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.

Crystal Barbee | Photographer

I started this business as a creative outlet after having my son and becoming a stay at home mom. I wanted to be able to be there for him and not miss out on him growing up, but still have my voice in the world. So from the beginning, balancing my business with my family has been a priority. As the business grew and it went from being a hobby to part time to full time, I not only had to look at how to balance work and family, but how to balance time for myself as well. I started setting a schedule on what evenings I would work so I could be there for things like baseball games and family dinners, but also so clients knew what to expect when booking with me. I wanted to build this business around my family and not my family around the business. Read more>>

La’Alishia Gilbert | Yoga Instructor & PMA

Trying to find a balance between work, family, social, and personal time has been a real challenge in the last few months.   I can honestly say that the time away from work due to the Covid-19 pandemic, gave me time to rest, spend more time with my immediate family, and finally organize my affairs.  I bought an organizer.  I set goals for myself and my business.  I created plans to reach those goals.  I had the time, so I used it to evaluate what I have done, examine what I am currently doing, and explored options for growth and advancement with each of my businesses.  When I first opened my studio I wanted to be everywhere, all the time, just to show how great yoga is for the community and for self. Read more>>

Natalie Fields | Photographer & Travel Lover

Work life balance is extremely important. People tend to get absorbed into their careers and forget the other part of their lives. Family, personal time, etc. I believe life is made up by working hard but I also believe it is just as important to have time with friends, family and for yourself whatever activities those are. My work life balance has definitely changed as I was one that consumed myself with work but I have made it a priority to make sure that I am spending time and doing other things in my life. After all life is too short not to enjoy it! Read more>>

Byron Walter | Personal Trainer & Health Enthusiast

I believe balancing your work and life is very necessary. Especially in times like we find ourselves in today. You don’t want to burn yourself out and lose the passion that’s fueling your drive/career. Plus, it’s beneficial to your health and happiness. You want to be able to “let your hair down” in a sense and give your body and mind the proper time to decompress. You never know what epiphany or thought may come to you in that down time. Read more>>

Eric Lang | Actor

I love that I can set my own schedule and that I enjoy so much of the work I do. A challenge that comes along with that, however, is that you can end up working every day for long stretches without even realizing how much you are tiring yourself out. Over the last year or so, I have become much more intentional about trying to take one day off from work each week. There’s something so restorative about spending an afternoon without a clock ticking away at the back of your mind. “Wasted time” is often the most valuable time in my week, and taking time off also makes me more productive in the long run because it encourages me to crack down and hit the deadlines that I set for myself. Read more>>

Maggie Syfan | Professional Portrait Photographer

Work / life balance was very hard for me. The first 5 years of my photography career was so busy because things were booming and I allowed it to take over. I missed family dinners, birthday parties, and even had to miss a few family vacations. I was working 7 days a week with no time left for me or my family, and it wasn’t until our family started growing that I realized how much I was missing. That is when I started setting boundaries on when and where I would work. Before I had an office space, I used to keep my computer by my side at all times (which was part of the balance problem). Now that I have a space to work in, I get to designate time to be at the office and time to be home so that the two are not intertwined. Read more>>

Amber Young | Registered Nurse , Event Planner & CPR Instructor

As a mom, co-ceo and career woman; understanding work – life balance has been the key to my success. Being a great mom, supportive family member and friend has always been my priority, nothing superseds that. I’ve also told myself that success is nothing without people to share it with. Happiness to me is about creating balance while incorporating all the things I love and giving each of those things everything I have. Over the last few years my experiences have helped me evaluate the quality of my life, cherish everything I have, right my wrongs and grow into being a better person. Read more>>

Calvin Bennett | E-Commerce Business Owner & Graphic Designer

Having your own business, especially one that requires you to wear multiple hats, can be very demanding and time consuming. The majority of my time is spent catering to my business. It has become important for me to make a conscious effort to spend time outside of working to do things I enjoy so I do not feel too overwhelmed by managing my business. Read more>>

Ally Duncan | Actress & Account Executive

It’s been in my experience, that as you grow older, your priorities and what’s most important to you change. When I first graduated college with my BFA in Musical Theatre, I was just eager to be on stage in any capacity, all the time. I took every single gig I could get – whether that was a leading role, or in the back row of an ensemble. I was hungry, and feisty, and fought really hard for each opportunity. And I was working. ALL the time. Performing in 5-6 shows a season. I managed this schedule for about four years, and then the burn out hit. I missed weddings of family members and vacations. I missed true connections and opportunities to focus on myself and grow. Read more>>

Denise Patterson | Event and Graphic Designer & Balloon Artist

Whew! Work-life balance is my greatest struggle by far. It started from working in the restaurant industry and corporate fields that were open around the clock, such as hotels. I spent 15 years working in these industries and dedicated every second of those years to these jobs, mostly at the same time! Working numerous jobs has always been my “way of life”. The more income. the more freedom is how I justified it. Although I barely had days off to enjoy the fruits of my labor, I felt satisfied giving 110% of me to my employer. This quickly changed when I found my passion in entrepreneurship. I started feeling a sense of selfishness with my time. I wanted to put that 110% into my business and goals versus into another company. Read more>>

Davonne Reaves | Hospitality Strategist & Idea Executioner

My 16-month old son has changed my life and how I balance my work, life, balance. Two years of being an entrepreneur, is definitely different than being an entrepreneur today. In this short period of time, the world has changed, and my personal world has changed. Because of my son, I’m better at time management which is crucial for entrepreneurs. To optimize my time, I delegate and outsource a lot of tasks to make the best use of my time. For example, project management tasks for my development projects, online accounting and bookkeeping companies, graphic artists for marketing projects and I also use interns to make it a win win situation so they can learn, and they can help. Work. Life. Balance.

Melanie L. Denny | Your Career Empowerment Coach & Award-Winning Resume Expert

When I first started out in my business, I was young, single and kid free. I had all the time in the world to focus on growing my business. I would stay up ‘til the wee hours of the night researching and strategizing. Although I was juggling a full time job (sales calls at lunch/client emails between meetings) life was simple…work, business, socializing. Now…10 years later, I have a husband, a 7 year old and a set of 2 year old twins. It’s definitely a challenge balancing being a wife, mom and business owner – not to mention make time for myself and hang out with friends. When I was pregnant with the twins, I fell into a slump and once they were born, that spiraled into postpartum depression. Read more>>

Lauren Reyes | Hairstylist & Salon Owner

Work life balance is something that has evolved with me over the years as my priorities in life have changed. When I was younger I was very much a “Work Hard, Play Hard” kind of person. I worked long hours behind the chair, a lot of late nights and weekends, and I would go out on my time off, re charging through social activities. Now at 34, and as a parent I do things a different way. For one my hours at my salon are very different from what they used to be. I generally don’t work on the weekends anymore and I do my best to be off at six, so I can be home with my little little one and husband in the evenings. Spending time with my family is the most important thing to me and crucial to me feeling balanced and whole. Read more>>

Kashara “Kash” Morring | Licensed Advanced Nail Technician & Massage Therapist

Initially, starting my business, Palm N Sole Massage and Footcare, I felt it was important to be overly available. I think I was afraid that I would miss out if I didn’t take clients whenever they needed me. It ended up being a trap, as I was exhausted, drained and definitely was not taking care of myself as I should had been. I was taking it out on my household as well, and my daughter was acting out as a result. In February, I came down with a sickness that stopped me in my tracks. I was unable to take clients for almost two weeks, and was confined to my room during that time. Then once I was better and started rescheduling clients, I was hit with the response to the Coronavirus. Clients began suspending services, and I was forced with the hard decision to terminate my lease for my salon suite. Read more>>

Kera Dupree | Marketing Strategist & Brand Developer

I am now a person that looks at balance differently than I did a few years ago. I used to see balance as this unattainable thing that could only be achieved in some unrealistic life. I thought that in order to obtain success, you must be willing to remain unbalanced and be okay with it. Now, I look at balance as something that is subjective and is solely based on who we are as people. I view balance like some people view clay, it can be anything you want it to be. For me balance comes in the form of stress-free days, clear boundaries with family and friends along with the ability to have all of the things I desire without regret. Read more>>

Keena Wells | HR Professional & Consultant

Over the years, I have learned that work life balance is key to a lot of positive factors in my success. Initially all I knew was work. I worked long days and long nights. I’ve missed many lunches, kids events at school, and even vacation. Looking back I see it did not help me be more productive, rest, or mentally prepare for success. It did not help me reach my goals any faster. Finding balance today, I see it helps me to be more aware and creative. The importance of dividing my time became clear to me. I now prioritize and allow some things to wait and in turn leaving time in my day for family and self rejuvenation. Read more>>

H3NRY with a 3 | Music Producer, Mixing Engineer & Studio Operator

Work life balance is something I’ve become very passionate about. For most people, balancing your work and life is essentially deciding how much time you’re willing to devote to your job/career versus your personal life (spouse, kids, vacation, hobbies). The assumption here is that “work” is a completely separate category from “life”, and you have to balance the two to achieve order and stability. Enter the creatives, the entrepreneurs, the self-employed. While most of my high school buddies took the traditional college route and now work respectable jobs for big companies, I decided it wasn’t for me and began laying the groundwork to work for myself. Read more>>

Jazmin Guerrero | Founder

I think of balance as compartments rather than a scale. It’s very difficult when you are in a place in your life in which many aspects requires 110% of your time and effort. I feel that you’re not really giving 110% or even 100% when you spread yourself across all the different roles or responsibilities you may have. So what I like to do is compartmentalize and try to keep a schedule. Since I still work a full time job, I dedicate 110% when I am working that job. When it’s time to work on my business, I put all my attention and efforts in it. When it’s time to be home and spend time with my family, then it’s time to disconnect from the world and give them my 110%. Read more>>

Ekaterina Soyuznova | Visual Development Artist

Balance is quite a difficult thing to achieve. I still struggle with it these days. In the ideal world as my friend said there is such a thing as a Wheel of Balance. Family, work, Leisure, Health, Hobby, Friends, Self-growth – These sections should be distributed evenly throughout our daily lives. I managed to make a system each week, I have a rule get up early, that helps to fit in a lot of things in my day, and it always brings satisfaction to see the sunrise, hehe. I try to make a list of things i should do each day. Although sometimes what I do professionally can take up most of my time, I love my job! Read more>>

Brittany Wright | Travel Specialist & Apparel Brand Owner

My work life balance has completely changed after having my baby. I was working a 9-5 and running my business on the side. It’s really hard sometimes. I was really thinking about giving up on my business. I was having a hard time finding that balance. To be honest, I’m still not there yet. I chose to push through the sleepless night and the super early mornings. I look around and see so many women being moms and running their successful business. I know there’s a balance to all the chaos. I’m slowly working my way there. Read more>>

Jenni Horne | Art Teacher & Artist

I actually started my art career out as a Middle School art teacher. Yep…those awkward teenage years where kids are learning to spread their wings and yet still be children, were my little inspirations. After the birth of my 2nd child however, I found childcare to be exhaustively expensive on a starting teacher’s salary so I dove feet 1st into being a stay at home mom teaching after school art classes when I could. But, I couldn’t leave it at just that ….my desire to reach more kids and make more of an impact in the community ran deep in my artsy veins. So I started a children’s art studio called “The Bubble Gum Ice Cream Art Studio” after my favorite ice cream as a child. I was able to teach, have my children with me and still be a wife! Read more>>

Givini Vega | Textured Hair Specialist

It has definitely fluctuated over time. I can be quite the workaholic finding myself putting my work before everything else. Once COVID-19 hit our area, I was eventually forced to temporarily close my business. Sitting at home versus working certainly took a toll on me. Ironically, I was hoping to set some time off to simply have time to organize my home , spend time with my husband and relax. This is no where near how I envisioned granting myself time away from work but beggars can’t be choosers. Having nearly three months of free time allowed me to rediscover activities I always enjoyed. Read more>>

Reginald Matthews, J.D. | Entertainment, Media, and Sports Professional, Law Clerk, Board Member, Writer, Journalist & Host

If you were to ask me this question at the beginning of 2019, I would ask you for the definition because I had no idea what that was. I was in law school, working at Apple, working as a teaching assistant, interning at the Sun Belt Athletic Conference, traveling all over the country for networking events, interviews, and conferences. I was doing it all, and I was doing it well, but I wasn’t taking care of myself. So I had to make the conscious decision, to start taking care of myself. I had to learn how to say “No” when people ask me to do something or ask for my assistance with something. I started prioritizing my health and going to the gym and start boxing again; but most importantly, I started taking care of my mental health as well. I reached out for help from a mental health professional. Read more>>

Matt Lopez | Senior Sports Physical Therapist

Work life balance is one of the factors that weighed heavily on my decision to move to Atlanta to work for Northside Hospital Orthopedic Institute. I absolutely love the service that I am able to provide to my active individuals in helping them return to the sports and activities they love. I also love exploring new hikes, restaurants, and parts of the country. Knowing that I was going to be part of starting the sports medicine division I was investing myself to long days in the office. Being able to see the growth of the division over the past 2 years has made each of those long days well worth the investment. Read more>>

Gloria Fennell | Hairstylist

When I first became a licensed cosmetologist I thought that the more Time I spent working it would show that I’m dedicated to the “Hair World “ but as time went on I was just tired and wouldn’t see my baby til he was sleep . I’m now learning to balance my social and work life out a little bit better . With COVID happening and having to stay home I’ve learned that it’s easy to over work yourself and not make time for other important factors in life you have to have balance . Now that I’m back to my regular work schedule Im making sure that I make more time for my son and myself , working all the time til you are dead tired isn’t healthy. Read more>>

Caren Lloyd-Wallace | CPT, Tactical Strength & Conditioning Facilitator

Work/Life Balance has become a very popular phrase in the last couple of decades. Early on it was more applied to working mothers but over time it has become more in sync with a culture of self-care. However, as an entrepreneur, I’ve found it’s a phrase that often doesn’t apply. When building your brand there are trade-offs and sacrifices with a larger goal in sight. There are early mornings, late nights, missed meals, sleep, and quality time. That is the price to achieve your vision. There simply will be a period of time where you have to recognize that what you sacrifice today will pay off in the long run when you’ve built a legacy to leave behind and you can watch your business thrive without micro-managing it. Read more>>

Ashley B. Johnson-Alford | Entrepreneur & Community Activist

I think my work-life balance has shifted with my age and the longer I’ve been a business owner. Initially, as a new entrepreneur, you go through the foundational growing pains necessary to build your business: late nights, strapped for money, learning to delegate, missing your kids’ recitals, etc. If I’m honest, it took me a few years to get the work-life balance under control. I used to miss so many moments trying to do mundane tasks like responding to customer emails within 5 minutes of receiving them or stopping everything I’m doing to check on package tracking. I’ve given much more grace to myself nowadays. Read more>>

Lindsay Harris | Entrepreneur

GlamBOMB was created during a time of immense personal change and rediscovery for me. I started GlamBOMB a few months after leaving an abusive marriage. I needed something that made me feel important, and that also reminded me to take care of myself. I had been in a physically, mentally and emotionally abusive marriage for years and I no longer knew myself or how to take care of myself on those same fronts. Initially, GlamBOMB was a jewelry line, but that wasn’t speaking to me. I began to dig deeper for what would really motivate me. Soon after, my mother reminded me of how much I liked making body lotions and oils for people and the chemistry involved in body care and natural health. Read more>>

Kimberly Snell | Yoga Teacher & Author

Initially, it felt like I was working every moment. I woke up and went to my 9 to 5 job. When I came home, I was either making videos, writing sequences, writing my book, or working with a graphic designer on different ideas. I never felt rested or like I had time with my son. I was wearing myself out and making excuses for it. I told myself I had to grind like this in order to be successful. In reality, I was becoming less productive and more irritable. Something had to change. I began making a schedule for myself. In my schedule, I included rest and self=care. I made sure I shut down by a certain time during the week so that I could get plenty of rest and recharge for the next day. I scheduled movie night with my son and created theme nights for dinner. This allowed us to have quality time and some fun as we figured out what to eat. Read more>>

Tangela Parker | Sr. Director of Member Experience

My balanced has changed tremendously over time. I have learned to plan my days better over time. I am very traditional and have a planner and every Monday I map out my week. I define my priorities, set a weekly budget and allow time for self care daily. “I have come to believe that caring for myself is not self indulgent, caring for myself is an act of survival.”-Audre Lorde. Read more>>