Mixing Business With Pleasure

You’ve heard it said that one should not mix business with pleasure.  While that is probably good advice in most situations, as a small business owner of a professional apartment photography company, mixing business with pleasure sometimes is the ONLY way to fit in pleasure.

During a recent RTV virtual tour webinar with other virtual tour providers in our network, the topic of achieving a balance between personal time and business came up.  Many of us admitted that we don’t do a great job with that part.  The best thing about owning your own virtual tour business is that you control your own destiny.  The worst thing about owning your own virtual tour business is that you control your own destiny.  It’s really the only way to actually get paid what you are worth but for many small business owners the cost of success can be high. 

Having an office at home can mean that you never leave work.  Being in business with the person you live with can make separating your personal life even harder.  Setting up boundaries can be difficult, especially in the beginning when there is way too much to do and way too little income coming in.  We started this business together because frankly we really like spending time with each other. But in order for our business to thrive, our relationship must as well. 

We wanted to find something we could do together that would utilize our respective talents.  We certainly found that with our apartment photography!  We wanted to create a virtual tour business that provided a needed service in good economies and bad.  We absolutely found that in offering our virtual tours through the RTV virtual tour system.  Finally, we wanted to find a business that we would enjoy and could work into and around our personal lives.  We both have out of town families that we love and want to spend more time with and in the past have not had the flexibility to do that. 

Virtual tours are an absolute necessity when it comes to real estate marketing but more and more business are realizing the benefits of having virtual tours of their facilities on their web sites.  There are many great ideas on how to barter services with other businesses in a mutually beneficial way but here are a few we have found successful.

Restaurants – We are in desperate need of a date night but we put most of our discretionary budget back into the business.  Here is a link to a tour done by BlueLaVaMedia, a Traverse City Virtual Tour Company

Bed and Breakfasts – Usually owned by small business owners who don’t have much balance in their lives either, bed and breakfasts are a great get away.  The winter is their slow time so we are negotiating virtual tours with some nearby bed and breakfasts in exchange for a night’s stay.  Great way for us to build our virtual tour portfolio and unwind at the same time.

Work-cations – The recent economic environment has caused the popularity of “stay-cations” to increase dramatically.  Because we work from a home that we are in the process of remodeling, we STAY home more than enough…we want to get away!  So instead, we look at locations where we want to go and will do target marketing in those areas.  Some simple cold calling on a Thursday offering a weekend special allows us to book enough business on a given weekend to either barter or cover the cost of our trip for a spontaneous get away.

If the only way to get balance in your life as a small business owner is to mix business with pleasure, then by all means, get creative and make it happen.  It’s sort of like the free offer of a weekend stay at a time share…just without the requisite 90 minute sales presentation and hard sell by the unrelenting salesman at the end.