I’ve recently been working with a small business owner who’s doing extremely well, making great money and expanding rapidly. Part of that is down to his hard work, of course, but my worry is that this success is coming at a price to his family life. He spends a lot of time in the business, plus he and his partner (who’s also working full time) deal with all the cooking and cleaning, mowing the lawns and all the day-to-day household admin. It’s bloody hard work. I know they’re making money, but it’s tough to get quality family time to spend with their two-year-old twins.
My advice to him was this: “Get a cleaner. Get someone to mow the lawns. Get My Food Bag. You can afford it.” Sometimes New Zealanders are stubbornly wedded to the DIY mentality. We’ve all seen the Mitre 10 ads on TV that insinuate we’re all weak-chinned losers if we don’t do our own renovations. Honestly, though, if you’re running a successful business, why would you spend your weekend installing shelving? Or mowing lawns, or cleaning your bathroom? There’s no pleasure to be had in doing everything yourself while missing out on quality time with your family and friends.
Kiwis are often sheepish about admitting to outsourcing jobs like cleaning or mowing, especially if it’s never been done in your family before. (We even do this when it costs us money – like the way lots of Kiwis won’t pay for good financial advice or use a mortgage broker, even when it makes perfect financial sense.) Paying someone else to help you spend more time with your family is a great use of your money. There’s no point building a brilliant business that’s worth a fortune while your personal life flounders along miserably.
Household chores are a massive source of annoying arguments and resentment, so get them taken care of and you can enjoy more peaceful family time, too. And a bonus benefit: you’re supporting other local entrepreneurs to help build up their businesses. This is a win-win situation, where you build your business and they build theirs. All the while you spend more time with your family and reduce your stress.