Many entrepreneurs will tell you that finding a balance between their work life and their personal life is one of their biggest challenges. It’s easy for founders to put all their focus on their passion, often at the expense of their friends, family, and health. And according to a study by Mastercard, female entrepreneurs may encounter greater challenges in achieving work-life balance compared to men.
The study showed that nearly three in ten (29%) female entrepreneurs say they struggle to maintain a work-life balance, compared to 17% of men. From gender-based pressures to guilt from family responsibilities, women are navigating a multitude of outside forces as they strive to launch or grow their businesses.
So how can female entrepreneurs break the trend and find balance as they build their empires? We’ve asked three entrepreneurs from E+I at The Studios @ Mesa City Center coworking space to share tips on how they keep up with the multitude of demands they face while not allowing their well-being to fall by the wayside.
Casiana Pascariu of Bloomin’ Blinds of Chandler Gilbert
For Casiana Pascariu, balance doesn’t just happen. Juggling her growing window treatment business in Chandler, AZ, with an energetic 4-year-old takes intentionality. She makes a point to have quality time with her son and husband several times a week and schedules regular coffee/shopping/spa dates with her friends.
“Making sure I maintain ‘my village’ here in Phoenix is important,” she said, which can also include birthday parties and play-dates with other families.
But almost as important to Casina’s balance as her family is her physical health. Some weeks she gets to one of the three gyms she belongs to six times a week, and sometimes it’s just once a week depending on how busy she is. But she makes it a priority. “Working out is essential to my self-care and preservation as a human,” she said.
Her tip for other entrepreneurs is to make a schedule but build in some flexibility. Founders can’t always control how the day is going to go, so the plan can’t be too rigid. For example, don’t overcommit.
“If you add 10 things to do a day on your plate and you do five of those, you will be disappointed,” she said. “Show up for yourself the way you show up for your customers and business. Give yourself grace, and celebrate your small and big accomplishments.”
Danielle Williams of Diva Strong Media LLC
Photo: Danielle Williams of Diva Strong Media LLC
As a motivational speaker and event host, Danielle Williams is her business. So she has to prioritize what brings her balance just like she does her client meetings. “I add time for myself to my calendar as part of my business schedule,” she said.
That includes spending time in nature, where long walks and hikes can help her get perspective on what’s happening in her business. According to Danielle, this time outdoors “gives me a fresh approach to creating unique features to utilize within my business and ways to resolve tricky situations.”
She embodies inspiring optimism and a positive outlook. Firmly believing that nothing is impossible, she holds the belief that there’s always a way to create something that propels you towards the next level of success and enjoyment.
But the best tip she has for other entrepreneurs is to plan their week. Each Sunday, Danielle looks at her calendar and identifies where she needs to spend her time. “Look at everything you have going on for the following week and break up your tasks, client meetings, networking events, lunches, etc. and spread them throughout the week,” she said.
As part of the schedule, Danielle recommends setting a goal that includes three to five business-related tasks to accomplish each day, ensuring steady progress without becoming overwhelmed.
Rei Cameron of Maker Comet
Photo: Rei Cameron of Maker Comet
When entrepreneurs are passionate about their business, it can be difficult to tell where their professional life ends and their personal life begins. That’s the case for Rei Cameron. “As an artist, maker, and novice VR developer, the lines between my work and fun often get blurred,” she said. “I have to consciously separate the two to the point where I’m often asking, ‘Am I trying out this VR app/game for research or am I procrastinating?’”
Rei has a recurring appointment on her Google calendar specifically for non-work-related art towards the end of the week, which gives her something to look forward to and helps avoid burnout. “I find that this helps to keep things exciting and fresh and it’s immensely beneficial for my ADHD because I get to experiment with something new,” she said.
So she doesn’t get caught eating poorly during her busy workday, Rei tries to plan her meals and do grocery shopping early in the week. She freezes any leftover cooked rice so her go-to lunch–rice topped with an egg and natto (Japanese fermented soybeans) with a side of kimchi–is easy and quick to make.
Rei’s suggestion for entrepreneurs looking for balance is to remember that life is going to happen, and that’s okay. “You can be a cat mom, parent, or partner AND a business owner at the same time,” she said. “Some days, you might get a single thing accomplished, like checking emails, because your cat wound up at the emergency vet (ask me how I know). Other times, you might be working long into the night, for days on end after a fit of inspiration hits.”
That is all part of the entrepreneurial journey. Embrace it and use it to move the business forward.
Create a Space for Balance
Physically getting out of the office is helpful for many entrepreneurs. In addition to coffee dates with friends, long walks, and discovering new art, sometimes being part of a co-working space can bring needed creativity and innovation to a growing business.
Casiana, Danielle and Rei are all members of The Studios @ Mesa City Center, a co-working space in Mesa, AZ, that hosts a variety of events and training programs as part of the J. Orin Edson Entrepreneurship + Innovation Institute. Contact us today to learn more about the space and how it can help you reach your entrepreneurship goals.