For awhile now, I have tried to create "regular" business hours for myself. Work starts at 10a, take an hour lunch at 1p, go back to work until 6p. This lasted a good week, then my "personal" life began to weave into business hours again. (Did I mention I work from home most of the time?). I've read many articles and blogs stating how important it is to separate business from personal life. In some ways, that makes sense. I know, personally, it's easy to continue working until midnight, "because that project is so close to being done". I also know that I can put blinders on, when I dive into something with my whole self and forget to look up and all of a sudden the whole day has gone by and I realize I have not eaten all day. This is not considered healthy behavior. Although, I will say it doesn't happen on a consistent basis. For the most part (aside from peak times of the year), I like to think I'm pretty good at balancing business, personal, family, and friends.
With all that being said, I had a realization recently - the business I'm in is not a "regular" business. It is a lifestyle, my lifestyle. Herbalist isn't just a hat I put on while I'm making Rooted Remedies products, or while I'm wildcrafting. More often than not, my mind is filled with plants and all the ways I get to work with them. I cook and bake with them. I'm consistently giving advice on wellness and how to incorporate herbs into someone's routine. Tea is one of my favorite liquids to drink. Being out in nature is one of the places I feel my best, centered self and I love sharing that with my friends and family. And, I also happen to be the owner of an apothecary, where I get to surround myself with some of the things I love most.
The more I tried to fit into "regular" business hours and a structure of what I thought was the healthy way to do things, the more I struggled. There is no one right way to do business, despite what you will read and hear from others. As a small business owner, and solo entrepreneur, I get to wear all the hats involved in running a business (medicine maker, harvester, marketer, sales person, admin, customer service, shipping and handling - all of it). And while I just spent quite some time saying my personal life and business life aren't really separate, I do have a personal life that also has many sides needing attention and nourishment (sister, friend, dog companion/caretaker, lover, daughter, explorer).
I do think that some things can, and maybe should, stay separate. For instance, when one of my loved ones is having a hard time, I want to give them my full attention. Or, I don't personally want to talk about my business 100% of the time - there's a lot more to chat about. But there are ways I've gotten to weave together the business and personal. For instance, my sister and I have work dates where we both do our separate computer work together (it's so much better than doing it alone!). Or sometimes I'll take friends out harvesting with me, which is great quality time!
Being a small business owner, and solo entrepreneur, is a lot of work and exists outside "regular" work life, whatever that is. Finding balance between all aspects of life is going to look different for everyone, because there is not one right way to have a successful business and personal life.