As a Maker and Handmade Entrepreneur, it sometimes seems impossible to separate your self from your business. This is not necessarily always a bad thing. The democratization of business and the work-life merger have made entrepreneurship accessible to everyone with a good idea and a mobile device. But while the era of sharp distinction between who you are and what you do is over, it is still vital that you maintain some separation between your self and your business.
This is easier said than done, especially if you work from home as I do. But even if you don't work from home, for Makers and Handmade Entrepreneurs, use of social media makes work follow you everywhere you go no matter what. For example, social media is not optional, and since social media is accessible at all times via your mobile device (allowing you to be everywhere your customers are at all times), it can be tempting to be constantly thinking about your next Instagram post. After all, you can create it anywhere, even at the same time as you prepare dinner, wait for your son's baseball practice to end, or sitting in a rush hour traffic jam.
And let's be honest … if your business is a major support mechanism for your family, there are days when you absolutely MUST think about your business all day, and work your business all day. But even during those times when this level of activity is necessary, on the inside, you still have to separate and nurture the essence of who you are as a person, and this post offers XX ways to help you do that.
How to Separate Your Self From Your Business
- Meditate in the morning. You don't have to call it “meditation,” but whatever you call it, take time first thing in the morning to just “be.”
I recently started using the Calm app every morning to go inside of myself and be separate from everything and everybody. It's a colossal struggle because I am married and I live with two children who use loud noises (fighting over the bathroom, running up and down the stairs frantically looking for the perfect pair of socks or whatever) as a way to help wake themselves wake up in the morning. No matter. I put on my head phones and sit quietly, either on my bed, on a comfortable pillow in the walk-in closet, or at the kitchen table. Where I am is not important as long as I am comfortable and have head phones that will block out everything on the outside.
During these times, I do not think about anything other than my breath and the blessing of being alive. When my mind wanders, I catch myself and stop. I practice the art of focusing on the moment and disciplining myself to release random thoughts and bring my focus back to just living in the moment.
This new practice allows me t start the day outside of everyone else's issues. I block out my kids, my husband, my business, my clients, my bills, my sick relatives … everything. Once I'm done, I can enter the new day as me and not as the person with a list of business goals for the day. It's incredibly freeing, and I wish I had started doing it sooner. If you don't do anything else on this list, do this.
- Schedule everything you can humanly possibly schedule. Earlier this year, I started insisting on having a family meeting every Sunday to review what everyone in my family has to do that week, where they need to be, who they will be with, who is going to take them other and bring them home, what I need to purchase t be ready for the event, etc.
At first, my kids resisted this, which is understandable considering that their worlds revolve around one person (themselves) and mine revolves round five people (2 kids a husband and a business). Once we got past this resistance, magic happened. I began to nail down everything that we needed to be and do in the coming week (and sometimes, the coming month) in about 15 minutes.
It's the perfect meeting because I get to breeze through all of the prioritize quickly while the kids priority is t make the meeting as short as possible. They come prepared (as appropriate for their ages and we map everything out. I color coordinate it on Google calendar. At a moment's glance, I can see gold for my business, pink for myself personally and green for my family. It's a lovely way to separate my one life into compartments that are distinct yet cohesive. This allows me to remain separate from everything and everyone else. Thank you, Google.)
P.S. – If I ever look at the calendar and see nothing in pink, I stop what I am doing and schedule some pink items on my calendar. It's a beautiful thing.
- Separate your personal and your business phone lines and other life details. This has been critical in my quest to make sure I am separate from my business. While many people have switched off their phones altogether, I still maintain a business line and a personal line.
My personal friends and family members use my cell. My business friends (who really are personal friends) use my cell. My non-personal friend clients and customers use the office phone and, once a day, I check my business voice mail and return calls that have not already been taken care of via email. (Many calls are resolved via email or some other method before I check the messages, and this saves everyone time.)
Another thing I do to maintain separation is use the 1Password App where I separate my log in details based on four categories: Donna Maria, Indie Business, and Family (mainly my kids passwords). I use this app a lot to keep from getting password frustrated, and it serves as a consistent mental reminder that I am not my business.
While your life is intertwined with your business, if you do not maintain some separation, you will eventually become a shell of yourself and a nothing more than walking, talking corporation. Not fun for you. Not fun for anyone else.
Your position as a human being who is a CEO is separate and distinct from your positions as a human being. The distinctions may be subtle at times, and the two will often merge for specific projects or certain periods of time. But habitually insisting that your human being side stand on its own is a great way to ensure that your self remains separate from your business.