By far the most common conversation we have with the folks we interview is about work-life balance. Starting a business or pursuing a creative career makes finding work life balance really tough because there is no clear start and end to one’s work day. We’ve shared some of our conversations on the topic below.

Heather Moreau | Family Portrait and Wedding Photographer

When I first started my business almost 20 years ago, I had absolutely no balance. I would wake up at 5 a.m. and start work, not to finish until late at night. As the years went on and I married and had a family, I realized it wasn’t sustainable or healthy. I think it’s really important for small business owners to have a strong sense of division and balance between work and home life. It’s a hard thing to achieve. You really have to set strong boundaries and follow your own rules … something independent entrepreneurs are usually not that great at. These days with two young children at home doing zoom school, I have to follow my own rules. Work needs to stay at work and it forces me to focus and get things done during the time I have for work. Read more>>

Maricle Kang | Fine Art Wedding and Portrait Photographer

Before starting my own photography business, I came from the cooperate world. I worked in that environment for 8 years. I didn’t mind the 9 to 5 schedule and it actually helped me keep a very healthy work-life balance. I wanted to implement the same structure to my own business when I started: finishing most of the work during day time and leaving night time for my family. When my husband arrived home from work at 5pm, that’s my cue to close the laptop and stop working. Of course, I knew I had to make some sacrifices on weekends for all of the wedding shoots in the summer, but it’s only seasonal. Little did I know, it’s easier said than done. When you run your own business, you have the fear that if you don’t reply to an inquiry right away, you might lose the opportunity. In the beginning, I basically let this fear run my life. I was checking my emails, Instagram DMs and other social media platforms constantly. Read more>>

Alex Brzozowski | CEO, Digital Organizing & Productivity Specialist

Once I had been in business for a few years, I have had times (yes, this has happened more than once) where I was working so much with clients that I was unable to work on growing my business or anything else. Not only did this effect my sales pipeline once those projects wrapped up because I did not have new business lined up, but it also caused an imbalance in my personal life. I was extremely stressed, felt like I couldn’t breathe, was becoming resentful and didn’t have enough time to do the things that I love. I was letting the business run me instead of running the business and it was taking over my “me time”. Needless to say, I burned out and did not have any kind of balance in my life. I even got sick a couple of times because my immune system was so stressed. I used up all my time and energy. Since then, I have learned to set clear boundaries with how much client work I will take on in a week to create a more balanced business and personal life. Read more>>

Michael Sick | Chief Marketing Officer, Consultant & Digital Strategist

Work life balance seems to be an elusive goal for many people. Some even go so far as to say that it is a myth. I believe that for each of us, we measure the balance differently depending on what we value. The calculations may take into consideration career goals, family obligations, hobbies, fitness, social events, arts & theatre and the list goes on. I have friends who have retired and some of them wonder how they ever had time for a job! Most people are looking for a mix of experiences in life. Time with family, time for friends, time for self, relationships, travel and passions. If you hate your work, no level of free time and outside activities can compensate for the imbalance you have in your work life. During much of my corporate marketing career, I spend a great deal of time on planes and staying in hotels. I also followed jobs to eight different cities in three four states and moved cross country three times. Read more>>

Ivett Flores | Co-Founder, Energy Design Researcher & Professor

A couple of years ago, I was convinced that the secret to success was finding the balance between personal life and work. I tried to follow that philosophy while still working for a someone else’s architecture firm, where while I was giving my best, I was very clear about the limits in order to enjoy the rest of my life and spend time on activities that fill my creative spirit, such as doing a 2nd master’s degree, training to run marathons, and teaching architecture at university. However, from the moment I set out to establish my own architecture studio, the much coveted concept of balance between personal life and work, was beginning to fade. I had to spend twice the time creating the Studio and at the same time developing the projects we were beginning to achieve. Over time, I’ve adopted a new philosophy regarding balance or probably (im)balance, which is that simply when you’re passionate about your profession, the projects you’re developing and the personal activities that fuel creativity, and all those variables converge around your own projects, just the idea of balance, disappears. Read more>>