Nov 26th, 2018 ⋅ 5 min read

Work-family balance

Work-family balance, is the hardest for startup founders because difficulties are almost unavoidable. More than half of founders (55%) said that they are either dissatisfied with the balance or are out of balance completely.

When we say the word „balance“, we immediately imagine a scale where the balance is 50-50, with your work on one side, and your family on the other side. That is not the case in real life. If there were a delete button for some of the wrong phrases that are commonly used in our society - I would replace "work-family balance" with balancing private and professional life.

Balancing private and professional life

I believe it's clear what "professional life" means, but when I asked founders about "private life", they answered: "What private life?".

When I say private life, it includes: your blood relatives (parents, siblings), your romantic relationship(s) (boyfriend/girlfriend/partner/spouse), your child/children and your friends. But it also it includes me-time.

If you are an founder/CEO who is truly OK with your current balance - nothing in the world will convince you to want to change anything. If you are aware that you are not spending enough time focusing on your private life and you are ready to steal time from your professional life – then you are on the good path.

One of the tricks of balancing better is setting priorities. Put your private life in the first place. You can be more concrete with your list by putting yourself or your family in the first place. That way, your scale will balance itself because your natural desire to invest as much time as possible into your startup will push the scale down from the other side.

Separation from the family and loved ones

Being a founder/CEO of a startup means you will have to travel a lot. First of all, you will want to participate in some events (congress' and conferences) that will not be in your domicile country. Nowadays, all startups are applying to accelerator or incubator programs and they are all over the world, which means you will probably have to move to another country. As the program ends, hopefully you will raise a round of investment which will force you to stay in contact with your investor and you will have to travel a lot. That is one of the reasons why startup community is so international.

It’s not possible to be in two places at once, but when creating your schedule - first book the family time. You can always move it around but try to keep the plans as they are, as often as possible. Even if you are separated from your family, booking the time for a video-chat will prevent awkward situations, plus it will spare you the trouble of your family wanting to engage with you during work hours.

Sharing how and what are you doing will help your family deal with the situation. Everybody who had ever moved away from home knows it is very hard to keep your family up to date with your current situation. It's a fact because your family still has the same day-to-day obligations and are in the same environment... just without you.

You are the one whose life completely changed. Moving to a new country, a new city, new culture and new people. New house, new bed. Probably alone or with co-founders. It is a hard thing to do, especially if you are bootstrapping because even spending money to settle in could be frustrating. Paying deposit for rent (sometimes even a couple of months ahead), buying a bike or a card for public transportation, buying bed sheets or towels, buying stuff for the kitchen (it never has all the things you need)... But it is also very exciting and challenging!

Not sharing about good and bad stuff with your loved ones will make them feel more worried about you than they need to be, and that will possibly result with them approaching you the wrong way… It is crucial to be patient.

Use video-chat as much as possible. Show them what your office looks like, or your bedroom. When you do that, they will create a visual idea of what your day looks like, even when you forget to call them. Use these amazing video-chat apps to have a date with your girlfriend/boyfriend/partner/spouse! You can watch a movie or a TV show together. Have dinner together while each eats what they cooked for themselves.

Being separated from your loved ones, doesn't mean they can't have something from you. For example, you can send to your boyfriend/girlfriend/partner/spouse a real old-fashion postcard or a love letter! These days everything can be bought online, so you can order some nice flowers from a local store to be brought up to your better half. The same goes for all the birthdays, anniversaries or celebrations that you are probably going to miss.

United with loved ones

If you are one of the luckiest ones who are not separated from their family, use that! Make that as one of your strongest points! The support you can have from your loved ones and the time you can spend with them is priceless. They are your strongest safety net.

One of the worst things you can do is to sit in front of the big screen and watch TV in silence. Don't get me wrong, it is OK to relax and rest but if you want to spend quality time with your loved ones don't do it like that. Communication is very important for every relationship, so don't put yourself in the position where the communication is not important. When you are focused on your startup 100%, it is also hard on your loved ones who want to spend time with you. It is never just about spending time, its about spending quality time.

Think about the activity that you can do together. You can organize a field trip to another city, or you can be a tourist in your own city. Go and explore. Your child/children will be amazed with your spontaneity and they will have a blast! If you want to have fun with your better half, organize a romantic dinner, or cook it yourself. Being romantic is very sexy when your partner knows that you took the time from work to spend it with them. Use that as an aphrodisiac and have fun.

If you don't have time or energy to organize something, use already organized events where the only job for you is to show up. There is a lot of family friendly or kids friendly events where you and your family can be entertained.

If you feel there is nothing that will suit your needs, keep it simple. Take a walk in the park, or go to swim in a local pool/lake. As long as your phone is off and you are not gazing into TV scene, it will be great.

Do you think I can bring value to your company, organization or you?
I would be happy to talk with you!


My name is Marta. I aim to help employees, founders and CEOs by bringing their attention to the importance of well being, a good work-life balance and physical, mental health improvement.

I worked as an associate at the THINK Accelerate in Helsingborg, Sweden. My role was to support startups during the three-month program with their stress management and team management. The program ended with an #HBGTECH where I participated as an organizer.

I also held talks at Lund University, at THINK Open space and at #HBGTECH.

I volunteered at Techstars London DemoDay 2017 and 2018 where I helped with the organization of the Demo Day.

Do you think I can bring value to your company, organization or you?
I would be happy to talk with you!

Contact me!