Does Your On-Line Business Get In The Way Of Your Relationship?

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Did you watch the last series of The Apprentice?

If you did, you may remember one of the two finalists, Helen, who conducted herself brilliantly in the final set of interviews. She came across as professional, competent and capable while some of the other finalists showed themselves to be full of clichés or a bit too naïve to go in to business with Lord Alan Sugar.

Helen was one of the favourites to win from the start, because of her professionalism and dedication to her career.

Why Helen Didn’t Win

However, there was one aspect of her personality which jarred with me, and many other people commented on it as a possible reason why she didn’t win in the end.

When Helen was interviewed, she stated that she didn’t have a personal life – that work was her entire world, and she had no real interests, personal relationships or hobbies other than work.

For me, this showed a certain desperation to succeed that potentially made Helen very single-minded and not very interesting. In business, we need to bring a wealth of skills gleaned for real life situations – the ability to build relationships, establish rapport with people and hold conversations.

If we have made work our entire focus for existence, are we at risk of becoming one-dimensional and lacking some of the basic human attributes that we need for business success?

The phrase ‘work-life balance’ has become overused and a bit of a buzz word over the past few years, but it’s an important consideration for anyone who is in a relationship.

We always joke about people who are extremely dedicated – the man who works in the same company, for example, who arrives at work at seven each morning and then stays until nine at night, slaving away on his PC long after everyone else has disappeared to the pub for some healthy socializing.

However, this dedication to your job can become obsessive or unhealthy, as the workaholic pushes themselves to extremes in order to do an outstanding job.

Anyone who works for themselves will probably be familiar with the pressure that sometimes builds when you are focused on work, and your partner or spouse wants you to spend time with them.

Anniversaries, birthdays or other scheduled outings may need to be cancelled at the last minute, leading to frustration and a growing resentment.

If you have a home office while your partner works, you may feel sometimes that you are expected to do too many things by way of domestic chores during the day, as your proximity to the dishwasher and washing machine mean that it’s simple for you to throw yourself in to cleaning or laundry when you should be concentrating on work.

Because of this, a relationship needs to be a great system of give and take.

If your partner understands that you can’t attend to household tasks while you are slogging away at work, equally you need to make sure that you don’t let your business come in the way when you need to spend time with your family.

Having a set routine is really important when you work for yourself, so that the boundaries between work and personal life don’t get smudged. Make sure that you are able to compromise when it’s time to switch the PC off and spend time with your partner, or he or she may end up feeling like a small business widow while you sweat tasks out in the office!

Running a business from home should be no different in many ways to working in a corporate environment.

Clock in, in the morning, do a good day of work, and then ‘come back home’ to spend time with your partner.

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45 Responses to Does Your On-Line Business Get In The Way Of Your Relationship?

  1. Andrew May 7, 2012 at 2:26 pm #

    A delicate balance between work and life is indeed needed. I may point out that a person who has no personal life and expresses that in an interview will also have a higher tendency to burn out. They may do great work for a few years, but if you’re looking for a long term employee, find someone who knows how to let go of work and recharge.

    • Andrew May 8, 2012 at 1:01 am #

      Andrew

      ‘Recharge’ – great word. That’s exactly what we have to do – unfortunately often we (business owners) don’t!

      Andrew

  2. Aditya May 8, 2012 at 3:05 am #

    This is one of the major area of conflict with my girlfriend…she is constantly nagging me to have a perfect balance between the personal as well as professional lives…She wants me to take her out on the weekends and you know how hectic weekends can become if you are in the profession of online marketing…there needs to strike a balance between the two and she should also understand that whatever hard work that I am doing is for our bright future only…

    • Andrew May 9, 2012 at 12:25 am #

      Aditya

      Don’t you want to take her out?

      You should not be thinking, “I HAVE to take my girlfriend out”.

      You want to be thinking, “I WANT to take my girlfriend out”

      Andrew

      • Aditya May 19, 2012 at 4:23 am #

        Hey Andrew,
        Srry for replying late….
        I do take her out on the weekends but still she wants some more from me which I could not give her at times…but still we are working out a way and hopefully everything would get back normal…:)

        • Andrew May 27, 2012 at 8:14 am #

          Aditya

          I suppose it is finding a blance that you both are happy with!

          Andrew

  3. Andrea Hypno May 8, 2012 at 9:56 am #

    A lot of people have an online life because they don’t have a real life and many just think about work because they don’t have anything else. It’s unhealthy because it usually leads to burning out or making a Psychotherapist rich.

    Also living to work and having a stroke at sixty isn’t the wisest way to live, imho. 🙂

    • Andrew May 9, 2012 at 12:27 am #

      Andrea

      One thing we don’t want to be thinking is…’If only I slowed down…”

      Why is it…it takes a major situation like a stroke to make us slow down?

      Andrew

  4. Robert Rogers May 8, 2012 at 2:59 pm #

    Relationships. It amazes me to see the difference in relationships that I am able to develop with clients that I meet in person versus those that come via an online connection. The quicker a business owner can get to a relationship, the faster they get to higher quality clients.

    • Andrew May 9, 2012 at 12:30 am #

      Robert

      95% of my clients I have never met. I use Skype or the telephone.

      Why do you think there is a big differnce for you?

      Andrew

  5. Joseph Mills May 8, 2012 at 9:30 pm #

    Its the same concept neither in loving relationship nor business relationship–trust, communication and it should be more personal in dealings with other. In that way, good relationship develops.

    • Andrew May 9, 2012 at 12:31 am #

      Joseph

      Two great words – trust and communication. The 2 words that can make or break a relationship.

      Andrew

  6. Anton Koekemoer May 9, 2012 at 1:17 am #

    Excellent post – I could have said it better : “In business, we need to bring a wealth of skills gleaned for real life situations”. Personally – I think Business is not just a degree or diploma – Its a method.

    And Business Methods usually requires more than one area of expertise.

    Thanks for sharing the post.

  7. Rizwan Sultan May 9, 2012 at 12:18 pm #

    Hey Andrew

    Nice point you sketch here it’s really causes of breakup here mostly people only spend time for work and money agree money is basic need but if if things are in balanced so better for relationships.

  8. Corinne Edwards May 10, 2012 at 7:14 am #

    Dear Andrew –

    I think ANY business that you own and operate yourself has a great danger of interfering with your relationship. You never give yourself time off. The most difficult boss is yourself.

    There is always that last email that you should answer now or a call that will take “only a minute.” It never does.

    It comes down to one word. Money.

    Your money.

    When you work for a large corporation, you tend to let anything but a real emergency wait until later or – the next day.

    Good reminder of what is important here.

    • Andrew May 12, 2012 at 9:47 am #

      Corinne

      I love what you say here: “The most difficult boss is yourself.”

      That’s very true!

      We all need money to survive but how much do we really need? And will responding to that one last comment really make that much difference.

      Andrew

      P.S. Mush dash – taking my wife out to dinner tonight!

  9. Karen May 11, 2012 at 7:05 am #

    When I first started working from home – way before I launched my own online business – I found that balancing my time between my husband and work was incredibly hard. I am already in front of the computer when he wakes up, and still typing away when he has gone to sleep. Good thing I realized before it was too late that my being “workaholic” was creating a drift in our relationship.

    I have since slowed down but it’s still is a struggle to turn off my computer at times.

    • Andrew May 12, 2012 at 9:49 am #

      Karen

      I do think partners understand that working on your own business will mean less time for each other.

      My wife works with me, sometimes. That’s helps the business and also helps the relationship.

      Andrew

  10. Azam May 11, 2012 at 9:27 am #

    Dedication with the harmony makes the life beautiful and interesting.Dedication with work excluding other interests of life make a person machine that have no feelings.

  11. jose May 11, 2012 at 1:32 pm #

    i think its difficult getting a fine balance, my wife says i´m married more to my computor than her,she doesnt understand this line of business and how hectic weekends are when working in online marketing…mind you, she likes it when i say yes to any requests for money to go shopping

    • Andrew May 12, 2012 at 9:50 am #

      Jose

      Lol!

      The ‘other half’ cannot have it there way all the time!

      Andrew

  12. Felicia May 12, 2012 at 5:22 am #

    Hi Andrew,
    I do agree with your post here that when it comes to the topic of working at home, many of your family members, especially your spouse, expect you to do household chores even while you are in front of the computer working. They normally think that it is definitely okay and appropriate that you should do other things while doing work from home tasks. I guess that’s why there are those who work from home but still prefer to have a separate office room or even rent a room at a nearby building just to have a clear boundary on work and household chores.

    • Andrew May 12, 2012 at 9:52 am #

      Felicia

      I have a separate room and I recommend anyone who works from home to have one.

      When extra busy or working on something complex…I shut the door. That helps…especailly on ‘house cleaning’ day!

      Andrew

      • Felicia May 15, 2012 at 6:41 am #

        Hi Andrew,
        Haha! I agree, shut the door or even lock it if you are working, so you’ll not be disturbed. After all, cleaning the house can be done anytime.

  13. kunal May 12, 2012 at 11:47 am #

    you chalked out the correct points… some of my blogger friends did the same mistakes… today few are single and spend most of time blogging… 😛

    • Andrew May 27, 2012 at 8:15 am #

      kunal

      Perhaps they like it that way????

      Andrew

  14. Maja May 13, 2012 at 11:49 am #

    In the beginning online business demands a lot of time and attention and bloggers often neglect their social life that make their lives out of balance.Equal importance should be awarded to each work to enjoy the life.

    • Andrew May 27, 2012 at 8:17 am #

      Maja

      As I say to Aditya above…it’s about getting the balance right that you are both happy with.

      There will be times when business does take priority and you must discuss these situations up front – so there are no surprizes.

      Andrew

  15. Daisy May 15, 2012 at 7:08 am #

    For me, working from home means that I am really tempted to work more and more. And that really started to have effects on my relationships. However, now I made a dedication to myself not to work on weekends, no matter what!

    • Andrew May 27, 2012 at 8:18 am #

      Daisy

      That is a great dedication. Have you kept it up so far?

      Andrew

  16. Gary May 18, 2012 at 4:05 am #

    Someone once said to me something that I will always remember. He said, as soon as you have kids you will be compromised in every part of your life. You will never be 100% at work, never 100% with your partner and never 100% with your kids. You will compromise on every front. I think that is true, but as you right say this position of being compromised on all fronts makes you much more rounded as a person and also means you can relate much more effectively with everyone you meet in business. The key to building relationships with anyone is just remembering that they are people like you, with wives/husbands, kids, mortgages, hobbies etc. People are just people!

    • Andrew May 27, 2012 at 8:20 am #

      Gary

      I do like that statement and it is true.

      But the percentages change. In the early years of having kids, the percenatge can be high…as they grow older and become adult, the percentages reduce…well hopefully!

      Andrew

  17. Dennies John May 18, 2012 at 11:29 am #

    i know a lot of bloggers who quit blogging just because they are losing good relationships.

    i know a friend of mine who worked hard for impressing his gf but finally that made him lose his girl!

    • Andrew May 27, 2012 at 8:20 am #

      Dennies

      Perhaps he didn’t like here that much!

      Andrew

  18. Nanya May 18, 2012 at 1:29 pm #

    Yeah this happens with me & my spouse all the time – if you spend sleepless nights building a strong network of blogs and generate great money, you need to be ready to sacrifice a bit of your personal life too… But, i guess in the end, a co-operate partner would always stand by you, and appreciate your dedication – and if he/she doesn’t, then perhaps you need to find a more compatible partner otherwise things wont work out in the long run!

    • Andrew May 27, 2012 at 8:22 am #

      Nanya

      I totally agree with everything you say.

      My wife helps me in ‘our’ on-line business and that makes a big difference.

      Andrew

  19. Eric May 20, 2012 at 12:21 am #

    Its important to balance all aspects of your life. If your blog is doing well, it can be difficult to not want to devote more and more time to it. The best strategy is to take a step back and re-evaluate whats important from time to time.

    • Andrew May 27, 2012 at 8:22 am #

      Eric,

      It’s too late…when they have packed a bag and left!

      Andrew

  20. vicky sadhu May 26, 2012 at 12:12 pm #

    trust me, it is the only thing that is happening with me in last few days..lol…good post!

  21. Divas Chitkara May 27, 2012 at 7:12 am #

    A good balance between both will make you a perfect person. I lost so many friends due to this blogging and stuff. i was not able to hangout with them even when they used to call me up and ask me. :/

    • Andrew May 27, 2012 at 8:27 am #

      Divas

      Although we both say it – get the balance right and all will be fine…it’s pretty hard to do!

      Andrew

  22. fred May 27, 2012 at 8:03 pm #

    Well, relationship sometimes becomes very complicated in relation to work. But being in any relationship, you’re responsible and committed both. So it means, you should always find a time for both otherwise you’ll be in trouble. If the work is really priority and it’s very important to do it first, talking to your partner is very important. It fine to have post party 🙂

    • Andrew May 28, 2012 at 10:29 am #

      Fred,

      Talking to each other ensures there are no surprizes!

      Andrew

  23. Martin Cooney June 20, 2012 at 12:08 am #

    Funnily enough, there’s no such thing as ‘work / life’ balance.

    There’s only life balance! Often times there needs to be more focus on work commitments and other times there’s space for bolstering the personal values in life – importantly, it’s a balance.

    Without the focus on ‘the balance’ expect any online business to evaporate. Just my $0.02c worth

    • Andrew June 20, 2012 at 3:29 am #

      Martin,

      I understand what you mean – I suppose I was using the general term that most people are familiar with.

      Whatever we call it – get the balance right!

      Andrew

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