We had the good fortune of connecting with Kacie Hill and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Kacie, how has your work-life balance changed over time?
In 8th grade, I designed a 10 year plan and have had one ever since. I’ve always been goal-oriented and moved to California by myself from a tiny, rural town in Wisconsin shortly after High School graduation with a dream of becoming a dermatologist. Although that end-goal shifted from Western to Eastern medicine (Chinese Medicine/Acupuncture) over the years, I’ve always been a hard worker and priding myself in accomplishing my goals and doing the best job possible. I’ve managed spas, worked as an esthetician for nearly 10 years while finishing my undergrad and Master’s program and now I have had my own acupuncture business for the past 3 years. In the past, when working for someone else it was easier to shut off the business brain as I “left the building”. However, now that I’m my own boss, the work-life balance becomes much more of a tricky balancing act. I would speculate that with nearly any new business, the first few years require the most blood, sweat and tears of time and dedication. During my first year as an entrepreneur, I had very few rules or boundaries when it came to scheduling my work week except for not take any patients on the weekend. I made the promise to myself that as long as I am making my own schedule, my weekends would be ‘free’ being in the office. Monday through Friday however I was taking patients at any time from 8am-9pm. In addition, I was also doing all my own finances, social media, networking, marketing, email newsletters, insurance billing, continuing education and contracting in the spare moments between opening my eyes in the morning and closing them at night, weekends included. As you may imagine, this quickly resulted in burnout. I wasn’t making time for my boyfriend, friends, or any hobbies that I enjoy. My back and neck hurt from being hunched over a computer, I developed an astigmatism from staring at the computer screen, I was in constant fight-or-flight mode from the non-stop ‘DOING’, I was grumpy AF and my sleep was poor and disrupted. I was doing all the things I tell my patients not to do. I was not meditating or doing things that restore balance and passion in my life (reading, going to the beach, yoga, being in nature) because I “didn’t have time”. In contrast, the past year and a half I’ve felt much closer to a state of balance. I feel like balance can really only be “achieved” temporarily (a day, a month or a week) and is something that will always need to be nurtured or maintained depending on life’s ever-changing events and circumstances. Instead of viewing balance as an endgoal or achievement, I try to take it week by week and do the best I can to work productively but (literally) schedule things that fill me back up and allow me to reset and relax. The biggest difference for me has been all about setting better boundaries. Boundaries are KEY when discussing a work-life balance and they look different for everyone. For me personally, I know that I am most productive in the hours of 6am-12pm. I use this time to do all of the office work and behind the scenes necessary for my business’s success. I take patients 4 days a week and work shifts no more than 5 hours at a time. A twenty hour work week probably sounds heavenly to most people and I agree… it is. I have set goals and designed my practice to be successful in doing so. In addition, I have also hired an office manager to delegate many of my tedious daily tasks and plan on hiring more help in the year to come as my business continues to expand. As a recovering control freak this has been a great exercise in letting go and recognizing that the fear of imperfection and judgement holds me back from achieving all that is possible. For anyone teeter-tottering back and forth with this work life balance, my best recommendation is to begin scheduling time for your personal activities on your work schedule and sticking to those appointments just like you would an appointment for work. You cannot fill from an empty cup. This crazy year of 2020 has been a chance to reset for us all and has put many things into perspective for people. Life is short, you can not predict the future and health is wealth. Be sure you’re doing your best to cultivate your happiness and health daily. Happiness begins with YOU so be sure that you spend time each day doing things that make you happy.
What should our readers know about your business?
I specialize in complex, chronic conditions and love treating digestive disorders and chronic pain. The latter are two that I have experienced personally and love to help others navigate those issues along their healing journey. I offer acupuncture in an enchanting, comfortable and relaxing environment that helps to reset the nervous system and allow the body to resume it’s healing capabilities. I focus on nutrition and figuring out what foods work best for each individual patient as diet is one of the central pillars of health. There’s no one diet that works well for everyone and I love helping meet my patients where they are at to help them make healthier lifestyle changes. I am most proud of how quickly and successfully I’ve grown my business over a few short years. I choose to go out on my own straight out of school because I felt comfortable managing my own business and wanted to create the business and practice of my dreams. My knee-jerk reaction is to say it felt “easy” to build but I realize that it’s only because I’m self-motivated, semi-neurotic, and detail oriented. It certainly was NOT easy though and my brain and body have donated a huge amount of blood, sweat and tears to the cause. To noone’s surprise, being a workaholic is really beneficial when you’re starting a new business. There were most certainly challenges and hard times but I feel that because I’m working towards something I’m passionate about, it’s easy to work on it as hard as I have. Connecting easily with people has also been a tremendous part of my success. Many patients come to me and feel as though they’re not being heard. That in and of itself can be a huge step toward healing. I’d say my biggest headaches come in the form of dealing with insurance billing and my own perfectionism with time management and marketing. I get stuck on making sure all the fine details are to my liking before posting on instagram, sending out an email, or publishing a blog post. It can take HOURS for me to get some of this done and I’ve learned recently that much of that comes from my fear of “not being good enough” or what other’s may think. I’m trying to get better at letting go and some days this looks like me giving myself a 10min time limit of making and posting an IG post and dealing with it not being EXACTLY how I want it to be. My brand is really focused on education and showing people that: 1. Health is not “achieved”. Health is a verb and you are constantly making choices every second that are either contributing or taking away from your health and happiness. 2. Making healthy choices can become a lifestyle but takes willpower and setting yourself up for success 3. Stress has an enormous factor on your health and it’s so important to do things to manage your stress every day
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Well being COVID quartantine and all this may be a little more complicated but we are going to pretend it’s the good ol’ days: Here is my “Best of OC” lists: RESTAURANTS: Marche Moderne Malibu Farms ARC Butcher and Baker COCKTAILS: VACA Social Malibu Farms Fable and Spirit COFFEE: (my house with organic coffee and organic New Barn barista blend almond milk 🙂 ) Daydream Coffee and Surfshop Herst Coffee Coffee Nature Sidecar Donuts DESSERT: Sidecar Donuts Stella Jean’s Ice Cream NATURE/THINGS TO DO: Back Bay walking trails Bike down to the beach (Newport Beach) Crystal Cove SUP in Back Bay Rent a duffy and cruise in Newport harbor Yoga at LXR or RA yoga
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My boyfriend Michael is my biggest supporter, #1 fan and soundboard. He holds space for my recovering workaholicism’s but loves and encourages my passion and work ethic. He has Michelin-star worthy meals waiting for me when I get home from work, helps me see the big picture when I’m zoomed in on the fine print, and pushes me to dream bigger. My parents always taught me that anything I want in life I will have to work my butt off for. They instilled responsibility and work ethic at a young age and had me waking up with an alarm for kindergarten at the age of 6. My dad is a football coach and has always had a “there’s nothing to it but to do it” attitude. They prepared me for real life and didn’t sugarcoat it. When I went to spread my wings and fly away from the snowy Wisconsin tundra sunny California, I was ready and willing to do what it took to make it own my own. Baz Luhrman’s “Everybody’s Free To Wear Suncreen” speech has stuck with me since I first heard it at 16 years old. I recommend every young person to hear it as I feel like it covers a lot of relevant concepts that can help you take life a bit less seriously.