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Striking a Balance Between Work and Home

Don't let go of your personal life just because you've started a business.

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The mad rush to succeed as quickly as possible and the image ofstart-up entrepreneurs working 18-hour days and living at theoffice became much more common during the dotcom boom of the late'90s. Flush with venture capital, entrepreneurs franticallystruggled to get established in what was a brand-new marketplace.To be sure, some succeeded. Many more burned out before their 30thbirthdays.

Is it still necessary to work hard to start a business?Absolutely. Is there sacrifice involved? Most likely. But do youhave to sacrifice everything for it? No. There are a whole spectrumof things to consider when making the transition to entrepreneur,and they're not all business-related. You must take friends andfamily into account. And as I always remind people, whetherentering into an entrepreneurial venture or moving into a newcareer, you must be sure to take care of your own health andspirit.

Keep in mind that whatever sacrifices you make, your family alsomakes. If children are in the picture, then their physical andemotional needs must still be met. This need not be complicated;much of what they require is simple in nature. Being present to goto school engagements, for example, is a simple thing but stillgives them emotional support. You have to make certain youdon't let this sudden rush of energy you'll inevitably haveas an entrepreneur seem wrong to your children. Make sure they feelit in a positive sense, and let some of that enthusiasm and energyspill over to them.

Another important factor that often leads to entrepreneurburnout is the ability, or the relative inability, to put aside theburden of work at the end of the day. As an employee, because youwork with others in an office environment, you can talk aboutoffice politics, projects and frustrations, at least in a passingway, with co-workers. Even if it's not a dedicatedconversation, it still allows you to "dump" some of thefrustrations of work so you don't take everything home to yourfamily. But as an entrepreneur, you may not have the luxury ofdoing that as casually as you would as an employee. And what'smore, as an entrepreneur, especially if you are a company of one,the burdens of work become much more personal to you, and you maybe less likely to leave them at the office. Separation of work andhome may become fuzzier, and if you're not careful about it,you'll find yourself "on duty" 24/7.

Remember, your cell phone has an "off" switch--use itto give yourself a little precious time to yourself and your lovedones. You most likely have voice mail, e-mail and fax capabilities,so people can relay messages to you when you're not availableand get a timely response once you've taken some time away andre-energized your spirit. It may seem as though you need to devoteevery minute of the day to your new business, but in the long run,this sort of fanatical devotion will actually hurt the businesswhen you start to run out of steam. If you work hard and take timefor yourself and your family on a regular basis, you'll findyourself succeeding to even greater heights than you had everimagined.

Janice Bryant Howroyd is founder, chairman and CEO ofTorrance, California-based ACT-1 Group, the largest womanminority-owned employment agency in the United States, with morethan 70 offices, 300 full-time employees, 65,000 temporary"stars" and annual revenues exceeding $500 million.Founded in 1978 around Howroyd's personal philosophy of"Keeping the Humanity in Human Resources," ACT-1 is todaya multidivision conglomerate serving such clients as Ford MotorCo., Gap Inc. and Sempra Energy and meeting demands forwell-educated and well-trained temporary, full-time and contractemployees. She has twice been honored by the Star Group as one of50 Leading Woman Entrepreneurs of the World.

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