The #1 question everyone always asks me is this: “How do you balance your home & work life??
It’s the question that only some have mastered, which is crazy to think about. I read somewhere that 80% of small businesses fail within their first 6 months. I remember reading that when I was first starting out and thinking, “well shit, I’m praying for that 20%.” I learned very quickly that although prayer is a very powerful thing, making sure I fell in that 20% was going to take a whole lot more than just prayer. It takes patience, diligence, hard work, alllll of your time and energy, a really good support system and a WHOLE LOTTA faith.
Photo from my own in-home session with Starr Mercer Photography.
I really can’t say I have 100% mastered the work-life balance, but I have sure learned a lot and continue to keep learning how to master it according to the life I want to live. Here are my top 7 tips to finding YOUR work-life balance.
- You will very quickly learn how valuable your TIME is. Give yourself more of it. Although you might have an opportunity to make more money, turn down the job if it means you don’t get at least one night to catch up on your own personal checklist. It seems silly, what’s one night? But it adds up. The last thing you want is to work yourself to the point of burnout or be in a situation where your relationships are compromised.
- Find your PEOPLE. You NEED a community of people around you who are positive and full of encouragement for the times you think you’re ready to throw in the towel. For the times when you hit that burn out, because even though you may be avoiding it – it will happen. Find the people you can lean on and can reach out to and ask for help when you need it, trusting they will be there to lend a hand. Which leads me to my next point…
- ASK FOR HELP. Ask for help when you need it!! SO many people I talk to that are feeling like they’re completely drowning and are overwhelmed are always the first to want to throw in the towel, and it begins to take away from the work or service they’re providing! The #1 problem they all have in common when I ask is they have too much on their plate. Now, if you don’t have the funds to outsource to a professional to get help, you need to start asking the people in your world for help!! Whether that’s going to pick up material for you, place an order for you, bring you supper one night, make the run to Wal-Mart for the printer ink… whatever that looks like, never build up your ego too tall that you can’t ask others for their help.
- COMMUNICATE. Whether that is with your spouse, your roommate, your sister or your Mom – whoever you are sharing a life with and are trying to find more balance for – let them know. Reach out and let them into your situation a little bit. Have them understand what you’ve got on your plate and they may even just offer to help you out with some! A lot of people just need to hear you out and take the time to see things from your perspective for a hot minute. 10 times out of 10, that will open up the relationship to easier communication and a better understanding of where everyone’s efforts and time are going!
- Slow down. If you’re reading this, you most likely have a whole lot on your plate. Your to-do list keeps growing and it seems like you can’t catch a second of fresh air. I get it – I’m in your boat. Here’s the thing. You will never catch a second to breathe if you try to swallow everything all at once. I am so guilty of this one. I need to get things DONE and done as soon as there is an opportunity to get it done. You know what I mean? I see any window of open time and make it time that I am working on something. SLOW DOWN, take a minute. Look at your to-do list and cross things off ONE step at a time. Where do you even begin with a list as long as yours? You just need to slow down and think about it. Look at your list and prioritize everything in numbers, starting at 1. While you’re prioritizing them, think about when they need to be completed by, how long it takes, what goes into it and who else is involved. Once you have your list, as long as you are putting in time and effort with still giving yourself one or two days to catch up on your own personal things, that’s all you can do! You are only one person and you will not please everybody, all the time. If this means extending your editing time or your processing time to allow that time for yourself, then that’s what it means.
Client tips for a successful at-home couple session
- Build Systems. And I don’t mean the copy and paste system where every time someone messages you, you copy and paste a response. If you want to send out mass emails to your email list, then yes – do this, but not when you’re dealing with your clients on a one on one basis. By systems, I mean create a system that is consistent and streamlined for your clients. This not only gives you more time, less stress and less second-guessing what the hell you just sent your client (if you’re anything like me…), but it gives your clients a consistent, factual and convenient system when working with you. For me, when booking a session, my system is set up to ensure that all of my clients get the proper information sent out that I have created for them on a specific day to ensure that nothing is missed if that email needs to be sent on the night I took off to have dinner with my family. It helps me send out consistent pricing guides and package guides to all of my clients quickly and easily, as well as contracts and invoices. I run my business through HoneyBook, and it’s one of the best systems I’ve used out of all of the different ones I have tried.
- Feed your soul. It’s so easy to drown in something when you’re wearing all of the hats. Especially when it’s something that pays your mortgage and puts food on the table. But if you don’t take time to breathe and remember why you are doing what you’re doing – you won’t last. You need to take a step out. For me, that means going out and shooting something unplanned and completely spontaneous. It means taking my camera around and shooting the things that are happening right in front of me that make my heart smile. But guess what that takes? Time. Very. Important. Time. that you need to make for yourself.
I hope some of these help you out! Your life is just that. It’s yours, and as Entrepreneurs – we are pretty lucky (or cursed, some would say) in that we can make it exactly how we want it to be. Nobody said it would be easy. But nothing worth having is easy, right??
If you have tips to add to this list – drop them below!! Let’s share the love and support for the people who might not have that community around them.
If you have other questions for me or suggestions on what I should write about next, let me know!!