By Lindsay Jani, as told by Sara Shelton
Part of our “My Blueprint Story” Series
Balance. Isn’t that what most of us creative entrepreneurs are looking for?
That elusive work/life balance that allows you to be successful in growing your company without giving up everything you love in your personal life in the process.
The fight to find balance has been my struggle as a business owner for the last 8 years. Ever since I opened the doors to Simply Sunshine Events, a company that creates personal, modern, and timeless weddings and events for couples and brands, I’ve been chasing that balance that all of us creative entrepreneurs crave.
But the year I became a parent? Well, let’s just say that was the year I really drowned in my lack of balance! (Fellow working moms, can I get an amen?!)
My company started as a side hustle. But when push came to shove, I was working too many hours at both jobs and wondering, “Can I keep doing this?” So about 7 years ago, I made the official leap from side hustle to main hustle and made Simply Sunshine Events my full-time gig.
Then, we got pregnant a few years ago. And now staring down the reality that this long-awaited blessing of a child would join our family, I realized that while I had a business plan, it didn’t include my family. There was no room in my plan for growing this business and my family. In other words, my business plan left no margin for my family, and now, I needed a family plan more than ever!
She started by asking one question: What’s your core motivator? In other words, what’s the one thing you desperately want from your life and work? What’s the thing that keeps you going?
For me, it was time. I needed and wanted more time. If I could create a business plan that allowed me to have more time in both my work and my personal, family life, then that was a win.
Finding more time was the key to living a balanced life. And you know what? I’ve actually found it! I’ve found a way to balance my time in both areas of life that’s allowed me to thrive as both a business owner and a parent.
First, you have to understand where your time is going. I stopped and looked at every hour I was giving to my clients. Where was I giving time away? What boundaries could I set to better give my time to my business and my family? Where was I sacrificing one for the sake of the other? When I really stopped to look at where I was spending my time for every client, it helped me see where I could find better balance.
Then, you have to create a budget for your time. In the same way you create a structure that helps you manage your money, you have to create a structure that helps you manage your time. I created a spending plan for my time at work so that I knew exactly what hours I had to give to each client. If I was asked or tempted to give more than that, I had a budget that told me where I’d be taking that time from (probably my family) in order to give more to work. That made me stop and think about each and every extra “yes” I said.
I also learned to be confident in talking about money. And honestly, this one can be hard for us, right? But part of finding more balance is knowing that I’m making the money I need to make when I’m working so that I can have the margin to spend more time at home. When I started, I just took a stab in the dark at my pricing. But after sitting down with Shanna and really investigating how much time I was spending with my clients, I ended up almost tripling my costs! I’m now confident when I explain to a client what they’re being charged and why they’re being charged that because I know what my time is worth.
And finally, I set boundaries. I think boundaries are the key to balance in almost any part of life. At work, I used to take up to 20 events a year. But now, I only take about 7 events annually. That’s a boundary! Boundaries have helped me further personalize my services to my clients even more so, because I have the time to dedicate to them, and, so I’m not spread so thin anymore. They know what they’re getting and who they’re getting when they sign with us. The boundaries are clear up front, and they respect that.
At home, boundaries look a little different. One thing I struggled with was putting my daughter in daycare. I felt like maybe it made me a bad mom! But soon, I realized it gave us both better boundaries. Having her in daycare part-time gives me more structured, designated work hours. I work when she’s at school so that when she’s home, the work is all said and done. I’m not pulled away or distracted from my time with her now, and that’s a boundary I wouldn’t trade for anything!
So all you creative entrepreneur, working moms out there, just know this: You can do it! You can find the balance you’re looking both at work and at home. It’s not always easy, but with a little structure, I promise, it’s within your reach.
November 8, 2018