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Throwing a Monkey Wrench Into Your Relationships

Be prepared for the changes being an entrepreneur will mean for you, your friends and your loved ones.

Remember Carole King's 1960s song lyrics, "I feel the earth move under my feet"? Sometimes that's what starting a business feels like. Just when all of your family and friends are comfortable, you throw a monkey wrench into their lives.

Your near and dear have called you honey, mom, sis or girlfriend for years. Now you've layered a new name--entrepreneur--over all the others. As happens when you add any new, important relationship, you reconfigure your life. Your new passion will take time, attention and money--and not always the way you might anticipate.

Starting a business takes a lot of time. Your life is already full, with patterns that have existed for years and that others have come to expect. The big question is how to layer another important component into your day.

Time management is crucial. Among the outstanding books on this topic is Julie Morgenstern's Time Management from the Inside Out: The Foolproof System for Taking Control of Your Schedule and Your Life. The book offers excellent insights for determining an effective work pattern for you and your lifestyle. While any new system takes time to put into place, conducting a thoughtful review of where your new passion can most effectively and harmoniously fit into your life is worth the time spent. It could save hours of crisis management.

Keep Things Humming Along
Friends and family are happy to be front and center in your life. A new "love"--and that is what many of our businesses are--is not always warmly welcomed. You may feel yourself changing, too. To start a business is so exciting. You feel creative. You meet new people. You challenge yourself in new ways. You are having tons of fun along with your work. However, this can upset a status quo that may have existed for years.

Conduct an objective review to help smooth over the inevitable bumps. Is there a way you can bring others into your excitement? Can you make other arrangements to ensure that your household continues to run predictably? Delegation is an important skill. Perhaps many of the tasks you have been solely responsible for can be given to someone else. These may not be done as beautifully as you have done them, but keep your eye on the trade-off: more time with those who are important to you.

Don't Become Disconnected
Explore ways you can stay connected to friends when your time is more limited. When any type of change occurs, the natural instinct is to cling to known behavior. Helping others grow more independent and being more creative in maintaining relationships pays huge dividends. We can't always foresee the demands on our time coming from our business, but we can let those close to us know that we value them. That said, some friendships may not survive the changes in you and your life. Sometimes that's the price of personal growth.

A new business can impact your finances in several ways. First, you may choose to funnel all of your discretionary income into your new venture, limiting the amount you have for dining out, traveling or going shopping with girlfriends. You have made a choice that changes how you spend both your dollars and your time. Be sensitive, but remember that it's your money and your life to spend in ways that make you feel wonderful. You may ease the transition by finding creative ways of connecting that don't require cash.

A second possibility is that your business will take off like a rocket, and you'll have more money in your checking account than ever before. Great--except there will be friends and family who can no longer do what your newfound prosperity allows. This also can be a tough development to handle. You want to enjoy the fruits of your labor, and you want to do it with those you love. Once again, sensitivity is key, as is open communication to find out what friends and family are comfortable with.

You want the people you love to become your loudest cheerleaders, secure in their place and happy for your success. When you accomplish that, the earth may feel like it has moved, but your foundation will be strong.

Bonnie Price, founder of Silver Vixen Enterprises, is a lifelong entrepreneur. She owns SilverVixens, an online membership community to connect and inform Women of a Certain Age. She also writes the After 55 blog.

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