My Top 3 Strategies for Balancing Two Businesses

April 3, 2018

navigating entrepreneurship

Four years ago, I had a crazy dream to create an intimately restful retreat experience for creative women entrepreneurs who were ready to build businesses, and lives, that operate from a clear place of purpose. And so the Illume Retreat came to life! Since hosting our first retreat in 2015, I’ve learned so much about what it looks like to own two separate businesses, what goes into serving two totally different audiences, and how to make it all work. Because coffee and lots of heart will only take you so far. It’s the strategy you implement to propel yourself forward that helps you bring your dreams to life actionably!

In an industry filled with multi-passionate creatives and incredible business opportunities, I know so many entrepreneurs have dreams of pursuing other business ideas outside of their primary revenue stream. And whether you currently balance multiple businesses or you’re doing the hard work to bring another business to life, I’m sharing the best three strategies I’ve used over the years to run two businesses without losing my mind!

My top 3 strategies to balance two businesses simultaneously via b is for bonnie design

Organization is key

One thing working with clients one-on-one through branding and design taught me early on was that organization is crucial to keeping every project on track. When you’re working with multiple clients at once, it’s important to stay organized. And running multiple businesses is no different!

I keep track of the different tasks and projects that are on my plate with both b is for bonnie design and the Illume Retreat through some aggressive email labeling, color coding my calendar, and Google Docs and Sheets. Keeping projects on my calendar ensures it’s always on my radar and I can devote the appropriate time to each to-do, whether that’s reaching out to sponsors for the retreat or it’s designing mockups for a branding client. Labeling emails and categorizing them within my inbox helps me keep track of to-do’s, client work, and retreat business quickly and efficiently. And I’m a big believer that you can’t have too many spreadsheets, especially when you’re planning an in-person experience like a workshop or a retreat!

Schedule your time

This approach to balancing both businesses has probably been the most game-changing for me. Instead of trying to tackle projects for both businesses in the same day, I’ve learned to dedicate time throughout the week to work on each business individually. Since the Illume Retreat happens annually, there can be some months where I don’t need to do anything to ensure things are running according to plan. But when I’m actively planning an upcoming event, I’ll dedicate specific days of the week to the retreat so it’s top priority and I don’t have to split my attention between two totally different businesses simultaneously.

In order to boost your productivity and protect your sanity, carve out specific days of the week or certain hours during your day to work on your business one at a time. If you treat to-do’s and project work like a scheduled appointment and get it on your calendar, you’ll find that you are more likely to get that work done and not put it off until later.

Give yourself grace

As you walk through the process of growing multiple businesses, remember that you won’t do it perfectly. I can’t even count how many mistakes I’ve made over the years with both businesses, not to mention how many mistakes I’ve made as I tried to figure out how to balance them both! But what I have taken away from every day of this journey is that you have to give yourself grace.

There will be seasons when you balance the two beautifully. And then there will be seasons where you feel like you’re doing all you can just to keep your head above water. But in each season, give yourself the grace to walk this journey as imperfectly and as wholeheartedly as you can.

Is running multiple businesses hard work? Heck yes! But it’s so worth it to be able to chase after two different dreams and watch them come to life through the people you serve and the impact your work makes. And honestly, with some intentional organization, no-nonsense planning, and a huge heaping of grace, you can absolutely do this!

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I'm Bonnie -- a designer, brand designer + strategist, writer, wife, and pet parent to the most rambunctious golden retriever this side of the Mason-Dixon! I'm passionate about building authentic brands, encouraging small business owners to chase their dreams, and spreading joy through design. It's a delight to have you here, lovely! Grab a cup of coffee, pull up a comfy chair and stay a while, won't you?

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