This is a question which comes up more during this festive season than at any other time during the year. Does the mix enhance relationships or potentially risk ruining them forever? Perhaps you worry about that line being crossed at your office Christmas party or the drinks evening you’re hosting for clients?
Well, I’m here to share why it’s not just OK to mix business and pleasure but practically essential! And without it needing a trip to the HR department the morning after!
Let me start by saying I’m not going to be sharing tips on how to tempt your secret crush into the broom cupboard for a sneaky pull of a cracker, sorry! I’ll leave that to the more creative amongst us…
However, what I will say is that as a business owner myself, and a coach who works with other business owners and entrepreneurs, I believe that we ARE our business. And so, how we show up in the world around us should be as authentically us as possible. Especially if you provide services to clients. But even if you sell/create products, we all know that people buy from people! So, the more you can express who the person is behind the business, the more likely you are to appeal to those that resonate with you.
For example, one of my main marketing activities is networking offline. As I provide such a personal service, I believe it’s really important for people to understand who I am. They need to determine whether they would trust in me to share their goals, fears and beliefs in order for me to help them achieve their dreams and aspirations. Showing up regularly for these meetings really does present you in a true light to your fellow networkers. Whilst we all endeavour to showcase the best versions of ourselves, we all have days/weeks/months that are better than others, don’t we! And so being able to truly be ourselves – whether that’s being punctual, sharing the tough times as well as the successes, asking for help or providing support to another in need, or meeting up for a coffee after the meeting – doing what comes naturally to us as an individual gives others an opportunity to see what doing business with us would be like.
Blurring those Professional and Personal Boundaries
I also really enjoy the social aspect of networking. As I often work alone, being part of a networking community provides me with great contacts for sharing information and referring my clients/friends/associates to. It also fills the gap created by leaving the corporate world of teams and colleagues behind. (If you’re familiar with DISC personality and behavioural profiling, ‘I’ is a dominant trait and therefore relationships and people-oriented work is very important to me. I would go stir-crazy being shut away in an office or at home by myself all day!).
I’m proud and honoured to say that many people whom I’ve met through networking over the years have become great friends, as well as clients and business associates and I love nothing more than blurring those professional/personal boundaries with them!
When I work with my clients, regardless of the vision/goals they have for their businesses, I ensure that we address their personal lives too. Why, you may ask? Because if we’re not feeling fulfilled as an individual, if we’re ignoring our personal needs, then this is reflected in our work too. That could be an underlying belief that we’re not good enough, which manifests as holding back from promoting ourselves on social media. Or spending all our time in the business and not enough on pursuits to relax and unwind and then starting to resent the business. And it can all lead to disaster!
We also explore your strengths, beliefs (empowering and limiting) and core values, for example. When we understand these fundamental aspects of ourselves, we gain a deeper awareness of why we operate the way we do (the good, the bad and the not-so-pretty!). It also enables us to ensure our business represents us as accurately as possible. When clients and business associates understand who is behind the business and can resonate with that, they’re more likely to want to work with you.
How’s Your Business and Pleasure Mix?
So, here are some questions for you to consider as we reflect on the past year and look to the new one:
- Are you truly shining through your business?
- Does it represent who you are and what you stand for?
- Would prospective clients be able to understand who the personality behind it is?
- Does your business provide the personal life/balance you need?
If you’ve answered No, or Unsure, to any of the above and would like to find out whether I could help you to mix your business and pleasure in the right ways, get in touch for a free Clarity Call!