Today I am so delighted to introduce fellow entrepreneur Kristi Pawlowicz, owner of 522 Envy, a women’s contemporary boutique and online store based in Evanston. Sometimes it can be hard to balance work-life at our age. Let's face it, running a business that's fully yours means you're always on the job, FULL TIME. When I received an email from Kristi, she gave me a few options on topics to discuss on the blog and of course this one stood out because it's something I think about constantly. People are always telling me, "Amelia, you're so lucky you get to do whatever you want." Working from home doesn't help either because people literally think you're just sitting around all day. I'll let Kristi explain a few things for some of you out there in our situation (which I love by the way, I'm not complaining!) and for some of you soon to be or want to be entrepreneurs!


4 Things to Know about Work-Life Balance of a Young Entrepreneur

I hate to be “that girl” that complains about how she is always busy. That’s not me. I’m not that girl, I swear. But -- I am always busy (please don’t roll your eyes!) I think that having a packed day is the curse of a creative mind—a simple life is not a fun one! I put a lot on my plate because I need to have a lot to do.  I think that is what drew me to Amelia-- she constantly pours her creativity into her 3 businesses and this blog, which is so amazing and inspiring to me, as a young and relatively new Chicago entrepreneur.

When I opened my clothing business 3 years ago at the age of 24, I quickly realized how unorthodox and complicated the lifestyle of a young entrepreneur was. Without a set workday-to-weekend schedule, I was eager and excited and wanted to learn everything by doing it myself.  I worked 7 days a week in the boutique for 6 months straight.

*Surprise* that whole paragraph was written in past tense, because it wasn’t sustainable. I wore myself out. And being overworked at the age of 25 was frightening because I knew I hadn’t even gotten to the hard stuff yet. In my first year as a small business owner, I learned some crucial points about work-life balance:

There is really no such thing as work-life balance.
Not for entrepreneurs, at least. That’s because work is my life—but not in the sense of “all I do is work.” My business has become as extension of who I am, and it is a part of what defines me now. So I can’t separate work from life, even if try, because being a business owner is part of my identity.

Delegating is really, really hard for entrepreneurs.
And it is my fatal flaw. I have a really hard time letting go of projects and responsibilities because I think I am the only person capable of doing them. Or, I feel like training someone else to do my job would take too much time (time I don’t have). But while delegating is really, really hard for entrepreneurs, it’s literally THE ONLY way to have free time. So I learned to bite the bullet and delegate time-consuming tasks such as social media, blogging, and photo shoots so I can focus on bigger things, such as business growth and marketing strategies.

Social media is a time suck.
Social media is a tempting place to take a break, but it also super easy to get sucked into the mindless hole of Buzzfeed quizzes and baby pictures. A well-intentioned 10-minute break almost instantly turns into a 20-30 minute time waster. Fast forward to later that night when I’m on the couch still working because I didn’t get enough done during the day. Now when I’m feeling the itch to jump on social media, I go directly to Facebook groups. I’ve sought out groups specifically related to my retail niche, so I can spend my 10-15 minute break getting inspired and motivated, rather than distracted.

I’m always going to be connected.
Even during a day off, I will always have my phone and it’s highly unlikely that I will not read an email, check Instagram, or update the calendar. I don’t even consider that work. It’s more like upkeep. Because of the accessibility of technology on the go, I will probably never be completely “clocked out,” but it also allows me to have a life and by only having to “check in” every once in a while. So constant access to technology can be a ball-and-chain, but it also is a source of freedom.

If I’m being honest, I have to admit that I probably lean on the unhealthy side of the work-life balance spectrum. Everyone struggles with prioritizing work and play, but the meaning of work-life balance is definitely different for an entrepreneur. A huge trade-off of owning my own business is that I have less time for hobbies, weekend activities, and personal relationships. But the key to a balanced life is finding value in the time I do have for breaks and days off, and using that time for self-growth and rejuvenation.

You can follow 522 Envy:
Visit her store in Evanston!
522 Davis St
Evanston IL 60201