Balance is such an elusive concept, and I've struggled to find it in my own journey of being an independent designer. The truth is, being self employed literally means you have no office hours. You could find yourself working late nights, weekends or on holiday. Sure, there are things that you'd rather not do, but unless you can afford to outsource or hire staff, you are basically the guy or gal doing literally everything, from answering emails, dealing with production issues, posting the orders, designing the new collection and all that jazz. You can be really diligent and set yourself office hours to work in, but I've never managed to achieve this myself.
In a recent interview with Forbes Martha Stewart finally broke the myth about having a work-life balance when you are building an empire. -
Rather than trying to balance everything in your life (work, family, personal time, friends, etc) achieving a Work-Life Balance is something much more fluid. Some days or weeks you are strongly pulled in one area of your life that needs more time and attention, and other days you are pulled in the other. The myth of absolute balance is an unattainable standard that will result in you always feeling you have failed something or someone.
Sticking to a routine
If you’re passionate about your job, it's essential to practice self care. It could mean forcing yourself to stick to a routine that makes time for you and your family. Stick to a daily routine that includes that yoga class you enjoy or some other social activity. Also set yourself rules like no email or phone calls after 6pm, dedicated family time or date night with your partner. Whatever that routine or rule is, stick with it religiously. It's very easy to let your business take over your personal life too when you love at you do.
There are tools that can help you automate certain tasks that you may currently may be doing manually, such as using Quickbook for accounts, Canva for your graphics, Planoly for instagram, Content Amplifier to help you write write relevant content for your blog, etc.
It can be hard to step back and focus on yourself at the end of the day, but the benefits of self care are worth it: Self care prevents overload burnout, reduces the negative effects of stress and helps you refocus.
The good news is, when you are building an empire (like me) you will love what you do most of the time. If you love what you do, you know that all the sacrifices are towards something bigger, something that is for your future. But don't let it take over your life. You are still human, and you need to respect your body and your mental health. If you are not healthy, you will not be able to perform at your best, and the results will be mediocre.
The Right Support
It's also essential to have a strong support system around you. I know first hand how challenging it can be to be self employed when you have a partner who does not support or encourage you (ahem...) I have lost a job and had a marriage end because I did not have the support I required. Thankfully my dream was bigger than me! Getting fired was the best thing that ever happened to me. It gave me the push into the deep end, which I absolutely needed to start taking my own business seriously. Getting divorced was the second best thing that happened to me because it helped me reevaluate my mindset, my goals and my priorities.
Goodness, I don't wish any of these things to happen to you! I only want to stress the importance of pursuing your dream and understanding that such 'failures' are not the end of the world. They are the beginning of an opportunity. I have since found a strong support structure in a loving relationship, working with different mentors and mindset coaches, and ending all the toxic relationships that did not serve me. This has helped improve the quality of my life and the quality of my work, thus encouraging organic growth in my business.
Can I help you?
I have started to support other women in business by offering my expertise as a brand designer and Women Entrepreneur consultant and Lifestyle coach for women who are running their own brand and looking for advice specifically formulated towards women in business and non-traditional business planning. My program is catered towards women who currently have a brand / business and are ready to scale it or women who want to start their own business but don't know where to start. If you are interested in one-on-one mentoring, you can register your interest at this link you can sign up to my mailing list, where I also send you tips and free information to help you grow your business.
Don't be shy and drop me a line on email@example.com if you want to schedule a free consultation call. I will only work with you if I believe I can help you, or point you in the right direction.
Love & light
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