that team in place is only helpful if you turn to those team members when you need assistance. This can sometimes be difficult for those with the “entrepreneurial spirit” who wish to be the sole source of their own success. Remember, however, that the reason that you purchase a franchise is precisely to give yourself access to that established success record. When you can put the franchise team to work for you, you allow yourself to focus your energies elsewhere, resulting in a better work-life balance overall.
Do not allow yourself to become overburdened. Many business owners do not realize that they are unhappy with their current work-life balance until it is too late. Become aware of your own limits when it comes to your work, and address problems before they get out of control. For example, if you entered into the ownership process with a goal of working a maximum number of hours per week and you suddenly find yourself consistently working over that number, you need to take immediate action to determine how you can be more productive with your time so that you can work a more reasonable schedule. The problem is that once you work so many hours week after week, you become accustomed to this busier schedule. Over time, your work-hours goal is forgotten, and you wonder how you ever would have worked such a minimal schedule in the first place. Address your “goal-meeting” issues head-on and early to minimize their impact on your life before it is too late.
Place value on your own happiness. Remember that you are more than what you do for a living. You are also a parent, a child, a neighbor, and a friend. Take time to treat yourself, whether that means seeing a movie, going to a nice dinner, or simply spending time with loved ones. Get into the habit of valuing your own happiness as an individual–not as simply a franchise owner–to remind yourself that a happier overall life was the goal of purchasing a franchise in the first place.