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.

Irelsie Alvarez | Insurance Agent

I love my job because it really does give me the work life balance that I’ve always wished for. For some people work takes precedence over everything else. I feel that in the long term that can have a negative effect on our physical, emotional, and mental well-being. We have a set working schedule and our clients know and respect our work hours. Every now and then they might call us if its an emergency and we are happy to help them but that’s once in a blue moon. I leave work at my office and after hours I concentrate on my personal life. I am blessed to have a job where I don’t have to take work home and I think that helps a lot to have a balanced life. Read more>>

Keri Smith | President, Dot It

As my career has advanced, my work life balance has changed significantly. I began working straight out of college and had a typical 8AM-5PM work schedule. As my professional career advanced to my current role as President of Dot It, my schedule is anything but typical. I do a lot more traveling now, I have days where I am up early, days I work late and weekends I have to put in. In addition, my personal life has changed over time as well. My daughter is a competitive gymnast who spends many hours in the gym and my disabled mother lives with me now. There are times balancing is hard. Its hard to lead a company while being a present wife, mother and daughter. But more importantly, it is extremely fulfilling for me. I have always told my daughter that hard work will get her farther than talent and I believe I show her that everyday even when that means missing some personal events. There are times I have to ask my team to step in for me so I can take my mother to a doctors appointment. Read more>>

Crystal/Jennifer Jansa/Klassen | Owners/Event Managers

When we first started Gather in 2011 Crystal was single and had all the time in the world, while Jennifer still worked in corporate America and spent her weekends helping with finances and working brunch. All of our time was spent growing Gather as a wedding venue and small business that makes an impact in the McKinney community. Fast forward to 2021 and Crystal is married with a 4 and 2 year old, while Jennifer has started working Gather full time. Crystal moved to west texas to support her husband in farming and Jennifer has taken on each bride as her own daughter. While our daily lives have changed a bit our focus of growing Gather both in the industry and in McKinney community has not changed. We love all the families we meet and are so blessed by the continued support of all our clients. If Jennifer is not actively at Gather I can promise her off time is spent with one or all of her grandkids. Read more>>

Neda Khalilian | Lifestyle Blogger/Digital Content Creator

When I started my first business, I jumped in with both feet. I put it on the tippy top of my priority list and although it accelerated the momentum and success of my business, I soon found myself burning out. Sometimes when a business takes off quickly, there isn’t much time to get processes in place and that can soon consume so much time. I was lucky to recognize the first signs of burn out and quickly took action. Buckling down and “resetting” was necessary yet completely worth it. It was actually so rewarding to get processes (such as content calendars, checklists, spreadsheets and more) in place which allowed me more time to focus on things that are more meaningful to me like my family, engaging with my audience (probably one of my favorite things) and working on new business ventures. Like life, work has its ups and downs. Staying organized helps keep the sanity at a manageable level and allows me to be my best. Are there days that are more challenging than others? For sure. Read more>>

Steffany Brady | Graphic Designer & Artist

When I started my career as a graphic designer I had no work life balance. I would work late nights, early mornings and spend most of my time at the office.. Later I learned that this was not the way I wanted to live my life. I started to leave my computer at home and actually enjoying my free time. I also started to value my time away from work and that is when I allowed myself to start thinking about the ideas for my art business. As a creative individual my mind is rarely quiet, there is always an inner dialogue happening; but when there is no work life balance the ideas get convoluted and I get very overwhelmed to the point where i stop making, I stop sketching, I stop creating…. Balance is extremely important, it allows for the mind to rest and -at least in my case- it allows me to compartmentalize my ideas and create priorities. Read more>>

Lauren Soley | Owner, Picker, and Designer of Lovegood Wedding & Event Rentals

I would for sure say that my work life balance has gotten a lot better due to Covid. Before Covid I was doing myself 24/7, I put Lovegood before everything else. Now I am making sure to find time to be in my 30’s and enjoying life. I am literally stopping to smell the roses instead of running by them without giving them a second thought. 2020 was a very hard year for both my business and myself, but I honestly am grateful that I have changed for the better. Read more>>

Erika Nicole | Owner, The Ambiance Group

I am a firm believer that balance is not found, it is created. This is something that I still struggle with if I can be completely transparent. outside of being a business owner, a creative and serving other creatives, I am a mother, a daughter, a servant leader and a friend. My partner stresses the importance of boundaries. office hours, and ensuring that my clients understand this was the key. Over the last 12 years I have had to protect the balance. While, my clients need me my family does as well. I notice that I’m less productive when my balance is off. Ensuring that I’m present in the moment is important. So, when I am with my children, they get all of me. The same way that I am passionate about my craft I am with those that I love. Giving my best in the moment is vital. I think that as creatives we give of ourselves, our time and energy and if we are not careful we find ourselves giving from empty cups. I found myself more fulfilled when I made time for the things that fill my cup. Read more>>

John Henson | Nail Artist

Work life balance is very important to me, but I will say that balance comes easier when your work is something you are passionate about. I had to reevaluate my work life balance when I gave up my university job to become an artist. An ideal balanced day for me includes at about an hour of exercise, three tasty and healthy meals (well, at least two of them healthy), anywhere from two to six hours of creative time in my studio, about an hour at my desk handling the administrative part of being an artist, ten minutes of silent meditation, taking a look at the news of the world a few times a day, some social connection with a friend or family member, a walk with the dog, and at the end of the day cooking with my partner, nice red wine, and reflecting on daily gratitudes. Oh, and the entire day must be accompanied by music, rotating my many curated Spotify playlists. I find my life getting out of balance from, 1) too much time alone in the studio without social contact, 2) too much time AWAY from my studio, 3) skipping exercise, and 4) too much news of the world. Read more>>

Nina Cornelison | Graphic Designer & Photo Editor

First starting out in my career, I would work any amount of hours, adjust any personal time around work and thought that was what it meant to be able to prove myself. I really didn’t have a cap on time spent for work nor did I ever really think of valuing any type of self care. After years of different experiences, my thought about balance has really changed. I learned a lot of things working for a big corporation to working for a small business and then having one of my very own. I learned that if you don’t start to set some boundaries then you’re allowing for whomever to just keep taking from you. And if you’re thinking that in return they will give more, well that’s not always the case. I think about balance so much more now then I have ever before and I am juggling, a small business, full-time job and a family! Balance is really whatever you can make it out to be that works for you. I don’t think there is a one size fits all for balance. I thought that balance meant I had to have each slice of the pie in equal parts for everything that was needed from me. Read more>>