Dear Creative, Say Good-bye To Hustle And Build A Business Based On Your Life

In 2017, I worked so hard to build and grow a new business.  As a former photographer, I did a complete one-eighty.  I switched gears just at the peak of my business, and it is a decision I will never regret. 

I put down my camera, and picked up an editing business.  I built a business with freedom and flexibility.  I built a business that I was in love with and that allows me to live with more purpose and peace. 

But oh was I ever hustling during that year..  

I have a love/hate relationship with the word hustle.  While I understand that it is sometimes a necessary evil during the building stage, I don’t believe it’s a place where you can live. 

Hustle keeps you alive, it does not help you thrive.  

I want to see you thrive.  

I want to see you bloom and grow with peace and purpose.  If you have to hustle for a short time, then by all means hustle.  But have a plan, hustle with intention, and then KNOW when it is time to slow down.

 
how to grow a business the smart way
 

Know when to say enough is enough.

I created a 12 Page Workbook: Defining Time to help Creatives really dig deep into their priorities and learn how plan and outline a life by design.

 
 

Learning how to take a step back in your business can be so challenging.  But when you finally figure it out, it is ever so rewarding.  

There are so many amazing artists and creative souls in this industry of online and creative businesses and I love seeing your minds at work.  I love reading your words.  I love listening to your podcasts, your videos.  I love seeing your photography, your designs, your art, and prints.  

But dear friend, I hope along with creating and making you are also living.

Almost one year ago, I was able to hand in a paper that said good-bye to my nursing career.  A wonderful, yet relatively short career that has taught me so much about life and work and being a professional in my industry.  From there, I walked blindly into my new journey as a freelance photo editor and work from home mom.

I know that this opportunity was only made possible through intense months of hustle.  I also know that this cannot be my new normal.   

I said good-bye to the boundaries of work and life and hello to the mixed chaos of checking e-mails and meeting deadlines at home.  The realization of providing myself with my own income both thrilled and terrified me.  The reality of setting a strict schedule and defining balance while working from home was creeping into my every day and presenting new challenges I never expected to face.  I had hustled for this moment for what felt like so long and here it was.  Yep - here it was, and now what?

I knew one thing was certain, the way that I scheduled my days in 2017 could not carry over into my future.  I needed a plan and I needed to be able to say enough is enough.  I don’t want to live a life glued to my phone, camera or computer.  

I want to build a business that I can run efficiently, not a business that runs my life with ease.  I want to provide a stable income for my family while being able to shut it down when life is knocking.  I want to wake up in the morning and enjoy a cup of coffee without pulling up my laptop.  I want to bake cookies with my daughter and not feel the need to check my most recent instagram likes.  I want to snuggle up to my husband without the ding of another e-mail distracting me from my reality.  Hustle is not healthy. 

And just like a binge-worthy show on Netflix, hustle is also not easy to shut off. 

Define “Healthy” In Your Business

The first step to identifying a problem is to be able to identify what’s normal.  If unhealthy work habits are your normal, then you’ll never see the problem in the first place.  Define what your version of “healthy” is in your work.  Is it working 20 hours a week?  30 hours or even 40?  If so, that is OK!  The majority of American’s work a 40 hour work week.  Work is healthy, it gives us direction and purpose.  Your work needs a mission, a purpose, and it needs a cut-off time.

What your work does not need is to define your life.

No one else can define healthy business for you.  Some creative business moms work a 16 hour work week.  They need time to invest in their kids, after school activities, cooking, cleaning, etc.

Other women define a 50 hour work week as perfectly healthy.  They cook using a meal delivery service, cleaning is outsourced, and they are still able to easily fit in activities each week that relate to their hobbies and passions in life.   

How do you know if you're working too much?  If you FEEL like you're working too much.  Lack of basic self care (healthy eating/physical activity), depression, solitude, lack of personal interests, work burnout may all be signs that you my friend are working too much.

Define “Healthy” In Your Personal Life

Once you have established what a healthy work schedule looks like in your life, it is time to clearly outline what healthy means in your personal time. 

It might just amaze you to realize you have MUCH more time in your day than you initially thought.  Or - you have a lot LESS time and need to reorganize and prioritize your work/life schedule.  What can you say “no” to in your work life, in order to say “yes” to something else in your personal life?  

This is where things can get a bit tricky.  Having a "personal life" doesn't mean you need to start every new hobby under the sun.  It also doesn't mean a life of travel and frolicking on white sandy beaches.  Though it sounds nice, we NEED other day to day activities to keep us moving forward. 

A healthy personal life includes incorporating faith, family, healthy living, consistent hobbies, etc into our routine schedule.  It means living beyond your work and living a life of purpose.  It means resting your mind and soul so that you can hit the ground running when you need to.  

Define Your TIME

Unfortunately, defining healthy boundaries rarely just "happens."  The pendulum frequently swings both ways, from working more to resting more and back again.  If your pendulum is stuck on the side of "work" then it's time to remind yourself of what's really important in life.

Creating a plan will not only help you move to a place of rest, but it will also serve as a reminder to pull you out of the trenches when you find yourself leaning towards the side of hustle.  

So where do you start?  With a plan.

My 12 page workbook "Defining Time" will help you to WRITE out where and how you spend your hours.   

 
 

Writing out an action plan for what you want your life to look may sound a little over the top but let's be honest, if you weren't struggling with this currently would you even been reading this post right now?

The truth is you may have lost sight of what healthy even looks like, what keeps you motivated and what inspires your creativity.  Burnout is real and hustle is completely over celebrated.

So are you ready for something different?