As I was preparing to abandon Corporate America in order to step into solopreneurship, I remember thinking that achieving work-life balance would be soooooooooo much easier after the switch. After all, I’d be working at home. What could be more convenient?

“Just think of all the time I’ll save not having to get ready for work in the morning or commuting to and from the office,” I’d brag to my soon-to-be-ex-coworkers. “Plus, I’ll be able to get the laundry and other home repair appointments out of the way while I’m working,” I’d add.

Well, after four years of running my own business, I have one thing to say about all that: Ha!

If you’re a solopreneur yourself, then I’m sure you’re smiling—and nodding. Yes, that greener grass on the other side of the fence is so intoxicating. So enchanting. And so incredibly deceptive!

The truth is, for the first couple of years of being a solopreneur, I found achieving work-life balance more challenging and elusive than ever. And I know I’m not the only one. Toni and I have heard similar experiences from a lot of the solopreneurs we’ve talked to lately.

One of the biggest reasons achieving work/life balance can be such a challenge is the lack of boundaries. Think about it. When you’re a home-based solopreneur, you’re never “at work” or “at home.” You’re always at both. And so no matter what task you’re currently working on, something from the other realm beckons. You’re in your office working on copy for a new sales page, and you hear the dryer buzzing. Or you’re cleaning out the refrigerator, and you wonder whether you should go check your voice messages.

The good news is that, over time, most work-from-home solopreneurs tend to settle into a much more manageable (and healthy) pattern. But lately, I’ve felt myself sliding back into this tug-of-war, so I’ve been taking some time to reflect on where I may have let boundaries evaporate.

I also thought I could take this opportunity to share with you three mindset strategies I’ve used over the years that have helped me tremendously. I still have a ways to go to be sure, but with each passing year I seem to be in closer alignment with what I envisioned creating for myself: a business that not only satisfies my career and wealth ambitions, but that also gives me enough personal time to truly enjoy it.

I know I’m not alone in facing this challenge. So we’d love it if you’d share your own personal success strategies in the comments area below.

1.) Protect your time. The big mistake I made – and that I see so many other home-based solopreneurs making – is simply not making enough time for work. Instead of acting like they have a job from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m., four or five days a week, many folks try to squeeze in doctors’ appointments, repairmen, running errands, trips to the salon, grocery shopping, gardening, cooking, working out (the list goes on and on) into their day.

Don’t get me wrong. One of the best benefits of having your own business is the flexibility it affords. The whole idea is to create a lifestyle that allows you to have a life outside of work. But at the same time, it’s difficult to run a profitable business – let alone GROW a business – if you’re trying to squeeze everything you need to do into a 20-hour-a-week schedule!

Running a business, after all, is WAY more time consuming than having a typical J-O-B, yet many folks believe that they can work LESS hours running company than working for one. While I believe this certainly is attainable, I also believe it takes many years to get a business to the point where you can work just a few days week or take two or three months off a year.

So then what should you do? Start by tracking all of your time – personal and work – for two straight weeks. At the end of the two weeks, look at how much time you’ve actually spent working versus taking care of personal business. You may be surprised to learn that you’re only putting in 20 to 25 work hours a week and, of that, perhaps 10 to 12 of them are dedicated to revenue-generating activities.

You may decide there’s nothing wrong with that. If you’re perfectly content with your current income level that’s great. But if you’re looking to bring in more profits, you may need to set expectations with yourself about how much other “stuff” you’re going to squeeze into your work day. Once you have a better sense of how many hours you truly need to accomplish your business goals, you’ll be incentivized to protect that time on your calendar and fit the personal stuff in around your work schedule – not vice versa.

2.) Set a precedent. One of the hardest things I had to do when it came to valuing my time wasn’t training myself, but rather training my friends and family that even though I’m at home, I AM AT WORK! When I first started working from home there was suddenly an expectation that I was available during the day for socializing or other family- or friend-related “emergencies.” And to be frank, I’m sure to many people I look like a jerk for not being accessible even though I may be home. But I would never call my friends or family at their job just to chat on the phone for a while. And if I don’t treat my business like a business, why should I expect anyone else to?

Your actions and behaviors will train others what to expect. I rarely, for example, answer our home phone during the day—nor do I take personal calls on my cell or business phones. And now that folks know I don’t answer my phone until 5 PM, they typically don’t call before then or, if they do, they know to leave a message.

3.) Save you from you. At times, we can be our own worst enemies. We’re so passionate about what we do that we just want to do it all, especially in the early days of our business when we’re trying so hard to “make it.” A hard lesson I had to learn is that as a business owner there will ALWAYS be more to do. Another phone call I could make. Another networking event I could attend. Another blog post I could write.

For the longest time, I kidded myself into believing I would slow down as soon as “X” happened. Once I get through “X” project. Once I start making “$X” a month. Once I had “X” subscribers to our ezine. Well, no surprise. “X” came and went many times only to be immediately replaced by an even BIGGER, more IMPORTANT “X.”

Actually, it took a good friend and colleague pointing out to me that whenever I created any white space in my life I was immediately filling it with something else. In this case, becoming aware of the issue really was half the battle.

The other thing that has really helped me “stop the madness” has been my kids. My twin boys are turning one-year-old on Friday. I can hardly believe how fast time has flown. Before having children, work was the thing that fueled me the most. But never before in my life have I had such an important reason to stop work at the end of the day. So although having two little boys is a LOT of work, it has also brought a tremendous amount of joy and balance to my life in a way I’m not sure anything else could have.

Whether it’s your children or a much-loved hobby, the key is to have a passion in your life that is equal to or even greater than your work. When you do, you’ll know it’s time to stop working and go live life.

Author's Bio: 

Known as The Corporate Agent, Angelique Rewers, ABC, APR, teaches micro business owners and solopreneurs around the world how to grow their small business by working with Big Business. Get her FREE CD and articles at