There are lots of reasons to start a business: setting out to solve a problem, launching a never-before-heard-of product, wanting to create your own hours… or even to have more of a healthy mindset.
Entrepreneur coach Katrina Widener wanted to align her values with her career so she could create a life she didn’t want to “escape” from.
With a previous track record at a large magazine publishing company, as a social media marketer, and as a freelancer, Widener was getting burnt out from doing work she didn’t even feel was valued.
“I would get home from work and it would take me a half hour to get ‘back to life,’” she said.
Widener believes hustle culture causes pressure to work constantly because it provides a “semblance of control.”
“There isn’t a direct line between hours [put in] and success,” she said.
So, she set out to create a business that not only aligned with her own values but helped people find entrepreneurial endeavors that aligned with theirs as well.
While she was first putting the pieces together of her business though, she was still working a full-time job. After getting “very sick,” she realized it wasn’t a sustainable pattern. The schedule, she said, was taking a toll on her personal life. But since it happened within the first month or two of getting her business off the ground, it quickly set the precedent for it to not happen again.
“There isn’t a direct line between hours [put in] and success.” — Katrina Widener
Now, she has set phone boundaries — no notifications from 7 p.m. to 8 a.m. — and does yoga, goes on a daily walk, and exercises her brain through inspirational content such as podcasts.
“That’s just as important as doing cardio or a workout,” she said. “It’s working on yourself and your mindset,” Widener said.
She also said it’s important to still keep work and life separate as best you can while working from home.
Stephanie Wagner, owner of Inner Fire Health and Well-Being Coaching, agrees.
“There’s such a blurry boundary between work and home life [now],” Wagner said.
Wagner suggests a symbolic commute. Instead of waking up and jumping right into work, it may help for people to take a walk, listen to a podcast, or do whatever they would do during a physical commute for the amount of time it normally takes.
Then, at the end of the day, doing something symbolic such as physically putting your computer away can further help keep work and home life separate.
“[This helps] disrupt that work momentum and create a healthy boundary around work,” she said.
Kayla Hollatz, a copywriter and brand strategist who turned a college blog into a full-time business five years ago, gets into her healthy mindset by taking a walk at the end of every work day.
“It’s a buffer between what I was doing and ushers me into my time at night,” she said.
Instead of waking up and jumping right into work, it may help for people to take a walk, listen to a podcast, or do whatever they would do during a physical commute for the amount of time it normally takes.
Hollatz also time blocks entire days for certain projects, meal prepares on the weekends, takes lunch breaks every day, and even has solo dance parties sometimes.
The process wasn’t quick; it took three months to get to this healthy balance. After starting out with a business model that wasn’t sustainable, Hollatz found herself fatigued and constantly tired.
“I wasn’t able to feel the same energy and passion for work that I had,” she said of realizing her unsustainable business model was affecting her physical and mental health.
“I spent time reflecting and journaling a whole lot and finding my way back to myself,” she said.
Now in a healthy mindset, she has thought a lot about the harm that hustle culture can bring.
“What it gets right is us pursuing our craft with excellence,” she said. “But what it gets wrong is that your work needs to come from a place of hurry.”
Interested in hearing more about health lifestyles from Minnesota entrepreneurs? Check out some other entries in our Work Well series!