SMALL BUSINESS OWNERS! When you build your business, remember to be personal, authentic and bring some of your own life into your ‘marketing’ on social media. I’ve been a direct response copywriter and have built 12 successful companies online in the last 20 years. The #1 thing that has separated me from the competition through the years is my ability to bring the ‘personal side’ of things into the online world.

Look at it this way: If we as business owners online had a brick and mortar store, we’d get to know people, have conversations with our customers and we’d do life together! Especially with customers who come back over and over again. But that doesn’t mean you get so personal that there are no boundaries.

Friendly but not familiar is key.

The people on my social media followings feel like my BFFs. It’s an honor to connect with over 2 million people! But during the course of the day, as a CEO, the corporation that I founded and own pays me a salary because I bring value to the marketplace and the company. In other words: IF I don’t work, I don’t eat. Plain and simple.

As well, just because I have a lot of customers as online friends, that doesn’t mean I’m a doctor, accountant, therapist, attorney, or available for pop-ins to my office anytime people would love to say ‘Hi” or stop by for coffee. Can you imagine? I’d never get anything done! (grin)

God has positioned me in business. He expects for me to work and give it my best. Business is where the supernatural happens the most for me, and I’m able to shift nations and impact a lot of lives. But that doesn’t mean I have 900 hours in the day, and can be all things to all people. One of the things I see small business owners doing that is holding back their profits, company growth and even their personal growth, is they try to be everything to everyone. It’s illogical and impossible.

When we, as entrepreneurs, can come up with solutions, have the gift of influence and can make things happen, people will many times think we can do and be many things for a lot of people. If we’re not careful, we’ll be sucked up into a vortex of chaos and distraction.

Here are my BEST “Boundaries For Business tips for small businesses:

1. Have office hours. Even if you work at home, have hours when you work, when you play, when you relax, make phone calls and run errands. Everything CANNOT bleed together in your life. I don’t care if you can do three things at one time. Most times it’s not productive or efficient, it’s a delusion.

2. Have a work location. If you work at home, designate an office space in a room, or the corner of a room, where you make the magic happen! I built my first $4.5 million dollar company at a desk that sat in my dining room. Then when I had to do more phone calls, I had a desk in the corner of my bedroom. I didn’t work 24/7 just like I didn’t sleep 24/7. There was a place to work, and when I wasn’t working (remember #1) the computer was turned off, the books closed, the phone turned off. In an age of social media, with small devices that can connect us all day long, if you’re not creating some boundaries, you’ll LOSE the freedom you’ve been craving!

3. Protect your ‘space’. As an entrepreneur you are most likely creative, inspired and can do multiple things at one time. Just because you want to be open, authentic and real doesn’t mean that your door should be open at all times to just anyone. This was ESPECIALLY hard for me when I worked at home. People thought that because I was at home, I should be able to babysit, be available for an hour if they stopped in, able to stop what I was doing when they stopped by, and some friends and family members even got mad when I said I was working. Here’s the real clincher, if you’re not careful, people will think you’re available to let them pick your brain anytime they have an idea. Your consulting is a service of your company. Stop giving away your time, being available for everyone and don’t give in to people pleasing. You’ll NEVER be successful doing that!

4. Keep your spouse as most important, next to God. If you have built a business and your spouse isn’t, they can feel alone, slighted and even rejected when you are always talking about work. My husband didn’t work with me for the first 18 yrs of my career. Now he does. We work hard to not talk about business all day long, we know that there are times when he’s busy working and so am I! Date nights are not open for client time and client time doesn’t get interrupted for date nights. This is similar to #3, but even more so.

5. Create a place where you can thrive ! If you can’t work at a coffee shop than stop trying to do it! If you are distracted at your kitchen table, in your room or outside on your deck, who cares what someone else’s romantic work space is. YOU create what works for you! Some people need a standup desk in order to create! Others need music playing so that they can focus. Others can’t even accomplish anything unless they have headphones on. Do what works for you. And don’t judge what someone else is doing! When it’s time to work, WORK! Do it without regrets and take it seriously. If Apple offered you a $250 per hour job, you’d get real serious about your work hours, work space and boundaries. Do that as well with your own business.

Owning your own company and your own time is a wonderful thing. It takes a lot of work, and it’s worth the sacrifice. Boundaries give life! They release us from situations that feel like prison. Create the kind of life you LOVE!

With love,