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Small Business School: Balance

Alyssa Nguyen

Small Business School: Balance

The B word. The one we are all striving for and in search for. Balance.

The dictionary defines balance as an even distribution of weight enabling someone or something to remain upright and steady or a condition in which different elements are equal or in the correct proportions. Anything stand out with those definitions? Even distribution, elements are equal or in the correct portions… In my opinion, that sure seems pretty confining if everything is supposed to be even and equal 100% of the time to achieve balance.

Not only does it seem confining, it also seems insanely unattainable and a goal that is so out of reach it’s not even realistic. We’re all told our lives would be amazing and almost better if we figure out how the heck to balance out our life in every way. We’d be happier, wealthier, healthier etc. But most of the time I find that it just leaves us (me, anyway) extremely frustrated and defeated.

And when you throw small business into the mix of it all, things can just feel downright impossible especially if you’re yearning for that perfect balance.


Wearing many hats, for me it’s retail buyer, wholesale account manager, fulfillment, workshop and event planner + coordinator, merchandiser, studio manager, CEO, CFO, marketing director, art director, creative director, and even janitor (seriously!)...the list goes on. There’s simply too much that needs to be done for one person. Many businesses operate lean with just a one woman or one man show. Running a business lean has always been something I’ve strived for, the less frivolous expenses you have in business, the more profitable you are. It’s really that simple.

Trust me, I know everyone’s to-do list can literally be a mile long, but once you really look at that list, what on there is really important? It takes a lot to tell your pride and ego to let go, to only do what is essential. Only doing the things that are the utmost important and forgetting the rest. Being okay with things being undone. It takes a lot of courage to ask for grace from colleagues and fellow business owners when you turn down additional work or partnerships to honor only doing what’s essential to your life and business.

P.s. If you want to read more about essentialism, I really encourage you to read this book. It’s one of my all time favorites and I read it once a year.


If I’m going to be really honest here, I’ve put my business first in my life. Yup, it’s embarrassing to admit but I’ve put my business before my relationships, marriage, myself, and even my dogs on many occasions. I’m grateful that the people (and dogs) in my life understand my passion, but a big focus of mine in 2019 was to let the business work for me for a change.

Allowing myself to have days not physically at the shop and truly not working. Having actual weekends off for the first time in 6 years. Prioritizing to eat 3 actual meals a day. Seems ridiculous but I would opt to finish out an email or take a meeting instead of eat. I felt like if I wasn’t working hard all the time, I would be lazy and not deserving of success.

Small business is so personal, it intertwines with your life even outside of work. There’s no calling it a day after 5pm when you are literally your business. It’s a practice I have to remind myself of daily, to do less but with more intention. I really want to encourage you to do the same, let’s turn away from the glorification of busyness and lean into only doing what is essential to our daily happiness.


Carve out time to sit down and evaluate what’s important for YOUR life. And then do the same for YOUR business. Make a list.

Now take that list, and only pick 3-5 things that are essential.

Things to consider: Ditch all the things you feel like you should do, simplify. There are so many things we feel like we should be doing- we should be exercising 5 days a week. We should be on all social media platforms for our business. I challenge you to pause, and only do what serves you and your business. Get down to the basics.  At the very core of your life and business, what is actually important to you?

It’s better to do a handful of things well vs. doing a bunch of things mediocre. Trust in the ebb and flow, of life and of business. If you allow things to flow, you’ll find a rhythm that resembles balance. But in a way that truly serves you in all areas of your life.