Tips to have a life AND a business

So often I hear other business owners talking about how hard it is maintaining “balance” in owning a business, and not working yourself ragged, just getting from week to week or month to month.
It’s still a learning process. Don’t get me wrong. I haven’t “arrived” when it comes to having it all together all the time… But I have learned (sometimes through hard lessons) how to keep my sanity and a full time career while raising a family.

So here are some things that I hope will help you!

Tip #1 : Let go of the idea of a perfect balance.

It looks different for everyone, so I can’t tell you that you should only work “ … ” number of hours a week, or you should spend however many days as “personal/family” days…

Allow yourself some grace. In a perfect business scenario, you could make 6 figures working 2 hours a week, but that’s not realistic for most. Yes, good things come to those that hustle… but when we talk about “balance” we really mean separating work from the rest of our life, and keeping them separate in terms of a healthy amount of time spent on each, whatever that magic number of work hours is for you a week. Maybe it’s 2. Maybe it’s 30. But “balance” will mean different things for everyone.

Balance may mean handling business calls/emails/work during kiddos’ nap time every day, or after everyone else is at work/school. Maybe it just means discipline in not staying on social media longer than necessary. Set a timer on your phone, to only spend 30 minutes answering emails, then move down your To-Do list. If they don’t get answered the same day - allow yourself that grace. It will be alright!
Maybe you have the ability to mentally turn the “boss” mode OFF, but if you’re passionate about your work and your goals, they often will flow into every aspect of our lives. So finding a “balance” in staying happy and healthy, while continuing to take care of your customers/clients means different things for each business owner.

 

Tip #2 : Learn to say NO.

It seems easy enough, but as a service based business sometimes being a “people-pleaser” comes with the territory.
Having a business is not only just having a passion for what you’re doing (because it’s going to be hard to keep going when it gets tough, if you’re not “all-in” and committed to making it work) - but recognizing the things that do or do not bring you joy - and letting those things go.

For me, it was the type of photography sessions I was taking on. I learned to graciously but unapologetically say “No.” In doing so, I have felt more freedom, balance, and joy from NOT doing those jobs.
and realizing that working until 3am, doing so many sessions I could barely keep up with the editing, and answering client texts during our “family time” didn’t REALLY get me ahead, and really wouldn’t have disappointed anyone if I learned to say NO much sooner in my business.

Be honest with yourself and those around you - respect yourself and your time & resources if that’s the case. Do what makes you happy, leave the rest.

 

Tip #3 : Be proud of where you’re at - and stop comparing yourself to others.

In business and in life. Social Media allows us to put the best part of our lives out for everyone to see - the most photogenic, the best of 20 selfies or family photos… where everything is in place and everyone looks so happy.
So it’s easy to compare yourself to another business - that seems to be busy every week with new clients, or has over 3K followers on instagram, or always has the most beautiful photos to share, or clients that naturally look like they belong in a magazine… Or to compare your life with your friend’s - whose house is always clean, their kids are always well-dressed with their hair combed, and she had time to do her hair and makeup on a Thursday!

So be proud of where YOU are! Focus on what you’ve learned, been given, and what season of your life or business you’re in. You don’t know the struggles they have, or where they’ve been, or what they’ve sacrificed to be where they are in business or the trials they face now (personal or business).

As for your business… Everyone starts somewhere. If you’re reading this - you’re seeking help and TRYING to figure it out. I’m here to help!
You can’t compare your business to another that has different clients, different pricing or style, experience, etc…AND just because they’re successful doesn’t take anything away from your business.
Learn from their hustle, keep at it, and do YOU. Remember: Comparison is the thief of joy.

 

Tip #4 : Unplug.

Something I didn’t always have the discipline to do, until the past several years - was set office hours.
Your week may not look like mine, but at the beginning of every week - I set my “work” hours for that week. I make appointments and meetings for when the boys are in school, or use that time to edit and answer emails, plan my social media posts or plan marketing actions for the week. I also have a wonderful Mother-In-Law that watches the boys for one LONG work day for me!
When it’s time to “clock out” I turn off my computers, push in my office chair, clear off my desk, and leave my phone on the table. My smart watch tells me if I get a call or text I need to answer right away, or I can ignore and keep building a lego T-Rex with the boys.
I’ve also turned off sound notifications for email, facebook, instagram, and twitter. I can check when I want, but don’t feel obligated to answer right away - so I don’t feel the pressure to always be working.

When you start to set boundaries for how people can reach you, they will respect your privacy and your time more! If you answer their text during dinner - they learn that’s okay. It’s not.

 

Tip #5: Self-Care.

I know exactly how hard it is to be a wife, mom, and a full-time business owner. It’s tough! There’s so many people that depend on me, and the “people-pleaser” in me NEEDS to do it all. But it’s also important for you to care for yourself; To take care of your own health and happiness, and do something that recharges your soul.

You can’t expect to be your best for anyone if you’re exhausted and worn thin, mentally and physically.

Eat healthy. Stay active or schedule time to exercise in some form. Get enough sleep. Stay away from unhealthy relationships. (Yes, I said it. Unfortunately, I have learned how to let go of toxic relationships, or people that drain my energy and happiness.) Do something for yourself, with no deadlines or rules.

For me, self-care is taking time each day for a short devotion and prayer time. Occasionally I like to get my nails done. I love being outdoors, and taking a hike with Ben and the boys is as therapeutic to me as a massage (although, I won’t turn one down). It doesn’t always mean pampering yourself, but could be something simple that you enjoy. Whatever recharges you and helps you be your best self. Make the time!

 

I hope this helps you!

Leave me a comment below if you have any other tips, or if any of these have helped you personally!

Wedding Day Items You Didn't Know You Needed

Like any well-prepared bride, you’ve probably made an ultimate check-list, but what could you be missing? In my experience, here’s a few items you probably forgot to include - but could come in handy!

 
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A STEAMER

This seems obvious - but it’s often forgotten! The Last thing you want are bridesmaids in wrinkled dresses coming down the aisle, and in all your photos! Or a crinkled veil! Not a bad idea to send one with your Groom as well!

 
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A BEAUTY BAG

Your makeup artist will create a look to last all day, but sometimes touch-ups are inevitable. Have a small bag of powder, lipstick, and oil-blotting papers just in case!

 
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COMFY SHOES

You may have dreamed of those gorgeous heels, but they may not be the best dancing shoes. Stash a pair of flats in your bag! (They make some that are super compact and will fit in a clutch!) Or consider cute Kate Spade Keds that photograph well too!

 

BRUNCH / LUNCH

Remember to stock up on snacks & drinks to keep everyone from getting “hangry” or passing out! Especially in the summer months, extra water bottles are a must! If it’s too much to remember on your day, ask a friend or bridesmaid to arrange fruit, bagels, muffins, or sandwiches. Or have somewhere cater lunch in for both Bride and Groom.

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CUTE CLOTHES TO GET READY IN

Matching robes are always a favorite for this photographer! They make for some really beautiful getting ready photos, fun group photos, and look classy! But don’t forget to wear cute clothes underneath also! We don’t want the robe slipping open to reveal just undergarments - but you want to make sure you can slip it over your head and not mess up your hair! If you don’t have a robe - a button up or wide-necked top will be perfectly fine.

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AN EMERGENCY KIT

Bobby pins, Safety pins, band-aids, Advil, deodorant, a sewing kit, super glue, fashion tape… to name a few I’ve experienced needing on a wedding day! Some of these items I carry with me, as well as a crochet hook, scissors, tampons, breath mints… In the summer I also recommend Sunscreen spray, and for outdoor weddings - Bug Spray.

 

PORTABLE SPEAKER

Whether you want to relax or keep the mood fun while you’re getting ready, music sets the mood! Create a playlist that starts with soothing songs, and gradually gets more energetic and fun! Try out the search feature in Pandora, and search for either Wedding Day Country or Pop!

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PRINTED TIMELINES

Your photographer should help you create a schedule for photos to convey to wedding party & family. Knowing the general timing of what’s happening at what time will put everyone at ease and help the day run smoothly! Some of my most organized couples have even put together a Girls/Guys list of duties and where everyone needs to be when, who needs to be setting up what or driving everyone from hotel to venue, etc.
If you’re an Emerald + Ivy couple, at our very first consultation we’ll set a rough timeline to give you times that hair and makeup should be completed, flowers should be delivered, decor finished, dinner served, etc.

 
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EXTRA UNDERGARMENTS

Trust me, you don’t know what might snap or rip, and if you have extras you won’t fret one bit! Also make sure you have the proper undergarments for your wedding gown! And try them on together before the big day (at your last fitting if you’re having your dress altered) to ensure a good fit, comfort, and long wear! (Not to mention, make sure those sticky cups will hold through sweating if you’re getting married in the warmer months of the year!)

 

COORDINATOR

A wedding planner, venue coordinator, day-of MC, or an organized friend - whatever you decide - will take a lot of pressure off you! They can hold on to your beauty bag or clutch and emergency kit, and make sure things happen as they should behind-the-scenes. It also takes some pressure off of the photographer - to not have you stressed or having to check on decor. Show someone before the big day how you want tables decorated, etc… and let them handle it!

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I hope these tips have been helpful!
Anything I’m missing? Leave me a comment!