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.

Erik Johnson | Acupuncturist & Beekeeper

Between running two businesses (an Acupuncture/Chinese Medicine practice and a beekeeping business), being a father/husband, and still finding personal time to explore/connect/recharge, life is all about finding a good balance. When covid hit, I found myself in the same state of disorder that many of us experienced – my practice was forced to shutdown, childcare and in-person school for my daughters were no longer an option, and I was following stay-at-home orders with my family. In these moments of chaos, I have learned that the best way to regain balance is to focus on the things that I can control and to always keep an open mind about new possibilities. I also made sure to give myself permission to grieve and to honor the varying emotions that came up with all of the abrupt changes in life. Even if I didn’t understand the complexities of my emotions, I still honored them and gave myself space to express them. While I am not suggesting that covid has been a good thing, it surprisingly has opened up more possibilities than I could have ever imagined. Read more>>

Gretchen Bartek | Founder and CEO of Adelska

Especially given the last year. I have a really hard time doing anything half way. When the kids were put out of school, that was really tough for me to balance. Nothing got my full attention or best effort. I was trying to work all day and help my kids with their remote learning – it nearly broke me. I was watching them struggle and get depressed and in the meantime, my company was taking new blows everyday. I think the most important things I learned was to prioritize and be present. When I’m with my kids, I try to be 100 % present for them. I need to be all in for them in order to be patient and encouraging, which they needed this year more than ever. Work had to come second, but I found ways to make it happen. I’d get up early so I could get a few hours in and then go back to work once their schooling was done and my husband came home from work. This is not to say I had it harder than anyone else. The challenges parents faced this year were unlike any other, and I am constantly blown away by the resiliency and creativity I hear from other parents. I have a stronger community now than ever before and I am so thankful for that. Read more>>

Cephas Talbot | Music Producer, Graphic Artist, & Clothing Designer

I think as I have been blessed enough to grow my artistry and achieve some of my goals I have put more focus on developing a work life balance that focuses a little less on just making art every waking moment on the day. I guess I have learned the importance of taking a moment to “smell the roses” as one would say and that has really stimulated my creative growth and ability to come up with new ideas constantly. Read more>>

Dr. Rachel Kapustka | Chiropractor & Ketogenic Lifestyle Coach

I was 33 years old when my husband and I started our business. We were young and we really had no other responsibilities than getting our practice going. Our life was 100% focused on connecting with people in the community, volunteering, making friends, taking care of clients, building networking groups with colleagues and growing. We married 2 years into having our business and 6 months later we were pregnant. This experience allowed us to connect with more parents and people who were family planning. At the same time, as a female professional, I felt pulled in multiple directions but mostly between the love and passion of my profession and with my life’s greatest purpose of being a mom. It was an easy decision to prioritize motherhood and it was uncomfortable to take a back seat in our business and as a chiropractor. The balance slowly worked itself out in the first few years of motherhood and we are blessed to have a family practice so I could enjoy serving the community while being able to mostly focus on being a mom. Read more>>

Melanie Jannicelli Shutt | Wedding Planner

I think having a good work-life balance is incredibly important, especially as a business owner. The two key words for me are “balance” , “boundaries” and “flexibility”. For the first five years after I started Kimberly Rose Events, I was still working an additional full-time job. So, that time, I literally worked all day, went home, and worked all night on weddings. The balance was not there, but it was what I had to do to get myself to where I am today. After I was able to quit my full-time job and focus on KRE full-time, I got a lot better at creating that work-life balance. Now, I have business hours listed in my contract, clearly outlining when to expect responses, etc. On weekends when I do not have events or scheduled meetings, I often put myself out-of-office to focus on family & home life. It is very easy to sit down at your desk to work and then look up and it’s already 6pm! I try to wrap everything for the day up by 5, so I can spend my evenings with my husband. Sometimes I do work in the evenings, but they key is only doing it when it’s really necessary. Setting boundaries with clients is important, so they are away of the appropriate times to be calling/texting you. I think for me, it’s also situational. Read more>>

Teri Houghton | Virtual Assistant for Creative Entrepreneurs

I think balance doesn’t truly exist. What does exist is doing your best in each part of your life. It is a give and take situation. Some days I am a better mom and some days I am better at my job. There are days when I just need time for me to refuel and deal with all life gives us. I want to be present in whatever part of my life that I am in. I want my clients to know that I am behind them pushing them to do their best. I want them to feel I am here to support them as they grow. The other side of that is as they grow so do I. I want my kids to know that when it is Mom time that I will do my best to be present and cherish the fleeting moments of their childhood. Life is a give and take situation. Sometimes I feel balanced in the best way I can and somedays I feel off center. In the end it is an imperfect life but so worth the journey. Read more>>

Andrew Beckham | Artist, Author, Photographer, FilmMaker, and Visual Arts Department Chair

I came out of art school in the early 90’s and wanted very much to make a go of it as a working artist. The reality was that the economic challenges were so stressful that my work really suffered as a result. I came into teaching sideways: first with some success applying to artist-in-residence grants for which teaching was a component, and then culminating with a Fulbright Fellowship in 1999 that really cemented my relationship with instruction and studio practice as a kind of mirrored, double career path. I’ve been teaching full time and chairing and art department at a college prep school for the last 20 years. The stability that a salary provides, combined with a genuine love for the classroom, allowed my studio practice to flourish. From where I sit now, I can’t imagine one without the other. So for me, the balance was finding how to establish an equilibrium between studio practice and teaching. It’s all work, of course, but it’s also my life, and exactly the one I had hoped to find. Read more>>

Cera Marquez | Oddity Creator and Fashion Stylist

In the beginning it felt like there was never a right time or place to rest; the moment I shut my eyes someone else is brainstorming their next move and the uneasiness that the next move would not be made by me was not an option. I have kicked my own butt the whole entire way, but as I get older and more settled in my career I do recognize that in order for me to be able to accomplish all the things I am wanting to I must first remember to ALWAYS check in with myself. If I am not okay then nothing else that matters to me is going to go to plan. I am a priority. Everything else relies on my capability to find balance within myself. Balance looks different to everyone so I encourage all my entrepreneurs and dreamers to take a look within themselves to identify what balance in their lives might look to them and apply. Read more>>

Christine Connell | Influencer & Lawyer

Work-life balance is an interesting and fluid concept for me. I am a full-time lawyer. I pursue creative passions – such as photography and writing – on the side through my social media accounts and blog, christinexploring. When I first started christinexploring, I was in law school, working several jobs to (barely) make ends meet. For a while, my life was more work-work balance. My free time was spent working on christinexploring, which, though fun, eventually started to drain me. As I have progressed in my legal career, I’ve learned to let myself have more of a balance. When a creative project is fun or appealing to me or is something I believe strongly in, I take it. However, I no longer feel obligated to take every good opportunity. I also no longer put pressure on myself to post consistently or go out and get content. With less pressure, I’m able to keep both of my jobs fun, and keep myself energetic and engaged in any projects I take. Read more>>

Diasha Ph | Photographer

I only felt the need of the work balance over time. When I nearly burnt myself out by not limiting my work and neglecting self care or the time off completely. Passion is great. Working hard is great. But you get pretty angry when you realize that your success doesn’t satisfy you anymore because you are exhausted. I started taking it seriously and every day in my calendar 8.30 pm is marked as the disconnection time. One of the important skills to learn when you are trying to establish that balance is your ability to say “no”. To yourself, to work, to the others who think since you are self employed- you must be really happy to work some more. Everyone deserves the balance. But nobody will establish it for you. Take control because the cost of not taking care of yourself is being burnt out. In my opinion that’s too costly. Read more>>

Danielle Barton | Business owner, Entrepreneur, Community Outreach Advocate

In the very early days of owning my business, I can recall someone saying there is no such thing as work life balance. Instead you have to treat it as a work life flow. I took that deep to heart. As business owners, we wear all of the hats in our companies. often times we wear many if not all at once. SO, the expectation to have a balance seems pretty unrealistic. There are going to be times when success, home or business, require more of your attention and you really have to be available to those needs. I suppose my feelings stem from reoccurring and rapidly life altering circumstances. My spouse and I have had the indescribable honor of adopting. We learned of our daughters existence four days before we brought her home. 15 short months later, we added her brother, again with just a few days notice. Believe it or not, 17 moths later and with a weeks notice, we were blessed with our third child. Somewhere around my middle kid I decided the sane thing to do would be to leave all of my steady financial security behind and start a business. To say I needed grace when it came to the “balance” between my work and home life. Read more>>

Sarah Goff | Wedding Photographer

When I began my journey as a creative entrepreneur eleven years ago, I was completely enamored by the idea of being self-made and making money without having to go to a job every morning. I had discovered a passion and talent for graphic design, specifically wedding stationery design and while I was working a full time job, I had rose-colored glasses on that made the entrepreneur idea seem like heaven. After quitting my full time job and focusing on my design business for five years, I began to realize that being self-employed is equally amazing and challenging. There were huge boundaries that I needed to set in place to keep myself sane and reduce stress. In the meantime, I had also discovered my love for photography. Again, I whipped on those rose-colored glasses for photography and couldn’t see anything else for several years. All I wanted to do was photograph beautiful couples in beautiful places. This zeal, mixed with my perfectionist personality, was a recipe for stress and burn-out. It’s taken some time, but I am now realizing how important work life balance truly is. Read more>>

Debbi Allison | Business Financial Strategist

I surrendered trying to achieve balance between work and life. It was a battle tearing me into two people. Now I harmonize my work as part of my life. I accept that my identity as a business financial strategist is me. I can’t be Superman and Clark Kent. That is the path to burnout. I need to be who I am all the time in order to be authentic to myself, and others. When you love what you do it becomes an integral part of who you are. I love empowering entrepreneurs to understand their numbers in order to make better decisions and have a more fulfilling life. I do practice healthy boundaries on how I allow my time to be allocated. I take time for self-care, and I allow the opportunity to live my mission when outside of “business hours” because it is part of who I am. Read more>>

Whitney Lynch | Owner & Baker of Kippcakes Baking Company

My work life balance has changed quite a bit over the last few years. It was in 2017 when things in my personal and professional life began shifting. My husband and I had our first child, a baby girl that year, while I simultaneously tried to get my very part time baking business off the ground. I then decided I wanted to be a stay at home mom, and quit my 9-5 day job. The shift was gradual, but as time went on, I slowly grew a small baking business on the side, while full time raising kids. It wasn’t until the end of 2019 and beginning of 2020 when the doors to my dreams began flying open. We had our second child, a baby boy, in early January and opportunities for Kippcakes (my business) were coming up left and right. I had to devote more time to my booming business and dream while also raising my beautiful kids – needless to say the balance was hard! Now, in 2021, my work life balance is an ever changing and evolving lesson I’m trying to learn. Read more>>

Brett Donelson | Founder & Executive Director

I have become much more comfortable understanding that when you create something the work is never done. You never “get there” and you are always advancing the organization’s mission. The moment you try to get everything done and get things perfect, it stalls the whole process. I have simply learned to have more balance in not having things perfect. Read more>>

DZIRAE GOLD | Musician – Modern Jazz and Soul

During my earlier years in life, I believe I had a relatively healthy work/life balance. When I think back to grade school, high school, and college, I knew how to have fun and still get my work done. The part that became unhealthy for me back then was the competition of it all. Rather than just focusing on learning the content I needed for life, my main goal was to get the best grades and to give the best performance compared to my peers. And as long as my closest competitors weren’t out performing me, I could rest easy and live a healthy, balanced life. However once I entered the work force, I realized I was working for people who would expect more of my time and energy than I was willing to give to their causes. I struggled with all of my career employers on this issue, because I value a healthy balance between work and life more than I think many members of the older generations do. I am an artist through and through; I refuse to be overworked and undervalued. I believe this is a growing sentiment among my generation. Read more>>