I am glad I found this forum and particulaly this subject as I was having the same thoughts myself on how the hell I was going to balance my work and home life.
I run a small business which takes up my day from 6am until around 9pm most days and working weekends.
If you are thinking of setting up a business at the moment consider the following:
Will it improve my home/worklife? - Depending on what your business is, I suggest that in the early stages of getting established your business will be all consuming and from experience I can tell you that after 5 long hard years we are just getting there. I often say that my business is my baby that I have nurtured it to where it is. Quite often not attending family and friends weddings due to work leaving my wife to go alone.
Do I have the financial clout? - I started my business from nothing with Â£450.00 and for the first time in 5 years I have been able to take a salary out only this year. It is only a modest salary that just about pays the bills, it is by no means a kings ransom.
Are my wife and family behind me? - When I started, I didn't even consult my wife or take advice from family, I went home one night from a very well paid job and announced "I resigned and I'm going it alone" - I have been very lucky that my wife has backed me all the way for 5 years and didnt complain when I told her that we could not go on holiday or have children because we cant afford it.
She has even paid all the bills and often given me spending money for the odd night out with the lads.
I am only now lucky enough to be blessed with the chance to be a dad in January and although I am reasonably young at 35, I was starting to think that the chance might be gone and the business would have hindered the chances. I have decided that although my business will take up alot of my time still, I will ensure that I will be around in the morning and in the evening and weekends will only happen if it is a matter of "life or death".
After I have said all of the above, I still wouldn't change a thing and I am a big believer in encouraging people to start their business if they feel that it is the right thing to do for them.
Good luck with everything and feel free to pm me if you would like some help or advice from a bloke that has been through the good and bad.