I’m not a mother (well, to my puppies I am), I don’t work a 9 to 5, and my Instagram sure looks like I have plenty of time for fun things. These are just some of the comments thrown my way every now & then when people don’t truly understand my career. While I feel there are many different approaches to this subject, here is mine.
I run a small business–it’s no different than owning a boutique, being a massage therapist, practicing law, walking dogs. A small business requires a lot of your time. Especially if you’re trying to “make it,” succeed, excel, make money. Small business owners know this, it’s a hustle and it doesn’t ever really stop.
But when you want something bad enough, you make it happen. And a lot of times that means making sacrifices. Sometimes it’s skipping a birthday dinner, not joining your friends for GNO, working instead of watching TV. It’s not always the fun route, but it’s the necessary route. In an industry without a [blogging] “manual,” navigating your career is challenging and surrounding yourself with supportive people is important.
I’m lucky in the sense that my friends and family mostly understand my job. Actually it’s taken years for some of my family to understand what it is I do, but that’s also partially because I always have my hand in a 100 different projects. But ultimately my inner circle of friends and family see the effort I put into my business and that my time is limited. Spending time with my family is a priority so I make a point of doing it. Even if it’s just a meal, it needs to happen.
To put things into perspective imagine this, 2 days per week I shoot in the city for a few hours. The commute there & back is obviously traffic-filled, as optimal lighting is either early in the morning or the afternoon so…traffic. Therefore, my little 2-3 hours shoot just turned into a 4-5 hour ordeal. Half the day, gone. Then, the other days I’m attending events, meeting, dinners (also all in the city), so I’m chained to my desk in the morning to get through emails, write blog posts, manage the business, etc., leaving me with no time to really grocery shop, work out, hang out. SO, one morning per week I allow myself a few hours to get my errands done (groceries, dry cleaning, Target, etc.). Now comes the weekend, I’m exhausted–physically, mentally, & sometimes emotionally (depending on the week)–and I need to spend quality time with my husband, who during the week is working all day. If we happen to have a few spare hours do I really want to make plans? No. I want to relax, be home, hang with the dogs, read a book.
It can come off sounding like excuses to others because, yes, we all work. We all work, and I don’t have kids (love that reminder), so why am I any different? The truth is, I’m not any different. I just chose to spend my time differently. I used to feel guilty for not having the energy or just not wanting to do something, and would force myself. This may be something that comes with age, but I’ve learned that saying ‘no’ does not make me a bad friend. True friends will understand, and true friends will support your decisions. Some of my friendships have slowly fizzled and I’m well aware that my lack of availability is the reason, but honestly, I don’t really feel a loss. I’ve had to filter my surroundings and now I see who really is a true friend.
This post isn’t intended to bash friendships BTW, it just sort of comes with the territory of finding a work-play balance. I’m not perfect; I know I can improve on the balance, but I’m doing my best and right now this is where I’m at. As life goes on and things change, I’m navigating the best way I know.
Someone recently asked me about work-family balance and it made me realize that probably many of us deal with this struggle as bloggers and entrepreneurs. It’s hard work, but when it makes you happy, everyone around you should be able to recognize that and be there for you. Do any of you have any tips or experience dealing with this? What works for you? Share with me.