Chasing a unicorn – the elusive work/life balance
Having a good work / life balance has always been important to my husband Rob, and myself. We have seven successful adult children and we ensured as they were growing up that they did not miss out on anything children from smaller families might experience. After all, they did not ask to be born into such a large family. Saying this, it meant that we had to work hard and often long hours to provide the lifestyle we wanted. Rob has always been self-employed, and for the most part – I have too.
Although we always seemed to be working, it was never about money. It was having the flexibility to enjoy assemblies and children’s sport without feeling guilty in the workplace.
It was about taking time off every school holidays and holidaying as a family. It was about creating memories for our children to pass down to our grandchildren.
Just before our youngest daughter started school, we started a little business. Our business passion was helping people and teaching people to be successful in their business with systems and checks, thus freeing up time to work on their business (if they chose to), or for life balance.
Rob and I have different skill sets that complement each other. When this business was starting,
I remember thinking I only wanted to work 30 hours a week and 40 weeks a year. People sometimes say, ‘Ha, how did that work for you?’ It didn’t matter, we love what we do. We are very practical and had an income goal in mind. We knew we needed a plan to get there.
The very first thing we did was become Reckon Accredited Partners, way back in 2000.
I’m absolutely a tick and flick kind of girl, so Rob and I sat down and worked on our goals. Long term (over 12 months), medium term (6-12 months) and short term (3 months). We included business and personal hopes in our goals – and we went out for a business dinner every 3 months to discuss, review and update our goals. We broke our dreams into bite-sized pieces that we could manage, we sometimes moved the benchmark and we high-fived our successes. To this day, we still use the same method of setting and reviewing our goals. It’s thrilling to see your long-term goals eventually become short term and then ticked off.
We always valued our business relationships – especially our Reckon partnership. I do not say partnership lightly – Reckon has always been very encouraging in offering opportunities to grow our business, and through a dark time of illness – the Reckon team were extremely supportive. Reckon has always been our preferred solution for many of our clients. We support Reckon at their events and we provided consulting and classroom training in all Reckon products, desktop and cloud. Initially we worked in Melbourne, maintaining offices in Bentleigh East and Docklands. We extended to deliver training all over Victoria, Canberra and Hobart. Our client base is now national. We have a few niches, because we train in all Reckon products, whether it is a business solution like RAH or Reckon POS, or a personal product, such as Reckon Accounts Personal Plus.
Over the last 17 years, our business has grown as have our passions. Our new clients are mostly word of mouth referrals. We believe our longevity and our success is due to our ethics. We treat businesses as people, and treat them the way that we would like to be treated.
Our business model has changed from time to time. But, we always came back to, ‘Why are we doing this?’ and it’s always the same answer. Lifestyle. Not to be affluent, but to have the time and the resources to spend on the things we love and value.
Gone are the days that our lifestyle was for our children – it’s now about our children’s families and our extended family. It’s about being able to spend quality time with elderly parents, whenever they need us. And finally, we have decided on a tree-change. It’s time for us to enjoy what we preach – a healthy work / life balance.
We are just embarking on a new chapter in our lives. We’ve sold our large Melbourne home and are planning on dividing our time between our business in Melbourne and our country property. We are setting up an office on our property where our desks overlook the snow on the mountains. Today’s technology allows us to service most of our clients remotely and develop relationships with businesses all over the globe. It doesn’t matter where we live or work, if our minds and bodies are healthy. Life is good.