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Sunday 14 April 2013

God Was a Social Entrepreneur

Of course, God was a social entrepreneur - it's not so hard to work full-tilt at something you care about.

Staffing and work/life balance: Entrepreneurs need breaks from their small business

If god rested on the seventh day, should the entrepreneur?

Prevailing opinion suggests the answer is “no,” mainly because the term ‘work week’ doesn’t apply to self-starters and entrepreneurs looking to grow their business.

It’s more like “work life,” says Mark Surrette, President of Knightsbridge Robertson Surrette and an entrepreneur of more than 30 years.

“As an entrepreneur, it never goes away,” says Surette, who has run businesses ranging from retail to traffic control to property management. “24/7 is a strong phrase, but my black berry never gets turned off.”

Surrette, like many others, believes mobile communication technology is the double edged sword that carves out a work-centered lifestyle for many successful business people.

On one hand, his mobile device has freed him from marriage to the office, which is where you would’ve found him on evenings and weekends in the 1980s and1990s.

In today’s digital age, he can now get work done from home, on the road, watching football or even “stepping out at a dinner party.”

On the other hand, being connected means there’s no such thing as a day off anymore.

“You don’t think of it as working a lot of hours, because there’s no real delineation between work and the other things you do,” he says. “It’s part of life. It never goes away.”

Dwayne Kennedy, the 26-year-old cofounder of THE COLLECTIONS, a Toronto-based fashion production and promotions company, says working six to seven days a week, 60-70 hour per week is the standard in his business.

When he’s not doing day-to-day tasks, he’s out networking, a must-do in the fashion industry.

“What we do does take up most of our time, and it’s ongoing,” says Kennedy, who, along with partner Brian Richards, operates the Disconnect Fashion Film Festival. “We generally don’t have days’s hard to turn it off when your work is something you’re so passionate about.”

Michael Leiter, an expert on workplace burnout and the Canada Research Chair of Occupational Health and Well being at Acadia University, says that while overworking oneself can lead to exhaustion and reduced productivity, when someone loves what they do, they can better cope with working longer periods.

“That is a solid finding from our work on ‘burnout,’” says Leiter, a psychologist and author who’s written extensively on workplace health. “When you love what you do, share the work with the people you care about, recieve fulfillment from the enjoyable activities and have control over your domain, you can sustain energy much more than you could when lacking these qualities.”

He says overextension is so common among entrepreneurs because so few start with the financial backing to hire support staff.
“There is not usually enough activity to constitute multiple jobs for others at the beginning,” he says. “The entrepreneur covers all elements.”

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