Advice from an Entrepreneur Lawyer: Achieving Success Through Balance
Balance. It’s a word that gets tossed around a lot in today’s world. There’s work-life balance. Balancing your checkbook. Eating a balanced diet. A balance due on your account. Bringing balance to the Force.
When defined by the dictionary, balance is “a condition in which different elements are equal or in the correct proportions,” which makes the idea a simple one in concept. However, the execution required to achieve balance in your life is much more complicated, because it’s a subjective state. What feels like balance to one person could feel like chaos to another, so there’s no one right answer on how it can be achieved.
Here are some exercises that can help, if you’re struggling to find balance as a woman and as an entrepreneur.
Before you start to make changes, it’s important to understand your current position. Look around your life and take stock. What parts of your day/week/life feel unbalanced? What tasks cause you the most stress? If money weren’t an object, where would you bring in additional resources? (I know money is always an object in the real world, but just try and see what you come up with. This exercise can really help find areas ripe for change.) Don’t limit yourself in the idea stage. Here are some suggestions to get you started:
- Get a driver so you can work on your commute.
- Hire a personal chef since you hate meal planning, grocery shopping, and cooking.
- Hire a personal assistant to manage your email and phone calls.
- Outsource your marketing, accounting and customer service so you can focus on growth.
Now, look at your list. Are there simple changes you can make that will take tasks off your plate and allow you to focus on areas where you provide the most value to your business? Brainstorm ideas. Keep in mind that not everything has to be work-related to be important.
As an attorney who owns my own practice, I recognized early on that I couldn’t do everything myself. I began bringing in people to help where it made sense in the business. One of the first things I did was to hire a marketing firm. Marketing a small business is very time-consuming. Handing that task off to experts not only saves me time, but it pays for itself by bringing me more client leads than I likely wouldn’t have gotten by myself.
Maybe in your case, you aren’t ready to bring in a new vendor. But can you delegate some of the marketing to an employee? Or hire a virtual assistant for a few hours a week to take over some of the more mundane, time-consuming tasks? Perhaps your dreams of a personal chef aren’t in the cards now, so you try one of those meal delivery services for a few meals a week. Get creative and you’ll come up with a lot of ways you can reduce your workload and your stress while staying within your budget.
With your list of pain points and ideas on how to ease your stress, it’s time to prioritize and put some of them into action. Often, this is where the strategy falls apart. Brainstorming and planning are fun and easy, but implementing these ideas will take time and energy. So it’s important that you keep the long-term goal of balance in mind.
At first, it will take you a lot more time to show someone how you want something done than it will to do it yourself like you always have. There will be problems and errors that wouldn’t have happened if you had done the work yourself. Once you’re through the learning curve, you’ll be amazed at how good it feels to get those tasks off your plate and out of your head.
As an entrepreneur, and especially as a woman, it can be difficult to force ourselves to let go and delegate some of our responsibilities. But you cannot continue to do everything yourself as your business grows. You will burn out. Finding balance in your business and your life will allow you to have your success and enjoy it too.
About the Author — Alli Cannon
Alli Cannon is a licensed attorney and certified mediator working in Houston. She is the owner of Cannon Law, a law firm she founded, which is dedicated to defending clients accused alcohol-related offenses.
photography by Jami Gladden