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Business flexibility or constraints?

Obviously, there are many reasons behind people starting up a business rather than being an employee. But a common reason, or support for another reason, is the desire for flexibility.

I have heard “I hate working 9 to 5 so I started my own business” or words to that affect a number of times. And yet those same people may well find that running a business requires more than 8 hours a day, 7 days a week to be a success.

Valerie Khoo not only discusses this issue but gives some good tips on how to plan flexibility into your businessin a blog post last month. I think her most important point is the planning – you need to know what flexibility you want (or need) and then plan the business around that.

For example, one flexibility I want is to be able to go on school excursions with my daughters, especially while they are young enough to be excited by my presence! Therefore, I do not claim to be available during all business hours and my regular clients know I sometimes work at nights or weekends instead of during traditional business hours. One client had a deadline for an article last week when I was at the zoo so we agreed he could call me at the zoo and I would talk him through any technical issues. Flexibility.

I would find it much harder to go on excursions if I had a traditional office where people were encouraged to drop in for meetings.

Sometimes a compromise will be necessary to achieve the desired flexibility. For example, to only work 3 days a week you may have to accept earning less than if you worked 5 days a week or accept having staff or outsourcing more.

If you run a business, from home or elsewhere, do you have the flexibility you expected when you started? Would you like more flexibility in your life to do things other than business?

I would suggest you plan your ideal week, business and personal combined, and see how far it is from reality then look for ways you can move closer to the ideal.

Use your time wisely!

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