NEW YORK—When it comes to work/life balance for women entrepreneurs, there’s no one-design-fits-all. It’s a matter of how you want to live your lifestyle and thrive.
“I think as entrepreneurs to really find a stable work/life balance is very, very difficult and it’s very individual,” said Lizanne Falsetto, creator of the thinkThin protein bar and former CEO of the Los Angeles-based company, thinkThin Products
This past December, Falsetto sold her company to global nutrition company Glanbia plc for almost a quarter billion dollars. Falsetto said after 25 years of blood, sweat, and tears, the decision to sell was “bittersweet.” Falsetto had built her successful multi-million dollar business from the ground up without any business experience or mentorship. During this time, she became a single mother, raising two children.
Balancing this dual life and staying healthy wasn’t easy, but Falsetto did the best she could for the sake of her family. Now that she has extra time, Falsetto reflected on her journey and what lifestyle design worked best for her.
Exercise was a very important part of Falsetto’s daily routine. She worked out and took very long walks, she said.
Falsetto had a treadmill at home and one at the office. “Walk and talk,” she said about talking on the telephone while walking for exercise. She even took longer while pushing her children in the stroller as a way to exercise. At least three times a week, she also went to the gym and trained with weights.
Falsetto’s schedule didn’t allow her to stick to a strict timetable, but she made exercise a priority. “It wouldn’t always be one o’clock. It would sometimes be five o’clock or sometimes in the morning, but I would always get it in,” she said.
Food is not only key to weight management, but also to energy, vitality, and healthy skin, Falsetto said.
She ate a very balanced breakfast and then also carried food with her to the office to cut down on ordering out. And she drank lots of water.
She put almonds and berries on the table at meetings to keep her employees nourished. Almonds, bananas, and dried fruit are some of her favorite because they are easy to eat throughout the day and they are filling. She recommends always keeping healthy snacks—lots of fruits and vegetables—on hand at the office.
At home, Falsetto liked to cook and she was able to do it for her family at least four times per week. She always made sure her family also ate healthy at dinner time. “I always have cucumbers and carrots and celery with ranch dip on the middle of the table before we eat,” she said.
But, if you don’t like to prepare your own food, get fresh, healthy prepared foods at places like Whole Foods and even Starbucks. Falsetto recommends Starbucks’ arugula and black bean salad. “It’s the healthiest … 450 calories that you can eat,” she said.
Quality Time With Children
Falsetto became a single mother in 2005 when her daughter was 5 years old and her son was just barely a year old. In the beginning she got help from her mother and other family members. And many times she would take the children with her to the office.
As the business grew, she was able to hire someone full-time, but then she struggled to spend time with her children.
So she learned to live in the moment and give them the attention they needed in a short amount of time. “What I learned early on is that it’s not quantity of time, it’s quality of time,” she said. She figured out that kids tend to have a short attention span, so spending 30 minutes of focused time with them could seem like hours be very satisfying to them.
She also had a consistent family meal once a week. “The children look forward to it because first of all they love the fact that there’s food,” she said. Her family Sunday meals were a time to eat, talk, and reconnect. They would come prepared to discuss their highs and lows from the past week.
And she tried to be physically present for the most important school functions. Falsetto said it was difficult to get to all of them, but she tried to be present in some way.
“My kids always knew where I was at and they always knew if they weren’t with me what time I was going to be home,” she said.