When you own a home-based craft business, chances are that your work and personal life will spill over into one another fairly often. Let’s face it, your craft business is very likely based on something that used to be a hobby of yours, which turned into a passion, and now has become a profitable enterprise. So how do you un-blur the lines between your work life and home life and create the boundaries you need in order to stay sane? Read on for some suggestions on how to balance work and home!
Have Separate Email Addresses for Work and Personal
If you don’t already have separate work and personal email accounts, stop reading this email, go to either Yahoo.com or Gmail.com and set up a separate account (both services are free). This is crucial to balance work and home. Nothing will cause you to feel tangled in a mixed web of work/personal life like emails coming into one account at all hours about all sorts of things. If you currently only use one email account, you know how frustrating it can be when you want to look at the new family photos your best friend just sent over and you happen to see an email from a customer wondering when his order will be arriving. Of course, it is important to address all customer concerns, but you need to have a specific address for your craft business. Then, when you are looking through personal emails, it can be a more enjoyable process and won't turn into a work task.
Behold the Auto-responder!
The auto-responder has become a great friend for my craft business and I began using it to help balance work and home in my own life. One night, my husband and I were heading out to a show, and I was making us late because I was answering emails from customers before we left. I was afraid they would think I had forgotten about them, yet it was almost 8:00 on a Saturday night! In order to create a boundary, I set up an auto-responder that thanks the sender for the email and lets them know that I answer emails between the hours of 9:00 am and 6:00 pm Pacific Time, Monday through Friday. Of course, you should change the hours and the message to suit your needs, but this simple step alone will start to create a healthy boundary for your business and personal lives.
Have a Business Free Zone
If your craft business is based at home, you very likely have your business spread throughout your home. If you are one of the many crafters and makers who have their craft tools on the kitchen table, their shipping supplies all over the garage, business cards spilling out of the family desk, and supplies coming out of every drawer, trust me you are not alone. If this sounds like you, then in order balance work and home, you really need to have a business-free zone. This certainly doesn’t need to be an entire room, but maybe just your cozy chair in the corner of the family room where you can go to read and won’t feel guilty looking at that ball of yarn for the project you haven’t had time to start yet. For me, I have found that my bedroom and patio were the easiest places to create a craft business-free zone, and so when I need to get away from it all, I can either retreat to my room for a bit, or sit out on my patio to get some fresh air. It doesn’t matter where you choose to have your craft business-free zone, just make sure you create a space where you can get away for a bit, even if it means just changing which chair you are sitting in.
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Creating special family time without any talk of craft business is an absolute must! Just because you are passionate about your business and love talking about it, creating it, and living it, does not mean your family feels the same. Be sure to create special time with those you love, where your craft business won’t be a factor at all. Whether you have a spouse, kids, friends, or roommates, chances are, if you live with others, they are dealing with quite a bit having a craft business run out of the home. Show them that you cherish them and their willingness to let you live your dream by making sure you are 100% present when you spend time with them. Just because your home is where your business lives, doesn’t mean that it needs to take up all your time. By creating special time with those who are dear to you, you will help balance work and home.
Remember, having balance in all things is important. As a home-based craft business owner, it may be harder for you to balance work and home than your average nine-to-fiver, but it does not need to be impossible. With a little care and ingenuity, you can certainly create a balance in your work and personal lives that will keep your mind fresh for your business and keep your relationships with those around you healthy and strong.