Ross Cameron

SmartCompany /

Work to live, or live to work? Your approach can make or break you.

Work life balance

One of the great struggles facing business owners is the need to strike a balance between their business and personal lives.

“By Christmas, you’re done. You’re stuffed. I would like to have more time with my family. My wife works in the business with me too. And we know what we’ve done wrong – we’ve neglected our kids along the way. We’ve put our business first. And you can see it now with the kids. Yesterday my daughter came to me and said that she has something at school next Tuesday at 11.00 and I told her I couldn’t come – I have a big appointment with one of the major retailers at 10.00 that morning and I can’t change it – and she started to cry. I said ‘mum will be there’, but she wasn’t happy. You put everyone else first before the family.”  (20-50 employees, Melbourne).

“Success is a business that is well liked and respected in the community and people can trust the advice we give. And then I think you do want to make money out of it but you want that to balance with your lifestyle. From day one we’ve always had five weeks a year holiday and we’ve never worked weekends because there’s no point, especially if you’ve got young children. Nothing’s worth sacrificing your children for, so the whole thing comes down to balance.” (20-50 employees, Brisbane).

The comments come from owners of businesses that each employ about 30 people, and the contrasting stories are striking. Nobody denies the need to generate and maintain some balance between their business and private life, but we all know it’s easier said than done. But stop making excuses. When was the last time you got away for a mini-break?


Ross Cameron, of Cameron Research Group, provides marketing research and strategy services to over half of Australia’s 10 largest companies, guiding their interactions with small and medium sized businesses. Prior to this, Ross was a project manager with BIS Shrapnel.


SmartCompany is the leading online publication in Australia for free news, information and resources catering to Australia’s entrepreneurs, small and medium business owners and business managers.

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