When you own a business, sometimes it becomes hard to separate it from your personal life. Especially, if you run your business from your home office. I asked Bryce Brecheisen, founder of Lightray Business Coaching, located in Los Angeles, on how to deal with that and how to separate the two. Bryce has been doing business coaching and personal development seminars for over 10 years, and I thought he could answer these questions best, having experience with not only business, but life coaching as well.
AK: Starting a business is a very personal matter. I mean, it will affect your personal life more than anything else. What dangers would you warn new business owners of when it comes to their personal life?
BB: Well, you have to be clear about what’s important to you in your personal life. Be clear about how much time you want to spend on particular parts of your personal life, and you have to incorporate that into your overall plan of building your business. If you build a business that’s successful and generates a lot of money, but it gets in the way of, or hurts other parts of your life that are important to you, then you will most likely going to be miserable, and it’s not going to fulfill why you have the business in the first place.
AK: Any tips on how to separate the business from personal life?
BB: I think it’s all about scheduling. Nobody wants to do scheduling, everybody sees a calendar as a restraint vs the real freedom that it is. When I wake up in the morning, I don’t have much concern about what I’m doing that day. Why? Because it’s already mapped out on my calendar. I look at it, and it’s like “paint by numbers”, move from one thing to the next thing, and so on. So scheduling is really freedom and peace of mind. To make scheduling work you have to honor the time, in other words, do what you said you would do at that time. For example, if this hour was intended to make someone in my personal life happy then that is what that time is for, it’s not for checking email or answering business calls.
AK: A lot of new business owners start from their home office, bedroom, garage, you name it. What is the first sign that they need to move into an office space and leave the home nest, so to speak?
BB: It depends on the type of business. Office space is a big cost in any business, so to answer that it’d have to be within the numbers of the company, how much revenue are they generating.
AK: So it depends on the revenue they are generating?
BB: Perhaps. But again, it depends on the type of business. For example, if you are selling physical product, and your entire apartment is filled with product, that might be a sign too. Or if you’ve gotten so busy that now you have four people, even on a part time basis, and your living room is getting really crowded, that may be a sign as well. But mostly you’d really want to look at the finances. A lot of people get a brick & mortar business and move into an office space right away, which is a huge cost that they later on might regret. It can even take a company down.
AK: Do you think a virtual office is a good idea for new business owners? And when is it appropriate to get it set up? From day one, or is there a particular time in the life of a business when it’s time?
BB: I don’t think there’s a particular time, I think virtual offices can be great at any stage. They give the appearance of professionalism - although a lot of people are also savvy to that - but I think it’s still helps to have a business address. Some people are not so great at working at home, so it’s better for them to have some place else where they can work. So virtual offices are definitely a great option for startups, as opposed to having a full time office with a high cost.
AK: What do you recommend to look for when looking for a business location or an office space?
BB: This again will depend on what type of business you have. Obviously, something central to your customers, easy access, and price is something you want to take in consideration. Proximity to your home is helpful as well. You don’t want to spend 10 hours a week just driving to your office. That adds up to 40 hours a month, which is a lot of time in the car. Going back to scheduling, those 40 hours could be put to good use generating money or new business.
AK: Coming back to how business affects personal life, we all know it’s a very stressful environment to own a business. Can you recommend ways to deal with stress? Is one way better than the other?
BB: Well, first you have to distinguish what is it that you are stressed out about? Stress is usually a function of some fear about what’s happened or what’s going to happen in the future. Fear could be the result of operating inside of a disempowering context for what it is that you are doing. Or stress could be simply that you are not managing your time wisely. You are spending too much time in the business, and not managing your health and well-being. It’s easy to forget about and not take in account, when comes to building a company. As a business owner, it’s easy to get “swallowed” by the business, and working 80 hours a week forget to rest and recharge. Taking care of yourself is a critical element to having a successful business.
AK: Being a business coach you’ve probably met a lot of different type of people and business owners. Do you notice a trend in who is most likely to start their own business vs working somewhere as an employee?
BB: Maybe not a trend, but I think these days there are a lot of people who are dissatisfied in the corporate structure, where they work long hours, getting squeezed a little bit, and not making the kind of money they’d want, so it’s appealing to them to become their own boss. It’s somewhat of an illusion to think that having your own company will equal having more time, or more freedom, and people should take that into account before they make the jump.
AK: Any final words of advice for small business owners?
BB: Stay true to who you are. I see it a lot that small business owners have some success and they try to be something, that they really aren’t, rather than just staying true to who they are and what they are offering, and why the business exists in the first place.
Bryce can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 323.547.5451
Anna Kernbaum is the founder/owner and chief creative of Pixellent Design. You can contact Anna directly at email@example.com, or by calling (310) 896-5071