For while I have been searching for a way to explain the concept that my personal and professional lives are hopelessly and wonderfully intertwined. The blur stems from the fact that it has been almost 14 years since I collected my last pay check from the man. Since then I have managed to stay continuously self-employed. So, below I have collected some not so random thoughts on the subject of successfully blending personal and professional life.
Let me start by saying that I simply live. If others choose to draw lines around the personal and professional aspects of my life so be it. I figured out a long time ago I can’t and won’t define where one aspect ends and another begins, thus “the blur.”
For example, in April of 2008 I signed up for a Twitter account. The original purpose was to follow the virtual server provider for my company ColorMetrix, because they report serious outages and downtime utilizing this exciting new technology. Today my most active social circle is people I have met through Twitter at Tweetups. Sure there is potential to do business with some or all of these people, now or in the future, but that is not the way I look at it.
Social Networking: The group of people I have met through Twitter is awesome and amazing. Some have helped me with my social media strategy (and I with theirs) without even really knowing. The conversations are general and while some border on business speak others are just fellow Twitter people explaining how they use Twitter which sparks ideas in my mind.
“Always On” Mentality: Perhaps a self-employed entrepreneur has no choice but to constantly be on his/her game and on the lookout for opportunity – antenna always up, radar always on. While immersed in and enjoying pop culture I am always thinking, is there a business opportunity here that my unique set of knowledge skills and abilities could address?
Writing: I write from the heart because I thrive on personal development and helping others. I have lots of life and business experience (learning from my mistakes) and if by sharing that with you I save you a little wear and tear along the way I am grateful for the opportunity to do so. My writings often intermingle personal and professional examples and I write most of my blog posts for anyone, not just my printing industry colleagues.
Collecting Favors and Friends: Friends and business associates (and those I am not sure how to categorize) call, email and tweet me at all hours. When I can help you I will. The understanding is simple, when I need help you will return the favor with your expertise and neither one of us will abuse this privilege (at some point it’s business). I utilize skills I have learned and mastered in business to help friends, and opposite is also true.
In short, I am who I appear to be. So, when you see me at a social gathering and I shift gears from talking about the kids and last night’s game to a full on business conversation, please don’t assume I have some cold calculated agenda. I have achieved my level of success by not thinking in straight lines and compartmentalized spaces. On the other hand, at a serious business event I often take a few minutes to step aside with a colleague to ask how the family is. Most of the people who I do business with have become my friends, and I care.