You’re in a relationship with your business, that’s a fact- love it or hate it. You’re investing serious time and energy into it, you’re making long-term plans, and you absolutely want to see it flourish. Relationships can be beautiful, supportive, healthy, and successful AF when things go right, but we’ve all seen the flip side where things get messy, toxic, and totally boundary-less.
Here’s how to keep loving your business so much you’ll want to keep putting a ring on its finger…
Do’s for Dating Your Business:
Have reasonable expectations:
That launch might not hit $500K (yet) but it might hit $100K and that’s an achievement that needs to be honored. Just like every person you’ve ever matched with on Tinder, you have to have reasonable expectations and allow yourself to be excited by what it is- not upset with what it isn’t.
Honor Your Boundaries:
Let’s imagine, for the sake of science, that you started dating with the strongest of boundaries- you knew who you were and you knew what you wanted. Over time, the line crept a little further and further beyond what you originally felt comfortable with. One year in, and you’re picking up after them, planning every date yourself, and managing every piece of mental gymnastics that it takes to keep the relationship going strong. In your mind, it’s just how things are done between you two and there’s nothing abnormal about it. Your besties finally get sick of seeing you overwhelmed and exhausted, so they have the honor of reminding you that IT’S NOT NORMAL.
That’s right, your threshold for discomfort has increased over the time of running a business and wearing every hat, what’s “normal” to you might not be acceptable to the life you’re looking to lead. So in the context of your business, audit your habits, pull your head above water, reaffirm & realign your boundaries as an act of love to your future self & business.
Take Conflict in Stride:
Just like a healthy partnership being between two whole people making a greater form, YOU are a whole, complete entity and your business is a function of your life – an important one, but not the only one. You are not your business. Your identity exists separately. If someone has a business complaint, it’s not a personal attack nor should it be treated as one (which I know.. is HARD).
Pretend you’re Jeff Bezos and someone wants to return the item they bought from Amazon because it wasn’t the right size. How should he handle that? With compassion, swift action, through process & professionalism.
Don’t assume conflict, feedback, or even complaints are the end of the world… because they aren’t.
Keep things spicy:
“Woah, Shannon, this isn’t that kind of blog- is it?” 😳 No, this is rated G for Good Business, but you should be looking out for ways to keep that fire lit under your business’s behind. In your love life, it’s imperative that you create new memories together and keep yourself open to exciting activities (sky diving date night? I’m in). So just as you work to make keep your relationship fresh, do so with your business. Sign up for that event or mastermind that you never expected to attend, invite a local business to collaborate on something fun, ask your business BFFs to join a group chat just for people in separate niches to connect, or schedule a photoshoot and feel extra glam as you snap some fresh content.
Essentially, don’t shy away from opportunities that will shake up your energy as a CEO and allow you to feed good things back into your business with extra zest.
Don’ts for Dating Your Business
Don’t Expect the Same Thing Through Different Seasons:
For all intents and purposes let’s say your business is that person you were so excited to match with. You started out by flirting, kept conversations light, only worried about finding the perfect outfit, and felt like every little detail was incredible (they winked at me… I’m in love!). Then you move to a more serious dating phase, you see each other more often, you’re in a safe space to vent about your feelings, and they even reveal their dorky side when they show you their collection of super-niche comic books that completely light them up (you love it). By the time you get to the more committed chapter, they know you wear a nighttime retainer and prefer to spend Friday nights binge-watching the latest Hulu docuseries while waiting for your sushi to be dropped off at your door.
Each of these phases has something special to it- whether it’s the constant butterflies of a new fling or the unbreakable trust that comes from being comfortable with your person. However, you can’t expect that the person you love at year 5 will be the exact same person from month 6. Give your business, and your partner, the room to expand and evolve in wonderful ways you never knew were possible.
This might look like: jumping on the latest social media platform even if it’s not what you first imagined you’d do as a CEO, growing your business with a project that you-from-last-year would have scoffed at, or being open-minded enough to say “yes” to a major pivot in a direction that you never expected would be right for you.
Don’t Insulate Yourself:
We’ve all known someone who gets into a relationship and is suddenly just a memory of friendship, unanswered texts, declined invitations, and a whole lot of the “sorry I can’t, I rather hang out with my S.O.” line. Then when things go south, your old bestie pops up from the bubble and realizes how deep they got into relationship wonderland. Owning a business can be a 24/7-365 type of deal, but you’ve got to do the work to stave off the over-insulated bubble phenomenon as a CEO. Join a mastermind group, say yes to coffee with a peer, schedule in time to socialize without technology, and make a serious effort to have clear perspective on what’s happening in the world/your industry.
Don’t Settle for Something Toxic:
I’m not telling you to dump your biz, but rather to keep an eye out for things that might be sucking energy and ability out of it. A demanding routine that really isn’t sustainable and leaves you crawling to the espresso machine just one more time each afternoon? Get support through outsourcing or a dedicated assistant who can help you find balance again. That one client that just doesn’t respect your work and keeps you up all night in worry? Address it head-on and make a plan that protects your ability to serve others. In your business, just like in other relationships, don’t be okay with things that are inherently not okay.
Don’t Commit Without a Plan:
Does anybody just randomly pop the question without having at least brought up the word “marriage” with their partner these days? Create a foundation for those big commitments by having discussions prior, allowing all parties involved to know the general direction of the relationship. Of course, we can’t plan everything and it’s important to be able to pivot quickly, but don’t let yourself roll through entrepreneurship without a general idea of where you want your business to go. Do you see yourself writing a book in 5 years? Would you like your business to sell 1:many one day or do you love the 1:1 approach? In the perfect world, what would your business do for your quality of life?
Ask yourself (and your special someone 😉) those big questions to get a general idea of what direction everything is going.
Don’t Compare Your Business Relationship Online:
There’s a longstanding joke about how only unhappy couples brag about their relationship online, and that the happiest couples quietly enjoy their success while rarely gushing about what they’ve got. The accuracy of this is certainly up for debate, but it’s a good reminder that sometimes the spotlight a person shines on their business might not illuminate the entirety of the situation. Seeing those “6 figure entrepreneur who only works 5 hours a week” posts are frustrating with a capital F when you’re putting in WORK to make everything runs smoothly or are simply in a sprint period. Don’t let what you see on social media about other people’s entrepreneurial journey make you think less of what you have. If there’s an opportunity to learn or connect with experts who can help you have a better experience, take it… but don’t let comparison drain joy from what you have going on with your own business.
Take these Do’s and Don’t and prepare to fall in love with your business all over again. Want to looove the process of content creation? See my latest IGTV for a FREE Lesson on How to Batch Film Video Content!
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