DEAR SOMEONE ELSE’S MOM: I really admire my fiancée, “T.” She started her own business doing custom etching and engraving.
She made a serious investment to get the machines and other supplies for the set-up, and lately things have been going well enough that she has covered the cost of those things, and she is starting to pull in some profit. She has started talking about being able to quit her fulltime job by the end of the year, if the pace of orders keeps up.
Her family, friends, and I are all really excited for her, but everyone has the same complaint — she is ALWAYS working and we never get to see her for more than a quick hour now and then. It’s rough on her family, even rougher on our relationship, and roughest of all on T.
We all get that she needs to devote herself to her business, but she will sometimes work until just a couple hours before she has to get to her regular job, so she is exhausted all the time.
Also when we were supposed to go on vacation this summer with her family to the place they rent on the beach every year, she got the time off from her regular job, but wouldn’t take the time away from the business because she had just gotten in back-to-back big orders for first a wedding and then a company that was having a massive banquet.
When we talk about T.’s schedule, her parents and I agree that at this rate, even if she quits her regular job, she will just put all those hours into the business and become a complete workaholic.
We all want to see her succeed, but how do we convince her there is more to life than building her business? --- MORE TO LIFE THAN WORK
DEAR MORE TO LIFE THAN WORK: Opening your own business is a major commitment, on many levels, especially if you want to succeed. For her sake, though, I agree T needs to find space for the other things in life beyond work.
If she’s open to it, perhaps you could suggest she hire someone to help her — even on a very parttime basis — with marketing, customer service, bookkeeping, accounts payable and receivable, and other areas T.’s probably squeezing in around the more creative aspects of her start-up.
Taking those functions off her plate might not just relieve some of the stress of juggling what sounds like two fulltime jobs, but likewise provide the added bonus of freeing T. up to reconnect with the world outside of work. And once she does, it may be easier for her to find a little better life-work balance in general.