This morning I was attending the Savvy Saved Women Entrepreneurs Virtual Summit, and a question was raised by an attendee in the chat box, “Can you get too personal when running an online business?” The attendee meant if we, as entrepreneurs, should separate our business from our personal lives, keeping personal things OUT of our business.
For some people, that answer would be yes. For me, it would be no. My business and my brand ARE me, Beth Jones. My business is simply one piece of the whole of this life that God has given me. God is my priority, then my family, then my business and all else. My personal life affects my business and vice versa.
My family is both affected by and involved in my business. Often when you see a video of me, the video person behind my smart phone recording it is our youngest daughter Leah. My husband Ray is my business sounding board, my wise counsel, and
the money bags financial backer/adviser of my business. Our oldest daughter Heather and my sister Maria are my greatest encouragers.
My blog is filled with stories about my family. In fact, I recently posted this cartoon on my Facebook fan page with this comment: “My family realizes by now that EVERYTHING is potential content for my blog!”
This is so true. My obsession with recording intimate moments of my family’s lives began when my father-in-law Charles gave Ray and me a dinosaur-sized video recorder when Leah was born, so we could send him videos on VHS tapes (he lives in another state and couldn’t visit that often).
We have literally HOURS of videos of Leah as a baby laying on the pink blanket, the brightly colored blanket, the soft white blanket, cooing, sucking her thumb, sleeping, and yes, even spitting up on Heather’s shoulder, lol.
In one video, you can even see Ray’s hairy underarm as he, shirtless, reached over to stroke Leah’s cheek. In another video, Heather turned the camera on me, with her following me around the house and I was the one, having a bad hair day and now annoyed and frowning, saying, “STOP it, Heather!” She was simply giving me payback.
Despite that video, I still didn’t learn that my family protested every mundane moment of their lives being recorded for all the world to gawk at. Fast forward many years, when I began my business about a year ago and technology was changing at the speed of light. I could now record my family on my FLIP recorder and my smart phone at the push of one button – and use it as GREAT content for my business! Or at least I think it’s great. (I hope you like it, too!) At least by now, my family has learned to tolerate the obsessive picture-taking, video recording, and blog-writing about their lives.
My open-as-a-book friend Susan Evans commented on my Facebook picture, “I told my husband that if he wanted to know what was going on in our family, to read my blog!” Exactly.
No, I won’t separate my personal life (i.e., my faith in Christ, my family, my friends, etc.) from my business, because they are such an important part of my life. God and they truly are the inspirational material for my writing, speaking, and coaching.
That doesn’t mean that I believe people should “air dirty laundry” (i.e., such as the arguments Ray and I have sometimes, like the one yesterday over who spends the most money – we can have some doozies because we’re both hard-headed and stubborn!). But I do believe that people should be real and authentic, sharing themselves, who they and their families really are, as a part of their business.
Letting people into your personal life, getting a glimpse of you and those around you, is what builds the Know, Like, Trust (K, L, T) factor. It makes you more real and more approachable to your readers.
Let them see you are a flesh-and-blood person, with real problems, real pain, and real struggles. That doesn’t mean to bombard your readers and listeners with all the gory details of your husband getting hurt at work from lifting a heavy patient or your car breaking down on the highway when you’re on your family dinner night.
After all if your life is just a big mess, why should they follow or listen to you to help them? They need to see that you have something positive, encouraging, and helpful to offer them, that will solve their problems – and it’s important that you are walking the talk in your own life.
But let your personal life be a part of your business. People relate to personal.