Saturday, July 30, 2011

Separating Your Business Life from Personal Life

I have read that it is impossible for home-based entrepreneurs to keep business life and personal life separate.  To the extent that no business or job can be kept entirely isolated from personal or family affairs, I would agree. But it is essential for the success of your business and well-being of your personal life that you make every effort to keep the two apart.

If you have a family, your home-based business is going to affect it in some way and vice versa. If your business is only in the preliminary stages, waste no time in bringing in certain family members, making clear to them what your plans are and how they might affect family life.  A spouse should be in your planning from the start.  You may want to postpone discussing ventures with young children until you're ready to launch the business, but you should talk with older children early on.

Moreover, you must make it clear to  your family, friends, neighbors, etc that although you will be working from home in your new business, you are indeed working, and during work hours you are not available for chores, baby-sitting, ball-playing, shopping, shuttle service, or anything else not related to your craft business.

For some baffling reason, people tend to think that a person who works from home isn't really working.  Consequently, you can count on them to try to impose on you in every imaginable way.  Friends, neighbors, and even family members will think nothing of phoning or dropping in during business hours just to chat, when they would never dream of doing such a thing to a chef, a physician, a teacher, or an auto mechanic, who works away from their home.

Sometimes home-based entrepreneurs get what they ask for- no respect.  I've heard some delight in the fact that they're able to work at home all day in robe and slippers.  I can't imagine taking my business seriously, or expecting others to, while lounging around all day in bed clothing.  I certainly can't entertain or meet with clients so attired.  And what are drop-ins and coffee klatchers to think if I greet them at the door in pajamas and try to convince them I'm busy?

Of course, I might catch up on paperwork late at night in the bedroom.  I often see too early-morning phone calls during my first cup of coffee, before I've showered and donned my work duds.  When it's time for business, however, I am dresses for it.

It's also important for your business image and peace of mind that you establish a business routine.  You must have operating days and hours, and you must make these known to family, friends, and neighbors.  Otherwise, they'll be all to quick to assume you're not really working.

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