Work-Life Balance and Starting A Business From Home

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?Work-Life Balance Redefined: The Truth and How To Build a Fulfilling Business from Home

Work-Life Balance and Starting A Business From Home

I wanted to write this post for a while. I connect with a lot of you over this topic. Before sharing my personal journey though, I want to mention that this kind of job and transition isn’t for everyone. I also think it’s important to note here that there is a BOAT LOAD of creators and entrepreneurs out there writing about how easy it is to “ditch your 9-5 job” and “make 6 figures in 6 months”. If you ever come across someone who tells you it’s this easy well… run, don’t walk in the other direction.

We all have responsibilities – be it bills, family members, health restrictions, personal issues that make working a stable, office job extremely fitting. It’s important to respect each other and appreciate that not everyone has the means or the desire to flip this on it’s head and venture into the unknown. And that is also absolutely ok. My parents gave us a beautiful upbringing by these means and my husband continues to provide for our family in this way.

So before you send in your great resignation letter, here’s the truth about building a business from home. It’s hard work and not for the faint of heart. Patience and flexibility are the most important qualities if you’re considering making this change. It’s absolutely possible but it’s incredibly difficult and takes a lot of trial and error and determination. I’ll also tell you that it’s 1000% worth it though. So, let’s be honest with each other…

Here’s my story! 

My Journey From 9-5 To Building A Business From Home

If you’re still reading this, that tells me that there is a curiosity in you to explore the possibility. It was much the same for me. Looking back on my journey, there was always an interest and the idea of doing something of my own, even at my happiest moments in my career as an architect. But it was long hours and my home life was really minimal where I had an hour or two with my kids each night before they went to bed. I always dreamed of doing something else and when I’d chat with or hear about others venturing out on their own I was filled with a feeling of jealously, optimism and eagerness to find it. I started a small cupcake business with a friend, which then turned into a small blog with recipes. Then I considered starting a bakery thinking I could put my passion for cooking into a brick and mortar shop. 

Then dramatic changes came.

It wasn’t until the pandemic hit that I quickly realized that art and specifically, painting gave me a stillness and joy that was really special. I began to paint daily, in large part just to settle anxiety and grief after losing my dad very suddenly. That necessity to maintain my mental health and deal with my health issues turned into a passion, which began to slowly transform into an idea, a business that could give me everything I had dreamed of. 

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I spent nearly every spare second of my time studying, trying and failing. And repeating it over and over again. Not a day went by when I didn’t work on my website, making it better and building my social media reach. And when I wasn’t doing that I was painting, honing my craft and really figuring out what it was that I wanted to paint and sell to reach professional success. This took nearly three years. And really, only the past year and a bit have been profitable. 

While leaving the more traditional corporate environment doesn’t necessarily mean sacrificing financial stability, the beginning can be very challenging. And many of us just can’t take that risk. If you’re fortunate enough with either a small budget or time, with the right mindset and strategy, you can establish a thriving business on your own terms. 

But I’m getting there. And if I’m being completely honest, I’ll probably never really “get there” in the way you might think. It fluctuates, evolves and expands depending on how much work you put into it. and even then, the unexpected happens. And that’s the important thing to understand. Having said that, if you’re still all-in, in the next bit I really want to tell you my own journey and help you make your own choice. 

Why I Left My 9-5 Job

When we decided to move abroad, I really didn’t have much of a choice. My office didn’t allow me to work remote so I had to leave my position. I was a bit stunned because this would be the first time where I didn’t have a full-time job or any job for that matter since I was 16. I was equal parts nervous and relieved because I felt I would have the time to really figure out what I wanted to do. I always wanted to address this constant feeling of, “is this it?” that kept creeping in. I always felt there was something else I was meant to do, even in those moments in my job that gave me so much happiness and self-worth. I can’t honestly write here that I was sure or that I hated my job because I wasn’t and I didn’t. I liked the company culture, the team feel and the professional relationships that I built. I enjoyed the work and I loved the people I was working with. But I didn’t 100% belong. 

Moving to another country gave me the physical distance, but also some separation from the idea that I had to do this one thing and stick with it. It defined our professional lives. It gave me perspective and the feeling that I was really okay to try something else. I began to experience a better work-life balance. Our personal lives became the priority and we had enough time to plan, experience and do things together more often. 

What Does Work-Life Balance Really Mean?

So this is a funny thing because if I had to average all the hours I’ve worked in the last 3 years and compared them to what I worked before, I surely work more than I ever did before. Those hours however, don’t really feel like work and for the most part, I get to decide when to work them. Work is a big part of life but it’s not what dictates everything else. 

When we moved, I had to be more available for our girls throughout the day. The hours here are a bit different than what we were used to and parent involvement (particularly from moms) in school activities, events and in general flexibility is much more demanding. I enjoyed building my work schedule around these events and having more time with my children, enjoying earlier family dinners and focusing on quality time together. 

Work-life balance is the idea of finding harmony and satisfaction in both professional and personal aspects of life. For me, it involves self-allocated time and energy to work, family, leisure, and personal development, ensuring that you’re in control of which of these elements have your attention at any given time. 

It’s having the choice.

Achieving this type of a more balanced life with more control I believe allows us to lead more fulfilling lives, leading to improved overall well-being. As someone who struggled with anxiety stemming from an auto-immune disease, having the ability to decide how much I take on at any given point gives me control over my physical health. 

Work-life balance looks different for everyone though. For some, it may mean spending more time with family, pursuing hobbies, or having the freedom to travel. For others it might mean working from various locations and being a bit more nomadic. I think in all cases it means decision power. 

Moving From Your 9-5 job To Starting A Home-Based Business 

The shift isn’t really quite that definitive for most of us. In most cases, there’s an overlap where you’re hustling on your business in the evenings and weekends for a year or more before being in a position to leave your job. For some, it can take years.

So what can you do to start? 

Here is a little list of the steps to take if you’re ready to give it a try! I made little side notes where I wanted to explain how I did things and where I went wrong in an effort to help you see things in a realistic way. We are all doing life differently and things get in the way so it’s not as clear as some might make it sound. 

1. Identify your passions and skills: Start by assessing your interests, talents, and skills. What are you passionate about? What are you good at? What fuels you to be better? Your why. Are you doing this work for your family? For your children? For your financial freedom? 

2. Research the market, once and twice over: Once you have identified potential business ideas, conduct thorough market research. Take the time to really understand the market you want to enter and what you can offer others. There is space for everyone but creating a solution or providing something that is useful is really the best way.  

3. Create a business plan: A well-thought-out business plan is essential for any successful venture. Outline your business goals, marketing strategy, financial projections, and operational details. A solid business plan will serve as a roadmap and help you stay focused and organized during the initial stages of your home-based business.

4. Establish your online presence: No surprise here! Having a strong online presence is crucial for business success. You’ll need to start with a professional website, set up social media accounts, and optimize your online profiles. 

The Good Canvas is all about online presence, so reach out to us for help getting your brand noticed! 

5. Set up a dedicated home office: Make this space yours. Designate a specific area in your home as your office space. Ensure it is comfortable, well-equipped, and free from distractions. Invest in ergonomic furniture, proper lighting, and necessary equipment to create a productive work environment. 


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6. Develop a time management strategy: This is a big one! Managing your time effectively is key to success. Set clear boundaries between work and personal life, establish a daily routine, and prioritize tasks. Use productivity tools and techniques to stay organized and focused. 

Challenges To Starting A Business From Home 

Greater Flexibility doesn’t always mean better results. 

I think first and foremost, formal business boundaries are critical. It’s a lot easier to get distracted and to take on too much. Here’s an honest example. My studio is adjacent to the kitchen and early on, I had to set boundaries with my husband and myself that just because I’m near the kitchen doesn’t mean I’m more likely to stop to tidy up after breakfast, prepare lunch daily and cook meals. My work space had to be respected and that meant the family making some adjustments to treat my space with the same respect as if it was an office outside of the home. That also meant my husband thinking about his timing when coming into the kitchen to make a smoothie while I was on a call. We’re still working on this, can you tell? 

Additionally, having a flexible schedule can lead to distractions… spending time dealing with the electrician, walking the dogs, disposing of the trash and so on. The absence of a structured hour work week and a lack of team members or external oversight can be extremely frustrating. Despite this being a cherished aspect of my job, this flexibility can also be a major challenge. And in this way, if you’re not careful there comes a point where you can actually destroy your work-life balance. It’s very easy to get carried away with your to-do list, additional work and taking on too much and start to lose yourself in the flexibility of it all. 

I want to end this post by saying that there is no scenario where hard work isn’t involved. I frequently find myself needing to pull back and set boundaries for myself because I slip into this overdrive mode that can also be unhealthy. My pursuit of independence frequently transforms into a relentless hustle. And that’s the risk. Hustle culture mentality glorifies constant, intense work, often tied to your entrepreneurial success. It praises relentless effort and long hours, sometimes at the expense of work-life balance and personal well-being. So be mindful of that as well. 

Next Steps: 

If you’ve connected with this post and feel like this is your path to your own business, I’d love to chat with you! Let’s set aside some time and book a 30 min FREE strategy call and chat about where you’re at and where you’d like to be. I absolutely love getting to know other artists and business owner optimists and outlining a plan that is sustainable and authentic. 


As always, thanks for reading!



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