Designing Your Business to Fit Your Life!

Jul 2nd, 2010 | By | Category: Business Start-up Strategies, Latest Instructional Articles, Videos, ..., Leadership Development Strategies

By Becky Regan

Last week, I had an opportunity to play “career counselor” with my CPA on the phone. Like me, she too is self-employed with her own consulting practice. She was venting that just as soon as she got through tax season, cleaned up her client files and regrouped, summer arrived and her kids are out of school. She simply isn’t able to devote the time to her business that she could during the school year.

She confided that she’s frustrated by wearing so many “hats” and balancing so much. As if running a business and being a mother and wife weren’t enough, she’s considering going back to graduate school for her Masters in Tax (in her spare time!!).

Having been in the same situation as she finds herself now a little more than a decade ago, I empathized. We boomers were the first generation of women who thought they could “have it all” and do it without sacrificing their careers for their kids, or vice versa. It became an expectation and a financial necessity for most women that we would work outside of the home. Many years ago during a time of personally being overwhelmed, an article I read struck home with its simple advice: you don’t have to do everything at once. Its premise was that life is supposed to be long so you can focus on different things at different times over the span of your lifetime, and still accomplish a lot. It advised to set realistic priorities and permit yourself to take a long-term approach to achieving your life’s goals.

That sounds great but what do you do when your child has the flu, you’ve got a big meeting you can’t miss, and your husband/partner is out of town? Well, you do what you have to do to get through it. You teleconference into the meeting and hope your son or daughter sleeps through the meeting.

The bottom line is that something has to give. You’ve got to get a support system in place to enable you to honor your commitments. That can mean hiring an au pair, after school babysitter, cleaning lady, and/or buying pre-cooked meals. You’ve built your team at work; now you have to build a team for your personal life too (if you want to “have it all” without inflicting significant personal costs to your own health and well-being).

Guilt is such a huge issue, particularly when you have kids. There simply isn’t enough time in the day to accomplish everything you have to do without a support team in place. The same is true in running a small business. I can’t be “everything to everyone” all of the time. So I have to build independent systems and a team to support me to leverage my ability to provide my practice’s services and products to clients.

The career advice I gave to my CPA was to find an expertise in her field, that others in her field generally don’t know and practice. In my professional experience, my CCP certification has proven more valuable than my Master’s degree in HR & OD. The Master’s degree provides an important credential, particularly if you’re consulting with clients. But by the time I went to graduate school in my 40’s, I had worked in HR for so long that quite frankly (and not to sound like a “know-it-all”, I knew more than the instructors did about the topics being taught!

If she builds her support team for her personal life and builds her skill and knowledge in a tax accounting niche, she’ll be able to achieve goals she’s set for both her family and her business. It isn’t easy to step outside of the mode of just doing what you have to do to get through the day to focus on how you can become more proactive in managing your life. But it will make your life easier in the long run. And hopefully you’ll have the luxury of time in the future to tackle those other important goals on your life’s list.

Copyright 2008 Regan HR, Inc.

Becky Regan, M.A., CCP began her own consulting practice in 1995, Regan HR, Inc. to provide human resources consulting services to businesses in California. Her work as a consultant includes the full spectrum of HR technical expertise with an expertise in compensation studies. In addition to consulting with clients, in 2008 Becky expanded her practice to include online marketing of her custom HR products and established coaching programs for developing HR professionals. For more HR tips and to receive her FRE*E special report, visit http://www.ReganHR.com

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