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!

Emerald & Ivy :: Formerly Blush Creative Photography :: east tennessee Wedding & Elopement Photographer

I think we all are constantly striving to get from "here" to "there" - whatever that means for you. For some that may mean a new house, a promotion, completing a degree or getting married, having children... I love when I realize that I'm in a "here" place that used to be "there."

"Because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness." - Lamentations 3:22-23
 

Currently, I'm sitting in my home-office of our new home (as of this past summer), with two crazy toddlers playing in the next room, and a handsome husband at work. In a prominent place on our living room wall is a canvas of a quote that is an adaptation of the verse above. It's a daily reminder to me - that God has brought us "here." 

I'm also reflecting on the past 8 years in business. Although I still have much to learn and changes to make, I am so very blessed to be in a "here" place. When I started photography, I would shoot anything & everything - for the experience & exposure. I was  dreaming of the day that I would be "there." For me that was to contribute to the household, stay home from the corporate job and raise our family, take care of our home, and do what I love - Weddings & Elopements. Now, as of last year, I'm "Here." 

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It's also made me realize, that in the past several years I have sort of "grown out" of the business name & branding style that I started with. In the past 3 years really - I cringe a little every time I tell someone my business name, thinking they'll find it cheesy and immature. If you know me, you know I'm not really the kind of person to let people's opinions bother me. But when it comes to branding... It matters how you're seen. Even more important than perception though, is the client's experience. (More on that in a bit.)

So for the past 2 years I've been collecting my thoughts, prayers, dreams, phrases or words that have deep meaning personally, or in symbolism... And I've landed on something I just can't seem to cross off the list. 

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For me, the Emerald is more than just a stone. It's a deep sense of knowing who I am, and where I come from. Growing up, my family used to go "Gemstone Grubbing" every weekend during the summer. If you don't know what that is... you're really missing out! You get a big back of dirt and a miner's pan, and have to find the gold/gems. It's rugged and dirty and wonderful. :) We moved around a lot growing up, and as I struggled with each new school to find my place, family was always constant. And my big box of rocks. They're probably worthless stones, but I know those experiences and memories are more valuable than I could have imagined. 

It's a part of my childhood, my story, my birthstone & favorite color, and symbolizes "complex emotion, growth, peace, balance, healing." It's also said that it's the most calming color - which is what I strive to be for my clients, through the planning process and especially on their Wedding Day. I think your photographer should be someone that settles your nerves, and has a calming presence on this sometimes chaotic and whirlwind of a day. I'm also drawn to rich color, contrast, and deep emotion in my images. 

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Ivy is always seen to represent growth through even through the toughest environment, as well as deep emotional connection and affection, or eternal love. 

There's SO much I could say about my beliefs on love, eternity, marriage... but I want this part of my business name to represent another term I found in researching the meaning & symbolism of Ivy: Fidelity. Faithfulness. I believe that's one of the core values you should find in marriage. I have been so very blessed with a wonderful and faithful husband. We aren't perfect and we don't always agree on things - I let the dishes pile up and he throws his clothes on the floor. But I truly believe God created us for each other, to complete one another and honor Him in our marriage. I pray for that forever love & faithfulness for every couple I have the honor of working with. 

God's faithfulness has also been very evident in my life, in my business, in my heart. I prayed for this business. I desired to have something that I could do for others, and I couldn't do this without His faithfulness in giving me this talent, a supportive and encouraging husband, helpful and gracious family, and bringing the right clients along. 

If you're still reading, thanks so much for sticking with me! I'm not a writer, by any means! But I wanted to share my heart, in why I've decided to change my business name.  

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