Even if this business is, for now, run by you, yourself and you, it’s important to do what you can to separate yourself from the business, to see it as an entity unto itself. Without question, it is an entity infused with your values, your vision, your objectives, your actions, etc. I’m not suggesting that you change that, or that you can. But I am suggesting that, as with a child, if you don’t separate You from It, it will create some problems down the road. What can happen when you don’t?

  • I’ve seen people – especially women – devalue their time and services because they, unfortunately, devalue their own worth. Consequently, they swim around in guilt, over identify with the client’s financial issues and give away lots and lots of their intellectual property and/or time.
  • It’s much harder to “grow it up.” Unless you are a systems person, written policies and procedures are likely to lag behind growth. If you are really good at what you do (and I bet you are) you’re sure that no one can do things nearly as well as you can. Letting go and letting others is likely to be an excruciatingly painful idea. The busier you get the harder you work, and the harder you work the more difficult it is to stop and train others.
  • Lack of perspective makes it harder to make good and timely decisions. If a prospect says no, you take it personally. If something isn’t working you can’t always see it, or not soon enough. You’re less likely to implement important checks and balances, or install methods to measure success and failure. And failure! You’re doomed. Without perspective, if “it” fails you failed.
  • You run a high risk of forfeiting the rest of your life. Think family, friends, down time and hobbies. The longer you are in business, and the busier you are, the harder it is to remember who else you are. By the time some “life event” comes along to give you that much needed perspective, it’s too late. You and your business are at risk.

If you see that you have over identified with your business, I offer you a short list of actions you can take right away to establish it as a separate identity with a life and purpose of its own. Some of these actions may be no-brainers to you, as in already done, but I’ve met enough self-employed people to know that some have not yet taken the most obvious, yet important, steps.

  • Get a dba (doing business as) that is not in your personal name (in many places you have to do this first, before the business checking account). Or create an LLC or Corporation.
  • Register your business with your City or County
  • Open a business checking account
  • Refer to your business in the third person
    (Don’t say I do this, that and the other thing, but my business does – or offers – this, that and the other thing.)
  • Prepare a simple business plan
  • Rent a P.O. Box for your business

For your Contemplation

What are some ways you have separated your identify from that of your business? Are you willing to share them in comments?

What are some ways you over-identify with your business?

Do you take “rejection” personally?

Do you spend so much time on it you’ve lost touch with the rest of your life?

If yes, how have you addressed this? Would you be willing to share in comments?