On being a lawyer and a small business owner

Every day I juggle the demands of being a small business owner and an attorney; some days that means paying bills at 6 am or meeting clients on the weekends. It is a juggling act that I have been performing for 13 years and it actually means that I work hard to achieve a work-life balance. At times work wins, and at times the rest of my life wins, but I have also made sure to take time for my family (and the gym for mental health).
When I started by business I had a two year old and I was pregnant and I built in one day a week with no client appointments so that I could get other things done, like paying bills or networking, things like that. Now, I no longer have that built in to a specific day, as that is almost impossible as my client base has expanded, but I still try to keep one day a week for getting caught up on paperwork. Unfortunately, that is sometimes on the weekend, but my children understand that this is how I pay for their activities, etc. Also, in 13 years of practice, I have only missed a handful of field trips and sporting events for them.
The reason I started working for myself was to be able to be present for them when they need or want to spend time with me, and if that means taking off a few hours for a field trip (and having to make up that work on the weekend instead), then that is a trade-off I have always been willing to make.
Being a small business owner, and never knowing when you will be paid is not for the faint of heart and is definitely not for most people. Of course, at times neither is the practice of law, or being a single parent, but I would not trade the last 13 years being present for my children for a regular salary and regular hours (whatever that is for attorneys). Now as they get older and head to school, my work-life balance will continue to evolve, but I know it is still important to maintain that balance.
Lawyers, and small business owners, have a high burnout rate due to the fact that to be good at what you do, you have to put all of yourself into what you are doing, but I have made sure to take time to be involved in activities in the community, be it attending the LIBA (Louisville Independent Business Association) this morning or putting a Little Free Library (lending library) in front of my office, to make sure that I don’t get burned out.
As a big push is getting ready to take place to remind you to “Shop Small” for the holidays and to “Buy Local” all the time, I am just taking a few minutes to reflect on how that impacts my life. Not only am I a local business, but I try to most of my money locally as I know exactly how that impacts others like myself and their families.

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