Personal VS Professional: How to Handle Business Like A Boss

Depending on whether you’re Gen X, Gen Y, a Boomer or a Millenial, you’re likely to respond to the great debate between dividing the personal and the professional (or not!) with an emphatic, “It’s the right thing to do”, or, “Yawn, what a bore, separation is for squares,” or even a, “Okay, but how good are these privacy settings?”

Bosses, beware: TMI and oversharing is a real thing. So is the risk of offending investors. On the other hand, failing to blend the two could spell a lukewarm brand or concern about boundaries with the co-worker who is also your brother-in-law.

The practice of separating the two identities, business and personal, comes down to this: Do what feels right for your brand, your personality, your company and your vision. Just take a page out of a good social media guide and don’t do anything you wouldn’t want your grandkids to marvel at. If you’re still not sure where to toe the line (or how to even set it up), we’ve got some pointers for you, below.

1. Branding

If you’re planning to keep a division between professional and personal, there are a few things you’ll want in place.

First off, set up a logo and company-wide style guide. The logo should reflect the main employer branding aesthetic, colors and values. The style guide, on the other hand, should be spelling out exactly who the audience is, what the tone of the language used for content is, what kinds of content the company will focus on and key phrases.

These aspects of branding — content and graphics — will help your audience put a face to the business and build a sense of loyalty. Choose colors, fonts, and graphics that reflect the aesthetic and value of the product. Choose models that do the same, if the product or service is a luxury, clothing or beauty item.

2. Relationships

Managing relationships that are personal in the workplace is never an easy thing to do. It might get even harder if the company is smaller or there is family involved.

Both personal and professional relationships are about one thing: boundaries. Whether you feel comfortable sharing your personal life, opinions, self-expression or ideas at work is dependent on a lot more than if you have no filter or not.

It also depends on how long you’ve known your other co-workers, what kind of company it is, the sort of internal culture it is trying to build and even the specific HR policies in your country or state of operations.

And this is why we come back to boundaries. Boundaries are important in any relationship, be it co-worker or spouse. So figure yours out, set them up and communicate these if they’re questioned or transgressed. You don’t need to be aggressive or confrontational. A simple, open and honest approach when asking someone to respect your boundaries is fine.

3. Time Management

So you’ve decided to embrace the two-in-one deal. Great! One big thing that’s going to be a casualty of this decision (besides your grandma, who does know how to use Twitter, finding out you curse like a sailor), is time.

Specifically, time management. You’ll want to find a tool that allows you to organize both work projects and tasks. This applies to you and your employees. So consider apps that handle all those features in 1 place, like MoneyPenny. Having employee time tracker, project and tasks progress tracking and invoicing will help you organize your business. And we know that great organization will make your day more efficient.

But it could be a paper day planner or a business planner. It’s less about making a to-do list than it is about getting the right things done during the day.

4. Social Media

Here’s the long and short of it: either you can allow yourself (if you’re a solopreneur) or your employees (if your outfit is a little less lean), to share and speak on one account or have a separate “brand” account and a separate “personal” account.

If you’re building your own business and you love what you do, some of your Instagram photos are bound to be about your triumphs, laughs, or wins at work. If you run a pool company for example and you’re about to close your fifth pool of the day and you’re exhausted, your caption is likely going to be sharing that.

But, wait! That’s a potential plug for the professional account, right? If you’re maintaining two social media accounts, the golden rule is to consistently post, with the same frequency, on the business or brand account. That way, your personal account can be peppered with a few “work shots” — or a lot.

5. Don’t Cross The Streams!

Remember that famous line from Ghostbusters? Well, they were on to something. If you don’t want chaos to break loose and risk getting slimed, keep your work functions separate from your personal ones. Establish a different system for work and life. How do you do this?

Identify major parts of your biz and home life that are the same. For example, you may have a business budget and a personal one. You may have a major work project and a weekend side hobby. You may need to manage appointments with clients and then your dentist.

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