Working out how much I need to work to maintain a healthy work/life balance

Discussion in 'General Business Forum' started by K0608, Jun 7, 2019.

  1. K0608

    K0608 UKBF Regular Free Member

    140 5

    I run a limited company (I'm the sole employee but employ a number of freelance guides) I was just wondering whether anyone had any advice when it comes to working out how much I actually need to work. In a nutshell, I run a mountaineering and climbing company based in the Scottish Highlands. Most of our days out are private days, at approx £220-240/day, however, the work is somewhat seasonal, with the peak months being Jan-March, May, June and September. April, July an August tick over and November and December are generally quite quiet.

    I'm asking this, as I've recently separated from my long term partner (she left me), with one of the reasons being that I was far too work focused and pre-occupied with work when not working. I could easily be answering emails at 6am, head out on the hill at 7am, then still do a further 2 to 3 hours of admin in the evenings. I thought it was the right thing to be doing (I didn't particularly enjoy the admin, but thought it was necessary to grow the business). I've since realised that I don't wish to keep expanding the business, which is current VAT registered and making sure we sail past the threshold is quite tricky in itself and not without stress.

    I've therefore decided to scale down the business and to reclaim more time for myself (which will undoubtedly make me happier), but can anyone give any advice on how to perhaps calculate the number of days myself and my freelance guides need to be out on the hill to make it work for me. I know it's very situational depending, but I've not got any dependants.
    Posted: Jun 7, 2019 By: K0608 Member since: May 22, 2017
  2. AllUpHere

    AllUpHere UKBF Ace Free Member

    3,022 1,087
    Nobody can give you any help with the information in the thread. It all depends how much money you need, and where you want to be in the future. You can live on very little money, but it will be a shock when one day you wake up in your 40's, and realise you are renting a house (or have just one house worth a few hundred grand) , have no real savings, and all you are going to look forward to is a life of poverty in your old age. To live a decent lifestyle once you retire you should be thinking in millions rather than thousands.

    Don't let one failed relationship knock you off track. Find a bloke / girl who will get out on the hills with you.
    Posted: Jun 7, 2019 By: AllUpHere Member since: Jun 30, 2014
  3. tony84

    tony84 UKBF Big Shot Free Member

    5,547 978
    There is no real information to work from.

    How much do you want to earn after all expenses?
    To earn that much money, how much will it cost you (in paying guides, advertising, taxes, insurance expenses etc)?
    Add those 2 together.
    How many days does that equate to?
    What percentage of days get cancelled due to bad weather? Add that percentage on.

    As an example....
    Lets say I want to earn £30k a year.
    To earn that much, my costs will be £7k.
    I need to write £37k in order to come out with £30k.
    Each customer of ours averages £1k.
    So I need 37 customers.

    (Not real figures but it gives you an idea).
    Posted: Jun 7, 2019 By: tony84 Member since: Apr 14, 2008

    MY OFFICE IN CHINA UKBF Big Shot Full Member

    4,314 870

    Get (and train) a Manager to take over or assist with the workload that causes you to work unsociable/long hours.

    Devoting too much time to your business may well benefit your business, but in many circumstances will have a detrimental affect on your family life.

    Initial training and overseeing the manager's work is essential.

    The alternative is to do what @AllUpHere mentioned above - "Don't let one failed relationship knock you off track. Find a bloke / girl who will get out on the hills with you."
    Posted: Jun 7, 2019 By: MY OFFICE IN CHINA Member since: Nov 16, 2011
  5. estwig

    estwig UKBF Legend Free Member

    12,220 4,271
    Mate, I feel for you.

    The only advice I can offer in my search for the ever elusive work-life-balance, is to make it a business goal to, 'do less for more'.

    It's simple, it works, it's been my priority for a number for years now and if you could quantify happy, I think I am.
    Posted: Jun 7, 2019 By: estwig Member since: Sep 29, 2006
  6. Mr D

    Mr D UKBF Legend Free Member

    16,148 1,801
    Partners can be funny about wanting your attention. A houseshare may suit some, others want more of a relationship.

    Can spend too much time on a business. Have known several people who had what seemed to be a successful business but it consumed them - they could not switch off, they could not take time for the family.
    Knowing when to set limits - business time when relationships come second, personal time where business gets ignored, spare time where either one can have priority but keep that priority.
    Posted: Jun 7, 2019 By: Mr D Member since: Feb 12, 2017
  7. K0608

    K0608 UKBF Regular Free Member

    140 5
    Thanks all for the replies. I know it's not a forum about relationships etc. but my now ex-partner (of many years) was perfect for me in pretty much every single way, I was just too focused on the business to realise this until to was too late.
    Posted: Jun 8, 2019 By: K0608 Member since: May 22, 2017

    MY OFFICE IN CHINA UKBF Big Shot Full Member

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    Thats sad to hear.

    Is a reconciliation out of the question if you 'give up' your business?
    Posted: Jun 8, 2019 By: MY OFFICE IN CHINA Member since: Nov 16, 2011
  9. K0608

    K0608 UKBF Regular Free Member

    140 5
    I had thought about it, but I really enjoy the work that I do (less so the admin). I inherited the business, which was an amazing stroke of fortune, as I went from largely freelancing to running one of the most respected mountain guiding businesses in the UK. That said, I've wondered about whether it's been a poison chalice from day one, but I don't think that the business is to blame, it's been my attitude to it and as my ex-partner has stated on more than one occasion... I'm in the very fortunate position of having a business that I can mould into what I want and make it work for me. As mentioned before, I was too focused on growing it, with no real end-goal in mind.
    Posted: Jun 8, 2019 By: K0608 Member since: May 22, 2017

    MY OFFICE IN CHINA UKBF Big Shot Full Member

    4,314 870
    The business sounds great, however as you move on in life, other things become more important.

    Enjoy the business, but you've learned (perhaps the hard way) that a balance between work and family/leisure must always be the priority.

    Can you outsource areas of the business that you don't 'enjoy'?
    Posted: Jun 8, 2019 By: MY OFFICE IN CHINA Member since: Nov 16, 2011
  11. Victoria_V

    Victoria_V UKBF Regular Full Member

    127 16
    Stepping away from the business side of things, I believe in ANY situation it’s helpful to talk things over with your partner and set up realistic expectations from the get go. They felt like you weren’t paying attention to them due in part to your (lack of) work-life balance and it could’ve yielded a completely different outcome if you guys just talked it through. Going forward, it could be helpful to set up strict boundaries in relations to separating your work and personal life:

    1. Set up times during the day when you ONLY check emails (i.e. one hour in the morning, one in the afternoon, and one in the PMs)

    2. Delegate and outsource (can’t stress this enough). Yes, it’s not always easy to start delegating tasks to other people, but you have to trust people around you, otherwise you’ll always feel overwhelmed.

    3. Make the most of your time: see if you can find days which are relatively less busy (even parts of day for starters) when you can turn off your phone (or put it on silent) and spend some time offline with your friends and family. Maybe forward your phone calls and emails to a trusted point of contact during that time.

    4. Test out different approaches and see what works in your case.
    I didn’t touch on the business side of things because no one knows your business as well as you do, and I can see that it is an important part on your life so you won’t be sacrificing its success for the sake of maintaining a relationship. Just be more strategic with your time and communicate with your partner/family. Maybe you could even reach out to your ex-partner and ask them what you could’ve done differently (that is, if you parted on good terms).
    Posted: Jun 8, 2019 By: Victoria_V Member since: May 29, 2019
  12. The Byre

    The Byre UKBF Ace Free Member

    8,856 3,462
    I have it on good authority (my wife told me) that there are lots and lots of men and women on Planet Earth. Some of them respect a guy who puts every minute of every day into his business.

    I am 68 and I work every day. Sundays included. It's who I am. I'm just starting a new company and it's going to be a long, hard and up-hill battle. It's been years since I had a holiday and as nice as it was, I was so glad to get back into the saddle and get back to work.

    Family time - give me a break! A healthy work-life balance is work, followed by beer and a movie.

    I have a friend who is much the same. He lives near Trier in Germany. I asked him how his love life is going and he told me that he is still with the same woman.

    "So where is she?" I asked.

    "At home in Bernkastel." he replied.

    "But that's 37 kilometers away!"

    He looked me in the eye and said, "Thirty-seven kilometers is exactly the right distance for a woman!"

    So if you are in Fort William, get a Polish girlfriend in Inverness. (1) It's even further. (2) Polish women are healthy and look good. (3) They LIKE men who work hard!

    P.S. They can also cook!
    Posted: Jun 8, 2019 By: The Byre Member since: Aug 13, 2013
  13. James Johnson

    James Johnson UKBF Newcomer Free Member

    27 8
    ROTFL !!! That’s the best post (above) I have read this year, literally laughing so hard. Brilliant.
    Posted: Jun 8, 2019 By: James Johnson Member since: Sep 23, 2018
  14. Stas Lawicki

    Stas Lawicki UKBF Newcomer Free Member

    24 4
    It sounds like a pretty tricky situation you are in. Perhaps try the following - sit in a quiet but comfortable room with a piece of paper and a pen. Write a list of the important things in your life (values), and order them 1 being most, 5 least, important. Really think about them. They can be tangible, material, emotional, it doesn't matter but really think about what is important in your life and come up with a plan to spend more time on those values. Running a business is great, it is hard work and can be extremely demanding - you don't need to be turning over millions as a ceo to be stressed out running a company, start-ups can be horrendous on the work life balance. They can also be great in helping you achieving a flexible one.

    I've done this exercise with various people and its amazing how often 'work' doesn't feature on people's priorities list, yet it is often the cause of people's stress and problems. Are you putting yourself under pressure to make this business work? Do you want to? Do you have a plan of where you want to take the business? Is losing the person you love worth it? Can you adapt work life to give you more flexibility in your private life?

    Life rushes by us at a frightening pace. Lots of us push and push to achieve and along the way we miss the milestones of fun, love, life, family etc. Look at the values and see what you come up with.

    Good luck.
    Posted: Jun 10, 2019 By: Stas Lawicki Member since: Nov 14, 2017
  15. K0608

    K0608 UKBF Regular Free Member

    140 5
    Thanks for the message, really appreciate it. I've really been questioning my priorities in my life over the past month, since the break-up, and for the past few years, work was at the top, as I thought that is what required the most attention. Unfortunately, I was wrong and being in the position I'm in now, it's clear to me what my actual priorities are.

    I've put myself under way too much pressure to develop the business and pull in the work, when actually, it's probably played a big part in me being unhappy. Losing the love of my life was definitely not worth it!

    I'm happy for the business to tick over, provide me with a good level of income, but to not expand (I'm currently VAT registered and that in itself is a fairly stressful thing, as I need to work disproportionately harder to stay far enough it for it to be worthwhile). I'm looking to deregister at the earliest opportunity.
    Posted: Jun 15, 2019 By: K0608 Member since: May 22, 2017

    MY OFFICE IN CHINA UKBF Big Shot Full Member

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    A lesson for all!

    (The first 2 paragraphs) . . . .
    Posted: Jun 15, 2019 By: MY OFFICE IN CHINA Member since: Nov 16, 2011
  17. The Byre

    The Byre UKBF Ace Free Member

    8,856 3,462
    You will be feeling all down right now, but over half the World's population are women and many of them will be right for you.

    According to my wife (I gain all wisdom at her feet!) there are loads of attractive and available women out there. For women, finding a good man is the hard part. Men (she told me) are like public lavatories - occupied, bust or full of shite.

    So go forth young man, knowing that you are none of those!
    Posted: Jun 15, 2019 By: The Byre Member since: Aug 13, 2013

    MY OFFICE IN CHINA UKBF Big Shot Full Member

    4,314 870
    Words of encouragement . . . . . .beautifully told!
    Posted: Jun 15, 2019 By: MY OFFICE IN CHINA Member since: Nov 16, 2011
  19. Flankaaa

    Flankaaa UKBF Contributor Free Member

    36 2
    I am not sure what is actual question here? Is it if you need to work less, or were you in relationship with the right person? If you have really enjoyed being in the relationship with you ex, then you would definitely spend more time with her. Right? So, continue with your work and life
    Posted: Jun 16, 2019 By: Flankaaa Member since: Dec 23, 2018