A host of factors, developments, and dynamics have made most industries more competitive than ever. As a result so many of us wonder whether there is still such a thing as work-life balance. We reached out to the community to hear perspectives on finding the right balance.

Peggy Des Jardines | Tattoo Artist

Work life balance is something I think about constantly and that informs my business practices more than anything else. Before I started tattooing full time, I would take any opportunity to do tattoos and was constantly drawing and doing research on top of the time I spent at my day job. I think that was necessary and worked well for me at the time, and up until shortly after opening Friendship Tattoo. But after working on tattooing semi-obsessively for a few years, I was very burnt out. I noticed that I resented how busy I was, which started to eclipse how grateful I am to be able to do the work I do, and that was a huge red flag. This reached an extreme after a few months of working during the pandemic, so I took a break to re-evaluate. I decided to transition from doing mostly custom tattoos to doing only flash (pre-drawn images that clients can choose from). Read more>>

Sara Murphy & Jennie Ngo | Owners of The Flour Shop Colorado

We work now more than ever before (and we love it!). Being passionate about the business we’ve built has played a huge part in how we feel about work-life balance. Yes, we work long hours and don’t take a lot of days off, but we also enjoy what we’re doing and while growing our business we’ve also grown our friendship. Long hours in the kitchen and at events are actually really fun for us and so we get to combine our work & social lives into one. We’re lucky to have supportive spouses & family members who are understanding of our crazy schedules and who always show up to support us in any way they can. Read more>>

Clare Henkel | Costume Designer

I started designing costumes when I was in my mid 20’s. That was before marriage, before children, etc . Becoming a mother changed many things about my work/life balance. Part of my brain was always thinking about my children–you just can’t help it! There were times when either my stepdaughter or later my son would come with me to work–this messed up the balance in some ways, but leveled it all out in others. Being a theatre artist means that there were times when I could not be present for child-related things; but other times when I could spend so much more time with them than someone who works 9-5. Thankfully, I’ve had a great husband all of this time, who has been an active participant! As life continued, and many mothering duties eased up or went away, I found myself working more and more. But as I’ve gotten older, and especially this past year during Covid, I have realized that I am ready to do other things in my life. Read more>>

Emily Behnke | Fashion + Lifestyle Photographer

My work and life balance has significantly changed over the past few years. As I navigate through life and choose which paths to walk; I listen very closely to the universe. Like many entrepreneurs, as I started exploring my artistic abilities and hobbies as a source of income, I was also working a full time job. Well, full transparency, I was working a full time job, a part time job, and trying to figure out how to take on clients + create art in my own “free” time. Which, as you can image, was very limited. Although I am a creative in every sense of the word; I eat, sleep, and breathe art + creation. All of this running around and working left no time for valuable relationships in my life, long walks with my dog, or anything of the other things I used to have time to enjoy. I’ve got one heck of a work ethic but the “balance” was missing. As most of us had one heck of a last year, I think it is safe to say it taught us all a lot. Most importantly it gave us time to learn more about ourselves. Read more>>

Marissa McDaniels | Founder of Light Rae Exposures; Portrait, Wedding and Elopement Photographer

Balance is very important to me. I am always trying to achieve and prefect balance in my personal life and business. My work life balance has changed over time from working all the time to make a paycheck. Skipping time with family and making excuses to do make healthy choices because I needed to hustle to keep the roof over our head an food on the table. I have learned that money comes and goes and you can’t get back time. Therefore, I changed my values of being that girl that will pick up every shift and stay late because I told myself I needed the money. In reality I needed balance between work, family and me time. Now, I have created boundaries for myself to keep the balance between work and my personal life. I still grind and channel my inner hustle all the time to create a business that fulfills myself and others. I have a quote that lives rent free in my head, “to get to the castle you must swim the mote.” That quote keeps my fire going. Read more>>

Kathryn Dickinson | Founder of AILLEA

Prior to AILLEA, I have always been able to have work/life separation. I have always been an incredibly hard working – happily working evenings, weekends, extra hours – whatever it takes to get the job done. But when I left my previous jobs to go home, I was almost always able to leave my work behind. Since starting AILLEA, I have worked 365 days a year. When its your own company, there is no down time and there is always something more that can be done. Not every day is a full 7-10 hour day, it might be something small like answering emails etc. But there are no longer days or weekends off. As a result, I have looked to create work/life integration and simply grab small pockets of personal time whenever I can. If thats tennis at 10:00 a.m. on a Tuesday with a friend – I do it and I don’t feel guilty. If that means driving to the mountains on a Thursday and working remotely for a few days, I do that. If its dinner with no phones with my husband – we do that! But I always make sure each day to carve out a little time for myself to rest and reflect. Read more>>

Cori James | Tattooer, Triathlete, Life Enthusiast

As a young tattooer in the early days of my career, I was brought up in the industry surrounded by the “eat, sleep, and breathe tattooing” type of artists. They would work from noon til midnight on a regular basis and only talked about tattooing, tattoos, and tattooers. They worked, worked, and worked some more and would wear their exhaustion like a badge of honor. And if I’m being completely honest…I absolutely hated that environment. I hated the idea of focusing all of my energy and time on my job- even though my job is awesome and super fun and I adore it- it’s still my job and I hated the thought of prioritizing it over my family, friends, and living my life outside of the tattoo shop. I tried to keep up with my coworkers at first by working myself to the bone, but it’s just not who I am and it makes me a crabby, uninspired tattooer when I am over worked. I realized early on, that that just isn’t the kind of tattooer I wanted to be. Read more>>

April Hanley | Stylist

As I’ve aged and gone further into my career I have found that 12 hour days simply can’t happen anymore. 40 hour work weeks have turned into 20 hour work weeks. How I’m able to balance that is to 1. Know your target market and find them 2. Charge what you’re worth 3. Only do the services you genuinely love. Spend the time to consciously hone your clients. Then when you open your books on a busy Saturday, you’re excited to see them filled with the people you enjoy spending time with. When you’re only working 3 day work weeks and you’re able to enjoy the life you’ve created, you’ll thank yourself. Read more>>

Lindsey Rainwater | Wife. Mama. Business Advisor. Founder & CEO of WIFA & Third Way Advising. Writer. Speaker. Runner. Cyclist. Dog Mama. I am Committed To Women Succeeding.

Personally, that word does not work for me, ha, we need a new placeholder for what we mean when we say balance. Here is how I think about it, I have my big 3 categories that my entire universe is all about, My partner, My Children, My Business, and for me those big three are stood up by my spiritual belief system and support system (friends). So instead of creating an equal relationship to all those things, I look at how can I integrate as many of the people and activities that I love into each day. How do I schedule my time outside of the traditional work day that was invented for men by men, but instead disrupt the system and work when it is best for my family. Could be at night, mid day or early morning. What I know is balance in large part is in service of how other people want my life to be where I live on the spectrum of integrating everything I care about and then creating blocks of time to give my attention to what I love the most. Read more>>

Kendall Mathews | Chocolatier & Pastry Chef

Being a stay and home mom and running m2 Confections full time was not part of my plan initially- I had intended on going back to work after my maternity leave…but then the world exploded one month in after my daughter was born in February 2020. All of a sudden, we had to figure out how we were going to support ourselves- my husband Jon was furloughed, and I ultimately got laid off. M2 Confections had been our side business for several years, but it seemed like it was time to take it on full time. Mother’s Day last year was our busiest holiday to date, and it has only gotten busier since then. Now Jon just started a new job, so I’m trying to do it all (and i think it’s going pretty well…most of the time!) Figuring out work life balance has proven to be a difficult task. Read more>>

Chelsea Pierotti | University Instructor | Entrepreneur

To me, the idea of work life balance is going about it the wrong way. It’s impossible. But not because it’s impossible to balance, but because I don’t believe they should be in opposition to each other. The phrase “work-life balance” implies these two things are sitting on opposite sides of a scale. And in order to be happy, you have to figure out how to keep these two things balanced every minute of every day. When the scales slightly tip one way or the other, you feel guilt, shame, and a sense of failure. I spent years in this trap. Every time I had to cancel on a friend because I had to spend the night working, or every time I had to tell my husband I wouldn’t be home in time for dinner because I was studying… I felt guilty. I felt ashamed of my work because it was taking away from other things that I love. Read more>>

Robin Lyons | Jeweler + Research Assistant

In the nearly four years since starting my business, this has probably been the most challenging aspect for me. Since I do have another job as well, I have not had the luxury of making my business my top priority (as much as I would like to). And then of course, there are all the other priorities in life outside of work, like time with my husband, family and friends. I have definitely learned the value in letting go of certain pressures and expectations for myself in order to find a healthy balance. Work is very important, but I don’t believe life should revolve around it. Read more>>

Tina Jones | Licensed Esthetician & MUA

At the beginning of my career balance did not exist unfortunately! I was trying to jumpstart my own business while also trying to be a whole mom to 3 daughter and a wife. Sadly at that time I didn’t have systems in place, I was overwhelmed and did not have a concrete plan. Let’s just say the work life balance lance did not exist. Over time the mindset shifted for the better. I’ve been utilizing my calendar/planner to organize my days and this has helped out significantly. I have also increased my productivity by writing down 3-4 things to do a day and crossing them out as I go. We’re not meant to be overwhelmed all the time; it can limit your drive, passion, and it can disturb you life’s pattern. That can definitely affect the one’s you love. I now choose to enjoy the journey and take it easy. Read more>>

Lelia Davis | Art Activist

The most important factor in my creative process is finding the right balance of solitude and socialization. Solitude is essential for sustaining a creative flow, a requirement for my creativity. While this allows me to create successful paintings, they rely upon my ability to engage with the art community in order for them to see the light of day. Forming relationships with other artists and gallery owners is not only satisfying and validating, but being part of a supportive artist community is essential on many levels. Read more>>

Hailey Hodapp | Hair-activist, Creative, Mom, Friend

Is balance even a thing? No but honestly this has been a life long struggle and I do feel that the time during quarantine I was able to break down what it means to my life and business. The way that I find balance, is by making sure that I have a list of five things that are non-negotiable for my mental health. I find that making time to have a solid evening and morning routine helps me get through the inevitable tough and busy days. First, I make sure to do one load of laundry every day. This allows me to free up my weekend or days off from too much house work. Second, I make sure to go to bed at 10pm the nights I have work the following day. This allows me to get quality sleep, and wake up refreshed. Third, I put my phone on sleep mode from 9pm-7am, I have learned over the years there is nothing that cant wait until the next morning to handle. I won’t be replying back to clients at 1am anymore. Read more>>

Stephanie Jacques | CEO / Small Business Owner / Advanced EMT

For most of my life, I have been very career driven. I would make life-altering choices based on what was best for my career (from staying in on a Saturday night to study, while in college, to moving across country for a job opportunity that would advance my career to not dating). In the past, I gave up a lot of my personal life in order to advance my career. Today, I feel that I have a much better work-life balance. With the changes I have made, including taking control of my personal life, I now enjoy my days off including the privilege of experiencing life in a whole new way. I’ve seen more aspects of Colorado in the past 6 months than I have in the previous 5 years that I have lived here. I now have the choice to work when and where I want to as I am not scrambling to find the next paycheck. I’m able to spend time doing fun activities around the area that have been on my “Colorado-To-Do-List” for a while. Read more>>