How Busy Entrepreneurs Can Create a Healthy Work-Life Balance

How entrepreneurs can create a healthy work-life balance

Maintaining a healthy work-life balance is one of the biggest struggles for entrepreneurs and business owners. It’s far too easy to work long hours and neglect other important aspects of your life.

When asked about finding balance, Audrey Schoen says, “I don’t find balance, I create it.” In this interview, Audrey shares incredible insight and practical tips that can help any entrepreneur to achieve a healthier balance.

👇 Key Takeaways

  • Audrey started her practice so she could spend more time at home with her kids.
  • As a busy entrepreneur, you need to be intentional with your time and energy.
  • If we get stuck in high gear, everything will feel urgent.
  • Quality of time is more important than quantity. Find out how to be fully present in the moments that matter most.
  • You must prioritize self-care to be most effective in business and in your family life.


Business Name: Audrey Schoen, LMFT and Balanced Private Practice
Website URLs:,
Founder: Audrey Schoen
Year Started: 2016 and 2021

Tell us about yourself and your business.

I am a licensed marriage and family therapist, twin mom, law enforcement wife, and multi-passionate serial entrepreneur.

I have a private practice in Roseville CA and online throughout CA and TX where I help anxious, high-achieving, perfectionist, people pleasers create calm and connected lives through therapy and brainspotting. I specialize in working with entrepreneurs, first responder spouses, and couples. 

I also provide business coaching to therapists, helping them create sustainable, balanced, and profitable practices that provide the life they and their families deserve. 

What was your inspiration for starting the business?

I officially started my private practice when my twins were about six months old. I had been seeing a few clients privately in addition to my job with a homeless services agency prior to having my twins and had intended to return. But the hours and the pay would mean working full time and not actually bringing home an income after paying for childcare. That wasn’t going to cut it.

Being able to see clients online while being home with my kids most of the time was a great fit for our family, especially with my husband working long hours in law enforcement and his Air Force reserves duties. 

A few years later, I decided to start my second business, helping other therapists start and grow their practices. I knew that I wanted to grow beyond 1-1 services while also confronting many of the toxic self-sacrificing narratives that cause burnout for mental health professionals.

Audrey Schoen and family
Photo courtesy of Audrey Schoen

As an entrepreneur and a busy mother, how do you find balance in your life?

I don’t find balance, I create it. Balance is something you practice, not something you achieve. Especially as a mother, I’m constantly adapting and responding to the needs of my children as they grow and develop, so balance will also grow and change with them. 

I am incredibly intentional with my time and energy. I have my schedule set up in a way that allows for buffer time, say if a kid wakes up sick and can’t go to school, I have time in the mornings to figure things out before my first appointments. I also have an hour of buffer time before I pick them up from after-school care in case my day gets turned upside down. By building in the buffers, I rarely have to worry about things going wrong because I have the time and space to absorb it. And when things go well, I have time and space to be creative. 

I’ve also decided to make self-care non-negotiable.  I schedule things like my workouts and time to connect with friends as a consistent part of my day and week. My appointments with myself get just as much priority as my appointments with other people.

I also know I cannot do this alone. I have a virtual assistant team that takes care of nearly everything that I don’t actually have to do myself. I hire a cleaner to come take care of my home. And I’m fortunate to have family close by that I can depend on.

This doesn’t mean that I’m always in perfect balance. I overbook myself and skip a workout more often than I care to admit. But I have a foundation to return to when I am reminded why it’s important that I hold firm to those boundaries. That makes it easier to come back to them when I cross them.

What strategies do you recommend for integrating family time into a busy schedule while still prioritizing business needs?

Be really international with your time and brutally honest about your bandwidth. Observe and reflect on the times of day when your family needs and wants you the most. How can you make yourself available to be fully present during those times? How can you build in daily touch points with the important people in your life?

I think we confuse quantity of time with quality of time. It doesn’t matter how much time you spend at home if you are distracted, even a little bit. Find the moments that matter the most and figure out how you can be fully present. It might be reading books at bedtime. Sitting down for dinner. Playing a board game.

Too often, I hear entrepreneurs talking about family commitments getting pushed to the bottom of the list. It’s easy to think that I can just spend time with my kid or my spouse tomorrow. But we only have so many tomorrows. Make sure that your family commitments get just as much priority as your work commitments. When something from work comes up, be aware of false urgency. If we get stuck in high gear, everything can feel urgent. It makes it hard to discern what can actually wait. As an entrepreneur, you have to decide to clock out, trusting that your business will still be there tomorrow when you clock in again.

Audrey Schoen
Photo courtesy of Audrey Schoen

Most entrepreneurs and business owners work long hours. How can people know when their work-life balance is unhealthy? What are the warning signs?

  • When you’re unable to stop thinking about it when with friends and family
  • You feel irritated when your children interrupt you on your phone or tablet doing work activities during what is meant to be family time
  • Your kids make comments about you being gone, distracted, or working too much
  • Kids start acting out/up when they can tell you are distracted 
  • You experience frequent fatigue and mental fog
  • Everything feels urgent, and you find it hard to stop working at the end of the day.. just one more thing
  • Feeling resentful of either your family’s demands on you or your work
  • You struggle to tap into your creativity
  • You have a hard time falling or staying asleep

Many business owners struggle with guilt when taking time off or prioritizing personal activities. How can they overcome this and embrace the importance of self-care?

It’s important to recognize that there’s a cost to everything. The cost of working too much is not doing well personally in your life, health, and relationships. The cost of not working all the time might mean your business grows slower, you miss an opportunity, or you don’t do “everything” all at once. But what good is having a successful business if your family suffers for it? My kids will only be kids once. We only have so many summers, so many weekends. 

It’s also vital to remember that you literally cannot do it all. It’s not possible, so get ok with not trying to. Recognize how much better you are for yourself, your family, and your business when you are taking care of yourself. Think about self-care as a non-negotiable. It’s the thing that makes everything else go better. I am a more patient mom, a more creative entrepreneur, a more attuned therapist when I am well. 

How does perfectionism affect work-life balance, and what strategies can entrepreneurs use to overcome this mindset?

I find that my pursuit for perfect is mostly related to the fear of failure, or, at a minimum, looking bad and losing someone’s trust or esteem. 

  • If I don’t get it perfect, it won’t do as well as it could
  • if I don’t get it perfect, it could fail, and this would all be for nothing
  • if I don’t get it perfect, someone will notice

When we spend much of our lives trying to perfect everything, we never give ourselves an opportunity to learn that imperfect things can be successful. Our nervous system doesn’t trust it.

Many also worry that if they don’t hold such a high standard of perfection, the quality of their work will plummet. We have to give ourselves opportunities to learn that imperfect action can still be great, and it’s often much more effective and efficient.

Many of my entrepreneur clients come to me because they recognize how perfectionism is impeding their success and their fulfillment. overcoming perfectionism often requires confronting the deep internal narratives that keep us tied to it.

People-pleasing tendencies can lead to overcommitment. How can entrepreneurs learn to say ‘no’ without feeling like they’re letting others down or missing out on opportunities?

As entrepreneurs, we especially don’t want to let others down or be seen as a dissapointment. But when we try to do all the things, we usually don’t do them nearly as well. 

I had to get OK about the reality that I was going to have to say “no” and I would miss out on opportunities at times. I trust that there will be more opportunities because I can create them.

I check in with my gut and trust my intuition to guide me. I have to say “no” to things when it’s not the right fit right now. For my business and for my personal life. It is OK to say “not yet”. It’s far better to tell someone that you’re not currently able commit to something then to commit to it and do it poorly, or even worse, sacrifice your well-being for it.

Technology has blurred the lines between work and personal life. How can entrepreneurs establish healthy digital boundaries to prevent burnout and maintain a sense of separation?

Creating a boundary with tech requires both practical and mindset approaches. Because we’re in charge of our time, we have to create the boundaries and hold ourselves accountable. It’s common for work to become a habit, something you do to fill time. It takes practice to break that habit. And there are some practical tools that can help us do that.

The first is to set up your phone’s notification and focus settings. I use Apple’s focus settings and have different focus profiles for work time and personal time. It completely eliminates the notifications and even the little red dots on my phone. I’m not being pulled away from the people around me to check my phone nearly as often.

I also keep my work tech in my office with the door closed. If that’s not possible, log out of an account, close the browsers, shut it down, or put it away somewhere. When there are more steps involved to engage in work activities, you have more opportunities to choose not to. 

Flexibility is often touted as a perk of entrepreneurship, but it can also lead to overworking. How can business owners strike a balance between flexibility and maintaining healthy work boundaries?

Build your business around your ideal life. Take time to really think about the things you want in your daily and weekly life, map it out, then see where your business fits. I want to be able to drop my kids off to school each day. I want to be fully present with them when they get home and on weekends. 

This doesn’t mean that I never do work activities on nights and weekends, but it does dictate how much time and what types of tasks I can do during those times. Outsourcing has also helped offload the tasks I don’t need to be doing, both personally and professionally. 

If you do need to attend to something work-related during off time, be mindful and intentional about only doing what’s necessary and nothing more. 

Don’t get stuck in high gear. As an entrepreneur we’ll have times where we need to push or grind. But we can get caught running in high gear even when it’s time to slow down. We start filling every second of the day with work tasks, adding more and more to the never-ending list, worrying that we aren’t doing enough. It’s a self-perpetuating cycle that leads to anxiety, stress, and mental fragmentation.

Slowing down can be incredibly uncomfortable, almost like having withdrawal symptoms. We stop being as effective and can start making poor decisions. That’s when it’s time to really zoom out, evaluate your to-do list, re-prioritize, and take real breaks. No more “just one more thing”. You have to re-regulate your nervous system. 

For anyone who’s struggling with work-life balance, what are the first steps you recommend?

You have to define enough. What is enough work, enough money, enough time. You can do too much of anything. But 20 years from now, when you look back, will you have spent enough time with your kids? What will they remember about you from their childhood?

Will they look back and remember a parent that was always distracted, always focused on work? Or a parent that was fully present and made them a priority when it really mattered the most?

It’s not about abandoning yourself and your goals for them. You are building this thing to support your family, but it cannot be at the cost of your relationships with your family.

When you can define what enough really means, you stop chasing the never ending “more”. 

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