We had the good fortune of connecting with Lauren Carnes and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Lauren, how has your work-life balance changed over time?
Work life balance: it’s such a coveted – and elusive – thing, especially in the small business & entrepreneurial world. When I first started my business, I was hungry, available, and even if I shouldn’t have been available… I made myself available in the name of opportunity and potential growth. My business grew quickly, but with each new client, I inched closer and closer to inevitable burnout. I’d work late into the night and wake early to achieve more and faster. As the business changed over the years, so did our family dynamic, requiring me to not only set goals, but also to implement boundaries to ensure a more positive work life balance. The boundaries allowed me to ask myself what I truly was willing to say yes and no to, and ultimately to build a stronger foundation of my business, raise my prices, and connect on a deeper level with each client. That, in turn, allowed for a stronger family foundation and a deeper relationships with our family and friends. This only continued as we grew our family and welcomed little ones into the world. With every new season, I have to sit down and establish what my goals AND boundaries are for that particular season, knowing that work life balance ebbs and flows. There will and are absolutely always seasons of hustle, but there also are seasons I’ve taking nearly half a year off from most of my work in order to grow and nurture our family. Even in the seasons where “life” takes precedence over the “work”… the “work” still maintains momentum and is there when I return. I used to think that work life balance only meant that life had to fit INTO my work schedule, when now, I realize that we work to live, not live to work. It’s been a great and much needed revelation!
What should our readers know about your business?
My business is unique in that I am BOTH a photographer (branding, interiors, newborns & families) AND a communications coach teaching other small business owners how to market their businesses well & connect with their ideal clients. I began the small business journey thinking I’d be a wedding photographer through and through forever. However, I quickly learned that there is more to my business and career dreams than that, and without incorporating all of my multipassionate self, I’d be missing out on opportunities to serve others well. With that being said, I’m grateful for the ability to pivot and transition my business based on the season of life we are in, the needs of my clients, and through moves to new cities. It’s not always been easy – and one of the hardest things is making the decision to let go of a certain portion of my business in order to make room for new and better things – but it’s always 100% worth it. I continue to learn the lesson that we as humans have gifts that we have the opportunity to invest time and energy into in order to use them best to serve others. Not every gift needs to be a career path, but some are and could be, and opening the door to explore that path can be incredibly rewarding and life-giving. I’d encourage anyone reading this to take a moment to reflect on passions they may be needing to explore deeper and how they can tie in that passion to their current business or brand, or pivot to open new doors entirely!
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I live in the best town in the world, IMHO – Athens, GA. My husband and I both went to undergrad at the University of Georgia, and he continued to do medical school in Athens during our early years as a young married couple. We moved away for 5 years for his medical residency and recently returned to put down roots for the long term, with a baby in tow & now another little one on the way. Over the years, this town has changed and grown, but it remains some of the most fun and delicious and entertaining ways to spend a weekend. Obviously our kiddos would be with us, so here’s a small peek at what we’d do (and there’s so much more!).
Eat & drink:
Breakfast & morning treats at Independent Baking Company
Coffee at Jittery Joe’s or Molly’s Coffee (and then if we’re at Molly’s just pop over to Mama’s Boy for brunch because why not!)
Lunch at the GRIT, Maepole, or Viva Argentine, depending on what we’re craving
Happy Hour at Seabear for cocktails & oysters
Get a sitter & have a date night at The National or Dinner Party
Late night drinks & boiled peanuts at Normal Bar
Visit & hang out:
Downtown Athens – always a fantastic place to walk around, stop in shops, and just enjoy
Bear Hollow Zoo – a perfect little spot for kiddos to run around and see animals
State Botanical Gardens – depending on the season we may spend the entire day here! From the incredible blooms to the children’s garden to the glass greenhouse, there is something for everyone
UGA’s campus – it’s gorgeous & full of nooks & crannies to explore; don’t miss my favorite hidden gem, the Trial Gardens on South Campus
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Absolutely a shoutout to my family, and specifically my husband & son (and soon-to-be baby #2) for supporting me in every season of work & life and the balance between them. They are largely the reason I’ve learned (and continue learning) how to best manage all of the moving parts and to thrive, not just survive.