The 21st Century has evolved into the technology revolution and we now live in a 24/7 culture that is always “switched on” and attached to our devices. Being able to stay connected around the clock means that what was once a strong line between work and home, has now merged into one and this can have a dramatic effect one way or the other.
As I’ve matured with age, my priorities have shifted. In my 20’s I was passionate about life, and work; making mistakes along the way. In my 30’s I tried to settle down, keeping my work and home life very separate. Now I’m in my 40’s, and I have the same passion for my work, but I am married, with a baby on the way.
My focus has shifted over the years, with my happiness, and the happiness of my family taking priority and for this to happen, I had to integrate my business life, with my personal life to give me a work-life balance lifestyle I was finally happy with.
I am going to be sharing with you a few things that have changed in my life recently, as well as some quotes from various business leaders on how they have integrated their business and personal lives to create a lifestyle they are happy with.
What has changed for me
Firstly; I have my 1st baby due in February. This alone means that I have to be extremely selective with events I speak at, and clients I work with over this period, because I will need the flexibility to be a father to my soon-to-be-born daughter and make sure I still give 100% energy and focus while at work, which will contribute to a great work-life balance.
So I can spend more time with her, I have moved my business to an office at home and only have virtual assistants help me manage and grow my business.
I have recently launched a new website; Think Digital First which is an academy for online training courses. Whilst I have evergreen versions of my courses, I do run them with live training sessions on a regular basis. This brought up the very difficult question of what time I should be running this course. I knew it had to be outside of work hours because those attending my course are small businesses who are time-poor, and will need to focus on other tasks during the working day.
I decided on running my live sessions at 7pm. I chose this time after running a survey and it allowed me to spend time with my family before the session, and after the session whilst also being suitable for those taking the course.
Something else that has changed for me is working abroad. I recently worked with MBA students at AUST in Beirut for 5 days delivering my certified digital marketing course and this was strictly a work trip, so my wife did not join me. Looking to the future, this is something that will change as I want to have my family with me to enjoy new cultures and experiences, especially as I’m going back to Beirut in April, but for a much longer period of time.
I spent a lot of time researching and asking my audience for advice on integrating my personal life with my work life, and found one particular quote from Mark Weinberger, which I found extremely helpful, and if you are in the same position as me, you will find helpful too.
Mark Weinberger, CEO, EY
“At any moment you are going to feel guilty about what you’re not doing, like today I’m missing day 2 of the World Economic Forum in Europe to move my daughter into her dorm in USC. Afterwards, I got hundreds of emails: Not a single person remembered the terrific speech I gave, but everybody remembered I went home for my daughter,” he said.
“It brought home to me how powerful leading by example is. You can have all the initiatives you want saying you can have flexibility, but until some of the real leaders make the choice to choose family, I don’t think people feel like they have real permission to do it” he adds.
2017 and beyond
Before starting the new year, I looked back at the wins, loses and key take-aways to help me and my business grow and understand that happiness is key to success and never forgetting to celebrate all wins, big or small. This helped me prepare a simple but effective plan for 2017 that I shared with the team (who are all virtual).
This was broken down and defined in 7 simple sections over 4 pages.
Roles & responsibilities
Regardless of the fact that each of my team members work virtually, they still need to have a clear focus of who they are in the business and what is expected from them.
The products & services I offer
I had to sit down, and look at all of my various revenue avenues. This includes being a Professional speaker, certified trainer (online and offline), paid brand advocacy and being a business coaching.
My target customers for each product / service
Just like every other business, I to have to define my target customer. For each product/service I provide, there is always a slight shift in WHO my target customer is, even if it’s very small.
My goals for 2017
Goals are an important part of business, and for 2017 I have created goals for my turnover, followers, website visits and leads generated as well as my personal KPI’s.
Marketing initiatives broken down into 3 areas:
I then looked at my marketing initiatives, which I broke down into three different areas;
- Organic search
- How am I going to be generating organic traffic, and what do I need to do to achieve this?
- Paid Search
- How much am I going to spend on PPC, and how am I going to measure my results?
- What businesses am I working with, and how am I marketing to their audience? Is it through webinars, writing content, speaking at an event?
Daily, weekly and monthly actions
Within my team, there is always a priority list, and this will change on a daily basis. If something important comes up, this will take priority and you need to make sure that your team are prepared for this.
What can we be doing better
Nothing is ever perfect in business, but always keep track of progress and things that you can do better.
All of the above will have a focus on the first 90 days marketing, with strong sales targets and tracking all analytics, and measuring for success.
Moving into 2017 I have grown my team with a big personal goal of mine to reduce the amount of emails I deal with on a daily basis. To do this we have being using technology tools like Trello for collaborative communication, Highrise as our CRM and Zapier helping us with the integrations, to save time and be more productive.
I would love to hear about your struggles with business and personal life balance, and how you have found a happy medium of a work-life balance.