Tech Boundaries for Creative Entrepreneurs

Updated on May 9, 2020
thenameisnora profile image

Nora Salem is the Founder and Creative Director of BUD + BLOOM, Canada's premier cannaflorist and custom design studio.

But first, let me take a selfie, and while I'm on here...how are my site visits doing lately? Should I be posting on IG more? I really need to update these site photos. And check the SEO on all pages. And...-PING- I just checked my emails, how are they back to that number?! -PING- Right, my Facebook messages too.

It Shouldn't Be This Hard

If that first paragraph resonated with you, you should take a hot minute to reassess the relationship you and your business have with technology. I often wonder what it was like to run a business in the print era which undoubtedly was a nightmare for our forests, but ohhhh what a dream for us entrepreneurs.

Did You Know?

A recent survey found that 37% of individuals use social networks for their purchase inspiration.

Source

Although, this isn't what accounts for all the pressure that comes with the information age. It's also the role websites, emails, and the catalyst to it all—cellphones—play.

After starting BUD + BLOOM my relationship with my laptop and cellphone changed drastically. When I wasn't on them for business purposes, I didn't want to be on them at all. If I spent enough time between them both, I would leave feeling drained of everything. Including my creativity. I started to prefer calls over text messages and ignoring my phone any chance I felt I could. This ruffled some feathers within my personal circles and at one point I was asked how I planned to maintain relationships. A notion that seemed totally ridiculous to me.

If our relationship falters because I don't engage with your online content as much as you'd like, or fail to text you back right away, then it obviously wasn't a very strong one to begin with. I will show you my love via sporadic but hilarious meme sharing instead. Whenever I choose to be online.

And that is the core of this problem. Our cellphones—these amazing devices, created with the best intentions—were purposely made to increase our availability to the world. At first it was for safety—holla at your car & satellite phones! Then it was tailored more towards business—what up, what up Blackberry! Then we blinked and suddenly they became a necessary component to our lives.

However, just because a device was made to allow us to be available at all times, doesn't mean we have to be.

So, overwhelmed by a wave of unpleasantries that compacted over the last few months, I decided to take time during the holidays to unplug. I turned off notifications, put all life-sucking apps in a folder appropriately labelled with three big red X emojis, made a few obligatory "Hey, I'm ditching my phone for a while so kindly put away your pitchforks if I don't answer," then exhaled one of the biggest sighs of relief I ever have.

Of course, this was bittersweet because I knew it had to end at some point. Running a business meant that was an unavoidable fact. But after seeing the difference being away for just 5 days made in both my wellbeing and creative output, I decided to re-establish my tech boundaries so that I could at least unplug in the evenings.

Here’s what I looked at to start:

  1. What else can I automate?
  2. What am I comfortable releasing control of and actually automating?
  3. What social hours make sense for me?
  4. Will these social hours create any inconvenience to my clientele?
  5. If I were a client, would I be bothered by a business owner's tech boundaries?

Do you feel your creativity could benefit from some tech boundaries?

See results

These questions not only brought up ideological inconsistencies that I realized were causing me extra stress, but made me check-in on what it is that I want to achieve through the use of all my online platforms.

Here’s how I answered:

  1. What else can I automate?
    Quite literally almost everything, good start.
  2. What am I comfortable releasing control of and actually automating?
    Do you even know me? Nothing. Can we start with some away messages or something?
  3. What social hours make sense for me?
    9AM-6PM with Sundays "off" AKA time to catch-up on any backlog from the week.
  4. Will these social hours create any inconvenience to my clientele?
    Not if I get back to them promptly the next day.
  5. If I were a client, would I be bothered by a business owner's tech boundaries?
    I might be at first, but I'd understand it and maybe look at my own habits afterwards.

Automation is preached as if it were the second coming in the business world, but it has never sat quite right with me. It isn't just the lack of control that bothers me, it's the lack of genuine engagement. Scheduling social media content and newsletters is one thing, but as soon as you get into the bot world—see ya later! As a consumer, I know I've been turned off of companies with fantastic branding, products, and 'presence' solely because of how heavily automated their businesses are. The irony kills.

I don't care if you reply within a millisecond, or if you engage with my stream of online bullshit that is largely cat photos and selfies, but I do care about there being a real person with a consciousness on the other side of the screen that understands human interaction, rather than a creepy AI algorithm looking for a keyword prompt like 'services' to respond with a generic list of what you offer. That's why I prefer the notion of social hours.

Social hours allow you to communicate business hours in a more specific manner.

Especially when your actual business hours are all over the place in a creative field like floral design. Having social hours means you're not only conducting business during these times, but available to respond and engage as well. Outside of those hours? You're focusing on your creativity, distraction-free, obligation-free, and doing regular human things like eating and sleeping (hopefully.)

Will you annoy clients by not being available to provide a list of services at their 10 PM whim? Potentially. But if that's the case, they aren't your people! Just like the bot-run businesses aren't mine.

Try this perspective shift. If you go to a store outside of business hours, are you outraged that they had the audacity not to know you were coming and stay open just for you, so you swear them off for eternity and nevermore? Or do you remember their business hours and make it in on time for your next visit?

Why should it be any different without a storefront?

SparkNotes:

Set a timed away message on all platforms that lets your clientele know you only respond to inquiries within a set of social hours. State those hours. Try to stay within them for all business-related tech needs (admin work) and communications. Give clients an option for urgent inquiries if applicable to your business. Schedule posts but focus on quality, not quantity. Automate with care.

Now release that data-driven ball and chain from your ankles!

The laptop too, boo!

And enjoy life—real life—again.

THAT'S IT. YOU A FREE BIRD, MY FRIEND!
...until 9AM tomorrow, anyway.

What are your thoughts on tech boundaries within business and do they differ from your personal ones? Comment with your tips and tricks for maintaining both!

© 2020 Nora Salem

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, toughnickel.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://maven.io/company/pages/privacy

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)