Have It All: Practical Work-Life Balance Advice for the Female Freelancer

For ACE by Gloria Martinez of Womenled.org.

Integrating work and personal life is tough, but it is especially difficult for women who also happen to be business owners or freelancers. Take heart, however, knowing that achieving a harmonious work-life balance really is possible with a little preparation and a lot of determination.

You must first understand that balance isn’t always 50/50. Before you even take the first steps toward entrepreneurship, sit down and determine what’s truly important to you. Do you need flexibility to care for children or aging parents? Do you want to be able to travel? Would you rather have a business where you can employ your family? These are just a few questions that you should ask yourself to get a better understanding of what balance truly means to you.

Owning your own business is a rewarding and fulfilling endeavor. “There is nothing like being successful through your own leadership, abilities, ideas, and efforts,” investment coach Peter Leeds told Inc. However, it is all too easy to allow this particular aspect of your life to take over the rest. The following tips will help:

  • Be honest with yourself about what works and what doesn’t. Just because you want something to work doesn’t mean it will. If you find that a particular computer program, for instance, isn’t it offering the level of efficiency that you need, don’t be afraid to change. Even if you have a substantial financial investment, it’s probably not worth the time it’s taking to make it fit with your work.
  • Set time aside for your family and friends. There’s a good chance you became self-employed because you wanted to take control of your life and be more available to your friends and family. While you may not be able to spend as much time with them as you like, take at least one day each week that you can devote specifically to the people you love. This will not only help keep you connected to your support network but will go a long way toward maintaining a healthy attitude about life.
  • Let the internet work for you. Think of the Internet as an employee that never sleeps. To get the most out of it, create a website that does much of the legwork for you. Build a business website that will quickly and efficiently answer your customers’ questions and allow them to find information regarding your products or services without having to pick up the phone. And, perhaps most importantly, make sure your website is device-friendly since the vast majority of online searches are now done via mobile device. Keep in mind too that your website should be updated and maintained regularly so it can work for you even while you’re away. If your website is particularly popular and generates a high amount of traffic, it might even be worthwhile investing in a virtual private server from a hosting expert such as hostiserver.com. A powerful server ensures your website loads smoothly and quickly and can keep up with demand.
  • Define success according to your own standards. What does it mean to be successful? Many people believe it’s having enough money to buy a large house, boat, and vacation time. Others define success by their ability to have an impact on issues near and dear to their heart. Don’t try to live up to other people’s standards as success looks different to everyone.
  • Consider a home-based business. Many municipalities allow for small businesses to be run from the comfort of your own home. You will benefit from having lower overhead and can utilize a portion of your home as a tax deduction each year. There are a number of women entrepreneurs that have found great success working from home. Keep in mind that your business website can make your small business look and feel much larger than it really is.
  • Get out of town. One of the most important things you can do for yourself and your family is to walk away from the distractions. This is easily achieved by a quick weekend getaway at least a couple times a year. Rent a cabin in the mountains, a lake house, or a condo on the beach, or if money is tight, check out these low-cost ideas from The Simple Dollar. Exactly what you do isn’t the point, it’s about leaving your laptop and workload behind.

Finding the balance between work and home isn’t easy, but it is within reach. Keep these tips in mind to get the best of both worlds.