I quit being a lawyer and started a PR agency instead — because, for me, the #1 factor of having successful work-life integration is being in control of your time. I wanted to be there for my children and have a more flexible schedule, and my PR agency is what allowed me to do that.
Now, I work the hours I want to, I have time for my children every day (plus weekends free!), and I still love my job and clients after 15 years.
I want you to experience the same things!
I love this topic about work-life integration because when I first started my PR agency I struggled with some of the decisions I had to make to achieve a good balance in my life.
I want to help you understand the process and the decisions that I took along the way.
When I first met my husband, I was practicing law and earning about $150,000 a year. That was excellent money to be making the first year out of college.
As I started to think about marriage and having kids, I began to look around my law firm for women who had families and had a life I could model. But there was no one who had the kind of life I wanted to have with a family.
Anyone with a family would come back to work after having their child and some would work part-time and eventually be phased out. Others would work so many hours they never saw their family. They were super committed to the firm.
But I didn’t want to live my life like that. It’s not the future I saw for myself.
I wanted to model the family life I had growing up. My parents were always there for us. They came to every school performance, picked me up from art class and we had family dinners every night.
I always wanted to be the kind of mom who could be there for my kids too. And it wasn’t possible with my former career in law.
My definition of success changed before I quit being a lawyer. It wasn’t just about the money anymore.
The number one factor of success for me was to be in control of my time.
My vision changed to being in charge of my time and working on things that light me up. I wanted something where I could be happy to go to work every day.
That’s when I started my PR agency. I had no experience when I started, but as I built it, my business continued to grow and become very successful. I now work with billion-dollar brands and do exactly what I love to do every day.
You can do this too!
In the beginning, when I made this shift and changed my career, I really struggled with setting boundaries.
At first, I had no boundaries! To say the least, I learned the hard way.
I answered texts from clients evenings and weekends. Sometimes I would work all hours of the night. I stopped everything to answer an email from a client, no matter what time of day.
Another experience I had in the beginning of my new business, was the day after I brought my second son home from the hospital. The CEO, who was a client of mine, came to my house. She had a present for the baby, but it was her way to put her thumb on me a bit and say, ‘You know what? Your time is not your own.’
She came in and we talked for 4 hours! It was a strategy session about what we were going to do moving forward with her business. I felt like the message she was sending me was that my time was not my own. That you just had this baby, but don’t get too comfortable because you still work for me.
That was the moment I realized that this is not okay. How did I get myself in this situation?
I didn't have the confidence back then to stand up for myself and know what was right. My baby was screaming in the background because he was hungry and I didn’t have the confidence to do what I should’ve done.
It was because of a lack of boundaries.
I realized I had to set boundaries and create a vision for my life and business. These are the types of decisions you have to make right from the beginning.
You don’t have to kill yourself to have your business and work all hours of the day and night responding to clients at the drop of a hat. It doesn’t have to be that way to be successful.
It's a recipe for burnout.
Our business became more successful when we implemented boundaries. We had a clear vision for what it would take to be effective during a certain period of time of the day, not working nights and weekends and creating a whole life vision for work-life integrations between running my business and being a mom.
That's what it takes to be successful.
It takes setting up your business in a certain way. You need to know how to price your services so that you can build a team that will support you. Knowing how to charge for your services also means not discounting your services.
If you discount your services you’re losing money. You’re working hard for less which doesn’t build your business according to the vision you have for the kind of life you want.
Start with a vision for your business that also serves what you want your life to look like.
After your vision is clear, then the decisions you have to make become easy. You’ll know whether you should discount certain rates and how to do it.
My goal for you is to create a business that you still love 15 years from now.
I’ve had my business for 15 years now and I still love what I do. I love getting press for our clients and I love winning new business. And it all happened because I made strategic decisions and built a business in an intentional way where I created a vision for myself and made decisions based on that vision.
This is how I know I’m serving myself so that I don’t ever get burnt out. I’m not going to allow clients to dictate how I run my business ever again.
It can be a very simple process. It starts with your vision. You have to know what your goals are, and how much money you want to make and what it costs to execute the services you want to provide.
When I set up my vision, I created the life I wanted to live.
My decisions affected my life by letting me:
I’m proud of where we are today. My business has served me so well that I love sharing it.
Creating a vision for your PR agency is the first step in having a work-life integration in your business that you will love. You can run a profitable agency on your terms. There are simple tweaks you can make to have a more fun and fulfilling career that doesn’t suck the life out of you.