How to Set Digital Boundaries when you’re Running a Creative Business | Natasha Denness Coaching | natashadenness.co.uk (photo of a sideboard with a picture and a plant)

Why, hello there!

I hope this shiny new blog post finds you well and you’re having a magical season!

A few months have passed since I last posted. So, before I get started, I’d like to share how I’ll be publishing my new content moving forward. My goal is to share two pieces of content a month: my monthly letter and a blog post. If you don’t already receive my monthly letters – which include thoughts, inspiration and motivation, with all my latest blog posts and updates about my coaching – you can do so by signing up to my mailing list. I’d love for you to join my online community!

Finding clarity and focus

Back in June, I celebrated ten happy years of content creation. It was a huge milestone for me, motivating some deep reflection on the years that have passed. So, over the summer months, I decided to step away from the digital world. I was keen to reconnect with the heart of my business and decide how I wanted things to look and feel moving forward. I also wanted to establish what being online means to me and how, after ten years, I want to continue to connect with you.

During my time away, I rewrote my business plan, which resulted in a flurry of changes – from redesigning my branding (with a lot of help from my textile designer sister!), to completely re-writing my website content. In addition to this, I updated my social media channels and reduced my digital footprint by unpublishing and deleting a lot of old content. It felt extremely refreshing to give things a tidy and declutter. I feel my words and aesthetics have finally caught up with me and my coaching business.

Digital boundaries

While reflecting on the ten years, the one thing that came up time and time again was digital boundaries. This made me ponder over what is a healthy amount of time to spend online, which prompted me to dig deeper into how I plan to use these digital platforms moving forward. So, today I’m sharing six things you could consider if you’re striving to run a happy and healthy online creative business or any business that includes an element of online marketing.

How to Set Digital Boundaries when you’re Running a Creative Business | Natasha Denness Coaching | natashadenness.co.uk (Photo of a living room with a grey sofa)

1. Online platforms

If you run a business, you’ll undoubtedly have some kind of marketing plan. This may either be part of your wider business plan or something a little more organic, after all, the beauty of running your own business is it’s up to you how you approach things. Your marketing may include a whole range of activities including a social media plan/strategy. This will determine which online platforms (if any!) you’re going to use. By establishing where your community and customers are, you’ll be able to decide where you’re going to spend your time. As with most things, it can be valuable to experiment on different platforms to establish what works best for you, while also being open to change if things are no longer working.

2. Scheduling and batching

When you’ve decided which platforms you’re going to use, it’s good to consider how you’re going to manage them. Maybe you’ll post as and when the mood takes, or perhaps you’re going to create a schedule. For example, you could plan your social media calendar a day, a week or even a month in advance. Even if you have a posting schedule, there’s nothing to stop you posting in an ad hoc way when something pops up.

If you find batching tasks to be beneficial, there are lots of different planning and scheduling tools and apps available. You may also find implementing workflows can help. You could batch what you’re going to post, then schedule the posts using a scheduling tool, for example, Buffer or Tailwind. This will support you when you’re busy and being pulled to other areas of your business.

3. Notifications

The digital world can be a noisy place, so it’s wise to take a moment to decide what notifications you need on your phone, tablet and/or computer. Do you need to be alerted to every message or comment that arrives? Or could you turn some or all of the notifications off? You may find silencing the flashing, bleeps and pop-ups stops you from being distracted. However, if your policy is to respond to customers within a designated timeframe, you may require notifications to achieve this. Once again, it’s down to you and how you want to run your business. Just keep in mind that you may need to tweak or change your processes as your digital platforms grow.

4. Digital boundaries and privacy

In addition to batching and scheduling, you could think about when you’re going to be online, after all, there will undoubtedly be queries, messages and comments to respond to. How often you’re going to be around will differ from person to person and from business to business. Perhaps you enjoy dipping in and out throughout the day, or maybe you’d rather set specific times to show up. By trying different things you’ll be clearer about what works for you, and you’ll be better equipped to put processes in place to support you and your work.

In terms of privacy, if you’re a one-woman/one-man business, you may share elements of your life in your marketing. People tend to buy from people and so bringing in a personal element can give you the upper hand over the larger, less personal, businesses. It can also set you apart from the crowd. It’s wise to think about your digital boundaries and how much about yourself you’re willing to share. You can still be authentic online without sharing every last detail of your private life.

5. Content consumption

Another area to consider is how much information you’re consuming. While it’s great to keep up to date, continually following other people’s lives and businesses may have a negative impact on your work, or even worse how you feel. To reach a healthy balance and create some digital boundaries, you may wish to limit your screen time and simplify what you’re consuming or engaging with. Regularly evaluating who you’re following, what you’re subscribed to and so on, is a great habit to get into. Your time is precious, and your online experience will be enriched as a result of some careful pruning.

A good question to consider is how do you want to feel when you’re online? Do you want to be entertained, educated, inspired, motivated or simply catch up with friends? By having a clear goal or intention before you start scrolling, you can begin to curate an online world that best serves and supports you and your creative business. This will hopefully make your online experience a positive and uplifting one.

6. Time offline

And finally, you may find it valuable to schedule the occasional morning/afternoon, day or weekend off. By taking some time out you will be able to relax and recharge without the noise and distraction of the online world. Another benefit to switching off is you may find you’re able to see things in your life and business more clearly. By taking a step back you can reconnect with who you are and get to the very heart of your business.

Social media is a useful tool to market your business and connect with your community and customers. There really are no rules when it comes to digital boundaries. In fact, I think half of the battle is finding out what works best for you and sticking to it – even if it goes against the grain!

Further reading

Simple digital habits that support my life and work
The benefits of taking a week offline
How to process your inbox and free up more time

As with everything I share here, please feel free to take the ideas that resonate with you. Thank you, as always, for stopping by. I hope you have a wonderful day. Until next time, I’ll see you over on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.

17 Comments

  1. Avatar
    Kirsty 30th November 2018 at 7:39 am - Reply

    This is something I really need to work on, I’ve been really aware of all the mindless scrolling. Thank you

    • Natasha
      Natasha 30th November 2018 at 7:50 am - Reply

      Thank you, Kirsty – I’m certainly guilty of mindless scrolling! I hope you have a fabulous Friday.

  2. Avatar
    Stacey Sheppard 30th November 2018 at 11:37 am - Reply

    I agree with Kirtsy. Mindless scrolling can be so bad for productivity and I find myself doing this all the time. I read a great post on batch working over on Apartment No 4 the other day and I really need to do this more often as I find myself dipping into everything all day and not getting any one thing finished. Great post and fab tips.

    • Natasha
      Natasha 30th November 2018 at 1:46 pm - Reply

      Thanks so much, Stacey. Batching is such a useful process – like you, I’d like to incorporate it more into my work. I hope you have a great weekend!

  3. Avatar
    Carole 30th November 2018 at 12:05 pm - Reply

    Such an interesting post! I decided a few years back that, since most of my work is visual, Twitter is pretty useless to me and only contributed to more noise in my life. So I shut my account down and never looked back. As for notifications, they’re only on for my emails. I still get sucked into looking at Instagram way too much though… ;-)

    • Natasha
      Natasha 30th November 2018 at 1:55 pm - Reply

      Thanks, Carole. Well done for shutting down your Twitter account. On a recent marketing course the trainer said, as a business, there’s no point in using social media if you don’t see a return on your investment. It certainly got me thinking!

  4. Avatar
    Karen Clough 30th November 2018 at 2:56 pm - Reply

    H it sounds like you’ve had such a productive 2018, congrats hun! I’m definitely trying to take batching into 2019 so I can get better organised!

    • Natasha
      Natasha 1st December 2018 at 12:54 pm - Reply

      Thanks so much, that’s very kind of you! I hope you have a wonderful month.

  5. Avatar
    Carole King 30th November 2018 at 3:53 pm - Reply

    This is really helpful Natasha. I’m a bit of a ad-hoc person but I do need to be reminded to switch off now and again. I have turned off most notifications though and that has been really good for me. x

    • Natasha
      Natasha 1st December 2018 at 12:56 pm - Reply

      Thank you, Carole. I’m pleased you found it helpful. Turning off notifications makes such a difference, doesn’t it? Happy new month – I hope you have a good one!

  6. Avatar
    Debs | Tiger Mint 2nd December 2018 at 3:39 pm - Reply

    I have turned off notifications too. I think it’s a really good idea for instagram especially. I need to focus on spending more time away from social media. So hard as a blogger. But it’s so important for our mental wellbeing. Thanks for this lovely post.
    Debs

    • Natasha
      Natasha 3rd December 2018 at 10:40 am - Reply

      Thank you, Debs. I agree with you, it can be tricky to find the perfect balance. Thanks for stopping by, I hope you have a great week!

  7. Avatar
    Susan 2nd December 2018 at 5:29 pm - Reply

    Timely post as always Natasha. I’m streamlining atm

    • Natasha
      Natasha 3rd December 2018 at 10:41 am - Reply

      Thanks so much, Sue. Good luck with the streamlining and have a great week!

  8. Avatar
    Ashley 4th December 2018 at 12:20 pm - Reply

    Natasha This way forward has been on my mind for a long time, I’m considering narrowing what social media platforms I use to move forward x

    • Natasha
      Natasha 6th December 2018 at 12:00 pm - Reply

      Thanks, Ashley. It was you who recommended the book: Why Social Media is Ruining your Life. I read it and it certainly got me thinking!

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