Life as a small business owner – is it all really worth it?

I have often turned to my husband who is also a small business owner & asked ‘Is it all really worth it?’

The long hours, an inability to ‘switch off’, cash flow pressures, staffing issues & a sense
of feeling overwhelmed. These are just some of the daily stressors facing small business owners. A vacation – what’s that?!

According to new research working long hours is putting business leaders at risk. The study published by medical journal The Lancet , found those who work 55 hours or more every week are 33% more likely to have a stroke than people who work a standard 38-hour week. Previous research has shown that those leading & managing small to medium businesses are likely to work very long hours & as a result are also at risk of suffering mental health problems.

Another recent study suggests nearly half (45%) of Australian small business owners are feeling more stressed this year than in the 12 months prior.

For small business owners, there is never an ‘off-switch’. It takes concerted & conscious effort to disconnect. We recently returned from a (very overdue) long weekend away with the family on the beautiful north coast of NSW.  We had just spent a glorious few days filled with the perfect mix of lazy breakfasts, walks along the beach, delicious local seafood washed down with a crisp white wine, & one of the best massages I’ve had in a long time (thanks Amanda at Yamba Remedial Massage!).

The best bit of the weekend? We detached (well actually pryed!) ourselves from our mobile devices & laptops.  A forced digital detox. We laughed, reminisced & spent the days reflecting on what’s important – our family. We left the weekend energized, refreshed & ready to tackle the next challenge. As we set off home we made a pact that would get away for a mini-break at least every 3-4 months.

So, back to the original question…is life at a small business owner really worth it? For most small business owners the perks override the downfalls. The personal satisfaction that comes from being your own boss, following your passion, challenging yourself & controlling your own destiny. For some, the flexibility & freedom that comes from working wherever you want, setting your own hours or wearing your pajamas whilst you work. Or matching how we work to our major life transitions (such as starting a family or transitioning into retirement) or our lifestyle. Hence, the answer to the question appears to be ‘yes it is…’