How to Balance Business and Life

I'm a new business owner. I'm still scoping out the avenues of owning a creative business, but if there is one thing I can tell you, it's this: I love it. I love meeting new people, bonding based off of love, and empowering others to go after their dreams. However, owning a business comes with seasons of struggles just as life does. My goal is to share the struggles I've faced in hope they will help you navigate.

When I approached Sweet As Honey with the intent of bringing it from hobby to full-time design business, I felt pressured to work 24/7.  Attributing my success to how many hours I put in each week, I worked for four months with that mantra. During those four months, I had anxiety when I chose family, my marriage, and rest over work. 

Which was so silly.  I had a job I was passionate about in every aspect of the word.  I loved building a business from the values closest to my heart. I loved spending time with creative females who chose community over competition. So why was my business beginning to weigh me down?

When I approached Sweet As Honey with the intent of bringing it from hobby to full-time design business, I felt pressured to work 24/7.  Attributing my success to how many hours I put in each week, I worked for four months with that mantra. During those four months, I had anxiety when I chose family, my marriage, and rest over work. 

Which was so silly.  I had a job I was passionate about in every aspect of the word.  I loved building a business from the values closest to my heart. I loved spending time with creative females who chose community over competition. So why was my business beginning to weigh me down?

I wasn't balancing life and business.

When you see potential in your business and have immense passion backing it, it is hard to take a step back.  The moment I realized I could make a career from doing what I loved, I started taking on multiple projects at once.  Trends started to sway my design soul and my style became obsolete. A thousand projects ran through my head, yet I didn't have the knowledge to rein them into fruition. Being left in the dust and poor business growth became my biggest fear, so I poured more time and money into half-worked ideas.  I didn't stop working. I didn't spend time with those I loved. I didn't say no. My business defined my life.

At a pivotal moment in my journey, I realized I needed to change course.  I started Sweet As Honey as a creative outlet and quickly regretted it the further I got. Grasping to make positive changes, I read all I could. Every article, tweet, and info graphic shared a common thread, do less with more focus.  Building a strong business will not happen overnight. It takes commitment, a bit of hustle, but most of all balance.

Developing balance in your life takes nurturing, grace, and time.  It won't be easy, but here are three steps I found to be crucial in my journey.

BRAND YOURSELF

A brand is more than a new logo.  Branding is the essence of your business, it's how you will connect with your audience before even speaking with them.  Business owners often fall into the trap of not taking the time to plan their brand before launching.  Branding is the foundation for your business.  Without understanding your values, ideal audience, and the purpose of your business, you miss out on valuable opportunities. 

Make the conscience choice to brand your business so it aligns with the values and goals you design. By doing this, you can pour more of your heart into your business in such a way that clients receive the full intent and purpose.  The benefits of branding are more extensive than I have room for in this post. Putting it short and sweet, branding weeds out difficult and unprofitable clients or projects, encompasses a sense of style, helps build relationships with businesses in the same niche, and provides a deep level of organization. A couple of things you can do to help uncloud the vision for your business:

Choose five words to best define your business.  Analyze pictures, emails, and tweets.  Hold them to the standard of your five words. This will weed out any content that won't cultivate your vision.

Create an inspiration board depicting how you want your clients to feel, the products and services you will offer, and the color scheme that best fits your ideas. 

Contact amazing creative professionals like Creme Brands, Green Tie Studios, and Meredith Bullock to book a creative coaching session. These ladies have a wealth of knowledge and can help you define your dreams to make them a reality.

CREATE BOUNDARIES

The fastest way to get to nowhere is to travel without boundaries.  Decide on your boundaries and stick to them. Develop daily procedures and turn them into habits when running your business.  Some boundaries I had to create for myself were: creating work hours and working only during those times, developing a workflow for projects, scheduling my day, and restricting time spent on social media.

When you create boundaries for your business, you are holding yourself and your clients to a certain standard of professionalism.  Some boundaries you won't know you need until you happen upon a situation that could have been solved through better procedures and boundaries. Remember, owning a business is trial and error.  It doesn't matter how many mistakes you make, as long as you turn those lessons into stepping stones to being better.

PRIORITIZE 

Write down what you consider priorities in your life, include business priorities and life priorities. Now rank them from most important to least important.  For me, I had to make two lists one for business and one for life.  My life came before business.  Items on my life list were things like: spending time with God, loving my husband, eating healthy foods and exercising. My business priorities were things like: make a vendor connection, respond to e-mails, work on client projects. 

The key to writing priorities is to not stray from them. Do the most important ones first and then move down the list to the least important. Working towards balance means reminding yourself of what is important in your life. Work will be there when you wake up in the morning, going outside and enjoying all the beauty with those you love may not.

Be intentional, be purposeful, be present, but most of all be balanced. Rome wasn't built in a day, so your business doesn't need to be built in that amount of time either.  We've been given the amazing opportunity to wake up every day and make the choice to cultivate a life we love. What do you do to ensure you have balance? How to your prioritize? Let me know what your most valuable business lessons are!