By Joshua Mackey

"So get this guys! I have a friend that makes a six-figure income, and doesn't even have to change out of his pajamas! Isn't that crazy?"

When I started freelancing in 2012, I was very confident in my ability to balance work and life. After all, I had been balancing work and life for years while I was in radio. Granted, work often seemed to outweigh life, which made life become a heavier weight on my shoulders. I made it work. Most of the time. Right? The idea of having MORE free time to allocate seemed like a luxury. Then reality set in.

For nearly a year, I took great comfort in the luxury of having more free time. I did some things I had wanted to do. I took some liberties with my daily schedule I had wanted to take. It was great. Unfortunately, my income wasn't rising to a level that would justify my brazen choice to go freelance. It seems the weight had shifted. Life was outweighing work, which oddly, made life become a heavier weight on my shoulders. So if work outweighs life, life gets tougher. If life outweighs work, life gets tougher. I see a pattern.

The pendulum will swing whether I want it to or not. My focus is to make sure it's swinging in a balanced way so as not to disrupt the natural flow of life. In order for me to provide for my family and have the life I want, I need to work. In order for work to be "worth it", I need to be living. Finding this balance isn't exclusive to freelancing, but it can be exacerbated when there's no "boss" breathing down your neck. I had to find a cohesive way to implement balance-wielding policies into my business.

Enter goal-setting.

I have committed to keeping studio hours of 8am-6pm Monday through Friday except most U.S. holidays. I have also committed to a particular "daily income" goal. When I get to the studio, I take care of any projects that are due or are coming due. Then, I search for new projects. I cold-call. I submit proposals and auditions. I do whatever I can to get the next gig. I keep working until I've either reached my daily income goal or until the clock strikes 6pm - whichever comes first.

In the two years I've been working like this, I have managed to meet my daily goal about 80% of the time. In addition, I have 3-5 days per month that my daily goal is shattered by a large project or a far-reaching campaign. After I implemented this "policy", I doubled my income without sucking precious time away from my family and life. I seem to have found the balance that had eluded me for so long. And I couldn't be happier. My business is thriving and I haven't missed one of my kids' sports games or dance recitals or parent/teacher conferences or all-important one-on-one time with them.

Is my routine the "best" routine? Probably not. But it works for me. And whether you're a freelancer, a business owner, or an employee, I encourage you to find your balance. Once you strike a balance between work and life, I think you'll find both to be much more rewarding as you're able to give yourself to each without the burden of sacrificing the other.

 Joshua Mackey is a professional voice talent and audio producer. He welcomes comments and questions at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Visit www.MackeyVoiceTalent.com for more info.

On the Soundstage

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