I had a different blog planned for this week… way different. But then LIFE happened in a big way. Oh my gosh, it got me good. And it also got me thinking that there are so many of us in the same boat… how do you keep your brand in tact in the midst of personal dramas?! This is something I used to struggle with. And although the uncertainty still affects my anxiety levels, I have learned a lot from my own experience, so I’m going to share how I recommend managing personal dramas professionally, whilst running a business.
Business has changed ladies
First up, let’s acknowledge the incredible way that doing business has changed. It means something different now. It’s not just men in black suits going to offices everyday with briefcases. Working 8am – 5pm (or longer!). It’s not fancy lunches wooing corporate clients (although I’m sure that still happens). It’s not all shaking hands and making deals over beers and burgers. Business means SO MANY THINGS these days. And its high time we accept it, acknowledge it and do it our way.
Managing the unpredictable
Being a stay at home Mum running a business is a true balancing act (I notice a recurring theme here… go and check out Mim Dart’s guest blog about balance in biz and motherhood!). Let’s look at the priorities list: babies, health, self-care, emails, projects, customer service, banking, admin, content creation, dinner menus, grocery shopping, invoicing, school lunches, dirty bathrooms, paint stains and let’s not forget… sleep. That’s not even in order. Because when you’re running a business from home, around your family, it is challenging to define your priorities and put clear boundaries in place. You need to present a composed, professional front to keep your business running and maintain customer satisfaction. On the other hand, you need to feed your family, comfort your child and spend time with your husband (along with all the other things). Most of the time things plod along okay. You keep your head above water…
And then… all of a sudden… you have to rush to hospital. Or gastro descends. All hell breaks loose and it becomes incredibly difficult to manage.
What’s the answer?
So what’s the answer here? Well, I don’t claim to have all the answers, but there is one key thing I’ve learned in my now extensive experience of integrating life and business. It’s quite simple really. The number one thing to keep in mind is COMMUNICATION. Honest, clear, gentle, gratitude-based communication. We are all human. Nobody expects you to be a robot. You can’t possibly keep all of the plates spinning all the time. If you can’t meet a deadline or produce what you’ve agreed to, either find an alternate solution or communicate your situation as early as possible. You don’t need to hand over all of your gory, personal details. Just be honest and kind.
Something I’ve learned is that empathy is openly available from most people. And those that don’t offer it…they are not your people.
So when life happens in a big way for you, take a breath, write down a list of your priorities and COMMUNICATE with your audience, clients and customers. Give yourself time to manage what needs to be managed, and you will be so much better prepared to serve your customers… even if it is a little later than you had planned.
And did I mention sleep? If its important enough for elite sports men and women to include rest and recovery in their list of essential tools in order to maintain constant levels of high performance, then its important enough for us! Be kind to yourself. Give yourself time to rest and recover. Remember things always look easier with fresh eyes!