There are rarely times when I am not found checking Facebook, scrolling though Instagram or squeezing messages into 140 characters – and this is what I call work.
I fell into working in the social media industry just as it was kicking off in London almost ten years ago, and have thrived off teaching businesses of all sizes how to market themselves using these tools since.
Social media is certainly not a nine to five role though, with the majority of users logging on after 6pm. An increasing number of brands receive a huge number of customer queries over weekends. This means working unusual hours to ensure that my clients are answering their customers’ concerns and are joining relevant and interesting conversations when they happen.
When I launched my social media consultancy business, Avocado Social, I was also suddenly responsible for the day-to-day admin that comes along with running a business too including invoicing, new business development and team management.
I began to work harder than I ever had before, putting in more hours and thinking about the business more than I had done any other job.
So as a busy entrepreneur, striving for a work life balance has always been something of a struggle, and the phrase ‘work life’ balance is something I don’t necessarily feel is possible to achieve when you run your own business.
I’m not looking to achieve a balance, as work is such a huge part of my life. I am happy to make this sacrifice, because I absolutely love running my own business!
I very much enjoy giving advice and creating strategies for businesses ranging from global recognised brands to tiny startups that are just getting off the ground and working evenings or weekends to ensure I can continue to be my own boss gives me so much job satisfaction.
Social media is a great topic of conversation, and I am often asked about the digital marketing tactic at weddings, 30th birthdays and even over the Christmas dinner table! It’s certainly an interesting industry to work in as almost everyone uses it, and it’s constantly changing and updating so there’s new challenges to discuss all the time. But where do you draw the line?
Being tied to a laptop for hours on end, and constantly scrolling through newsfeeds on my iPhone is no way to live your life. I noticed last year that long hours in front of a tiny screen was beginning to hurt my neck and shoulders. When I’d spend a couple of days at home alone in a row, I found myself worrying about trivial things. It isn’t healthy!
So what are the solutions to finding not so much a balance, but more a relief from running a business that demands so much of my time?
Yoga has been such an important part of my life for the last three years, and I dedicate at least 4 hours a week to class or home practice. It’s a great way to distress, stretch out and not think about anything! I don’t do yoga to keep fit, that’s an added bonus.
This summer, I spent many weekends out of the city away from my desk (and laptop!) at various weddings, hen parties and birthday celebrations. It was a great way to get out of the ‘London bubble’ and breathe some fresh country air and explore new places, as well as spending some quality time with my nearest and dearest who usually don’t want to talk about work.
Even small things such as making sure I work in a co-working environment a few times a week, whether that’s at a shared space in Shoreditch or working from a freelance friendly café gives me new inspiration and ideas.
Although running a business can be tough, and demands long hours – it’s one of the most rewarding decisions I have made.
Achieving a work life balance isn’t necessarily possible because your business is your life, but making sure you take those breaks to open your mind has given me some great ideas and more energy.
It’s definitely something I will continue to do into 2017, as I look forward to another fab year of being my own boss.