Create that elusive work-life balance with these tips, direct from other entrepreneurs

For entrepreneurs, crafting a sustainable work-life balance can be challenging. They single-handedly do the jobs of multiple people and many keep their day jobs while building their businesses to ensure financial stability. None of which leaves a lot of free time for a game of basketball with friends, a distraction-free family dinner or a weekend getaway with a significant other.

The quest to excel in your professional life without feeling like your personal life is nonexistent or resting impatiently on the back burner requires a lot of trial and error. But the challenge is worth it. Take some tips from these entrepreneurs and start implementing them until you find something that works for you.

Setting realistic goals is the first step to mastering time management so it’s easier to squeeze in valuable time for personal pursuits, family and friends. Rick Hesketh, Commercial and Operations Director of Jori Sports, and his business partner have learned this firsthand. “We’re still both working full time (for now) and I’ve got a young family (so don’t get much sleep). It’s difficult balancing a work life, your own business and your personal life. We’ve become very goal driven, setting targets and making sure we hit them every month. If you’ve got clear goals set, and know how to reach them, you can manage your time much better.”

Scheduling time off, just like you schedule a meeting with a client, is also a common tactic. Brittany Quagan, owner of Journeys: Holistic Wellness & Anxiety Relief Center, says, “Balancing life and business is something that has always been challenging. Entrepreneurs don’t have days off and work odd hours, so making time for yourself and your social life is not always easy. I’m pretty diligent with scheduling my me time, which has helped quite a bit.”

Build your business pursuits around one of your passions like graphic designer and brand specialist Brianna Schretlen. This entrepreneur didn’t want to come home at night and toil away on her computer like she’d done all day. So, she started painting pet portraits as a side business, and now her company, Bri Pet Portraits, feels like a hobby. “I enjoy my evenings more. Instead of more computer time, I’m getting my hands dirty and making something from scratch.”

She also strives to look at the big picture, factoring in how her small business is benefiting her overall quality of life. “My day job still comes first, and that’s OK. I have long-term goals with my paintings and I still really enjoy my career as a designer. I think accepting the mutual benefits is the best way to overcome the balance. Pushing myself as a designer makes my pet portraits better. And having a small side business allows me to test new ideas for marketing and promotions before bringing them to the table.”

Use the most important people in your life, and time with them, as fuel for your work. Lisa Christoffel and Ryan Suits both focus on this, citing their children and family members as sources of motivation. Christoffel, who runs a photography business, works around the country all while remaining diligent about spending time with her two young daughters. She says, “I draw inspiration from life’s simple, most cherished moments and from my young family.”

Suits—who runs K.A.N Bags, is expecting his first child and helping to care for his sister-in-law—started his own business to achieve a better work-life balance for himself and create a company that prioritizes enabling a healthy work-life balance for its employees. He says, “As a business owner, I believe that if you treat your employees like family they will, in return, do great work for you.”

Whether you decide to set out to master effective time management, shift your business focus so work feels a little less like work, use time with family to recharge your engine, schedule time off, or try to make it easier to achieve a balanced life for yourself and others, a healthy work-life balance will only benefit you, and your business, in the long run.

Interested in learning more about these entrepreneurs? Check out their websites.

Rick Hesketh of Jori Sports

Brittany Quagan of Journeys: Holistic Wellness & Anxiety Relief Center

Brianna Schretlen of Bri Pet Portraits

Ryan Suits of K.A.N Bags, LLC

Lisa Christoffel of Lisa Catherine Photography


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