March 26, 2015

Setting boundaries in my business - Part II


A couple of weeks ago I wrote part I of this blog post in which I shared what I have learned so far from having my own little business and how to balance it with my private life and my own goals and wishes. I knew that I was going to write a second post on this subject soon because at the time I wrote it I felt like I was on a cross road with my business and I needed to make some decisions. Which is what I did and I thought it would be a good idea to share what I did with you all.

I had been struggling with the juggle between spending time on my business and some much needed family time. It is awesome to see my little business grow, no doubt about it. But with more and more custom orders which resulted in a full client schedule I felt the pressure mount as well. It felt like I had to be available 24/7 to deal with every incoming order. Of course that was just my own perception of things. No one demanded from me that I would be available 24/7. And when my mum politely told me that my mind was absent during normal conversations I knew it was time to change things around.

Whenever I get caught up in something that demands my attention I tend to overdo it which results in this absent mind. Even when I'm spending time with my family my mind is easily drawn to work related thoughts. How to tackle a design problem, how to best serve a particular client, which new products I want to work on.... bla, bla, bla. And while my clients might benefit from that, my family does not. And in the end I won't benefit from it myself.

I decided it was time for a few big changes, and this is what I came up with:


# WEEKENDS ARE FOR FAMILY TIME

Up until a couple of weeks ago I worked during weekends as well. Not full days, but still plenty of hours during Saturdays and Sundays. If I really wanted to free my mind from work thoughts I knew I needed the weekend to spend time with my family and do other things. Get work off my mind for two days straight and focus on other things. 

I put the auto-reply on my email on Friday afternoon so my clients will know that I will definitely see and answer their messages. But it can wait till Monday.

I wrote a message on my Etsy shops and in the product listings on Etsy that I'm only available during week days and if someone contacts me during the weekend or purchases a custom made item I will contact them on Monday.

What a relief that was! I so enjoyed my first couple of weeks off from work! I worked in the garden, helped my autistic son with his cooking therapy while being fully present and had time for some much needed walks in nature with my husband.


# I DECIDED TO SPECIALIZE IN THE WORK THAT MAKES MY HEART SING

If you've visited my shops you might have noticed that up until recently I did all kinds of graphic design. From blog layouts, to business card designs, logo designs and branding packages for small businesses. But it got a bit too overwhelming. I got so many requests for all kinds of custom work in all of these fields, it was just more than I could handle.

I gave it a good thought over the last few weeks and have decided to let some services go. My heart really lies with blog design. And while I love creating logos and branding packages, I don't love it as much as creating blog related stuff. So from now on I will only offer the services that make my heart sing. And for the people that are in desperate need of a logo or branding package design, well, there are plenty of other designers on Etsy that offer beautiful stuff as well.

Of course making this decision also meant letting go of the fear that the incoming orders and money would all of a sudden decrease dramatically. So far in my life I've always noticed that if I closed one door behind me a new one in front of me opened. So I let go with trust.


# I SCHEDULE TIME FOR YOGA

I'm not the most athletic person to be honest. I like a good hike in nature or a nice bike ride, but you won't find me in the gym. However, that doesn't mean that my body doesn't need some much needed movement. So what I like to do is do about 20 minutes of yoga three to four times a week. 

I like to do it after the kids have gone to school and my husband has gone to work. Start the day with some stretching before I fold myself in my chair to be behind the laptop for work. But in my craziness over getting all the work done I skipped these 20 minutes a little too often.

In the last few weeks I've picked up my routine again and now start work half an hour later. Well, what's that half hour on a day really? It makes me happy and everyone benefits from that!


If you read this post and have a business or busy blog yourself, what is it that you do to keep your sanity? I would love to know!

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