The Early Years: How to Balance Work & Your Personal Life

by Ezra Firestone

Before my wife Carrie and I could quit our day jobs, our schedules were bananas:

I was working 60 hours a week managing a yoga studio, we’d get home at 11pm to eat dinner, then I’d go back to work till 2am on our side hustle.

Meanwhile the business wasn’t making any money yet, so we were living off of Carrie’s income.

Entrepreneurs everywhere can relate: We sacrifice our time, our sleep, our social lives…

It’s the difficult reality of starting a business from scratch.

So how can you help create balance and joy during your early years?

My wife and business partner Carrie Firestone has some great advice.

Here’s her method for how to work easier and happier and still grow your business during the tough early years.

Take it away, Carrie…

Work Easier, Happier and Still Grow Your Business

(Thanks, Ezra!)

Yes, we had a few years where our schedules were crazy… But one thing we had on our side was that we were young, so we were used to working hard and we were used to being broke.

And we didn’t have kids so this wasn’t a stress for us like it is for many entrepreneurs.

We knew we wouldn’t want to live like this for 5 years or 10 years, but even in those crazy times the one thing that kept us happy was that we were always in agreement with what we’re doing.

Even when we didn’t have much money — and even when we lost what little money we did have — it was never like, “Oh, my gosh, you did this thing, and I’m not okay with it!”

At every point we knew what we were getting into, and we were okay with the ups and downs.

We also built in time for one another, and that’s how we kept our relationship as a priority over the business. What you have to remember is that if you’re working really hard and you’re also not having any fun, you’re less effective as a person.

So it’s actually in your best benefit to take a break, to make time to go to the park and not think about your business 100% of the time.

This question was asked during this recent Facebook live by someone calling themselves “Moritz from Munich” (that alone is awesome). They asked:

“We are currently a two-person business, my girlfriend and I. We feel like we have to work hard to get everything done, to run the business, and to expand, and to get employees.

What is your approach on working easy, happy, and loose and losing the feeling of not doing enough? We’ve been working hard for more than three years and would like to know how you and Carrie got through the early stages of your business.”

If you have any advice for “Moritz from Munich” or any words of wisdom from your early days as an entrepreneur, post them here so they can find them.

Click Here For Video Transcript

Ezra: And we have a special… You don’t have to if you don’t want to… Special…guest, ladies and gentleman, Carrie Firestone. You wanna turn this off? Now, you can hop down. You can take the seat here. I’ll go ahead and sit down right here in front, and you can…

Carrie: Thanks, honey.

Ezra: Yeah.

Carrie: I didn’t even know I was planning on being in front of the camera today. Well, so the question was about, like, how do we have fun while working.

Ezra: Yeah. And how’d we get through the tough years where we weren’t making money, and we were, like…you know, when we were living off your yoga earnings, and I was really bankrupting us and the whole nine.

Carrie: You know, for a good part of it, we had other jobs. Like, I was teaching yoga. Ezra was managing a yoga studio for a while there. And, you know, I think what we had on our side was that, like, we were young, and so it wasn’t like we had some, like, plush salary that we were used to that then we gave up. Like, we were used to being broke, and we were used to working hard. But I think the thing that, like, has kept us happy through all of it is that at every point, we’ve been in agreement with what we’re doing. So even when we didn’t have very much money, and, like, when things…you know, like, when you lost…

Ezra: Let’s not tell that story.

Carrie: …the little money that we did have.

Ezra: We don’t need to go into that story. I mean, if you need to tell it, it’s fine.

Carrie: No, it’s fine. I was just that. You know, like, we didn’t have much money, and then we lost some of that money. And so that was tough, but at every point, we were still in agreement between the two of us about what we were doing. So it wasn’t like that happened, and I was like, “Oh, my gosh. Like, you did this thing, and I wasn’t okay with it.” It was like we knew what we were getting into, and we were okay with the ups and downs.

Ezra: Yeah. And what I would add to that was, like, we kept our relationship as a priority. Like, we didn’t work so hard that we didn’t have time for one another. I mean, there was a point where, like, I would be at my job 2 p.m. to 10 p.m. I’d get home at 11. We’d have dinner together. Carrie would go to sleep, and then I would work for a couple hours, you know, on our business.

Carrie: Yeah. You know, we had a few years where our schedules were crazy, and, like, we wouldn’t want to do that for 5 years or 10 years. But even in those crazy times, like, we made time for each other. And we didn’t have kids, so that wasn’t a stress for us, but it was, like, you know. At every point, if you’re working really hard, you have to remember, too, that, like, if you’re not also having fun, you’re less effective as a person. And so it’s actually in your best benefit to take a break and to make time to, like, go to the park and not think about your business. Yeah.

Ezra: Mic drop, ladies and gentleman. You wanna stay in the thing or you getting outta here?

Carrie: I’m good.

Ezra: Okay.

Carrie: Thanks.

Ezra: Carrie Firestone. Give it up.