Lisa's daughter and grandmother near a pond

Designing a Big Enough Business

We’re big on personal and professional development, and we’re fans of the Uncomplicate Your Business podcast. After a recent episode about why a big enough business is the key to designing a business and life you love, we were challenged to ponder what a big enough business means to us.

We’ve been very intentional about setting up Backyard Creative as a lifestyle business, with a virtual team that has the ability to expand and contract as needed. This means the business exists to support the kind of lives our team members want to lead, and setting the conditions for everyone to thrive both personally and professionally.

People First

At Backyard Creative, people come first. We have families we love, young children we adore, passions we’re dedicated to, and health and fitness goals we’re working to meet. We want to spend as much time as possible enjoying the little moments with our kids that make childhood magical and memorable. We want to have the flexibility to take a daytime class or attend a conference, go for a walk with the dog, or help out a grandparent when they need us.

This daily picture contrasts the lives many of us led in previous workplaces, where work was more important than anything else, and we spent many hours in the office or chained to our desks (some would call us workaholics, but we don’t like labels! LOL). While we were doing well professionally, we were working at an unhealthy and unsustainable pace, and our personal lives suffered as a result.

Personal Sustainability

Personal sustainability is a term we talk about a lot, and we’ve found balance by scheduling our work around our personal priorities, and setting clear boundaries around our time. This means some of us only work on certain days, or we may work a strict set of hours, or our work days include blocks of personal time.

Our holistic approach gives us the ability to produce our best work possible for clients and make a decent living while leading the kind of lives that fulfill us. Having rich lives outside the office keeps us creative, inspired, and engaged in the world, and makes our work better.

While the goal of business is often scaling and expanding quickly, Backyard Creative scales and grows at a manageable pace, as our personal lives and needs evolve. The business is big enough at this moment to sustain our lives and keep us personally and professionally engaged. We’re sure that in the future, the business will change once again to accommodate our life needs at that point. This is the beauty of being able to create a business that works for us (not just one we work for).

Collaboration

Collaboration is key to making a lifestyle business work. We’ve established a diverse team of smart creatives who believe in our values and embrace our business model, and we all share the workload. Our team members have complementary skills, so we assemble project teams to ensure each project has the talent needed to meet our clients’ needs.

A tag-team scheduling approach is also crucial. Since everyone’s work hours are different, we schedule ourselves to make sure a team lead is available to collaborate with clients or respond to inquiries during business hours. Relying on others allows us to work at a more sustainable pace.

Efficiency

As a deadline-driven team, striking the work/life balance sweet-spot means we maximize every hour of our work time, and efficiencies are key to our business model. We’re continually refining our operations to ensure we have processes and systems in place to handle various project scenarios, manage our hourly and daily priorities, and stay on top of every detail — all of which allows us to maintain our high standards of quality and excellence.

Flexibility

Life throws us all kinds of curveballs. Like when Lisa lost her dad last year. We’ve created a business with built-in flexibility, so our team members can respond to life’s surprises or unexpected priorities when they need to, and we can keep the ball rolling seamlessly on our work.

Ultimately, we want Backyard Creative to be the type of business where team members feel free — free to lead productive work and personal lives, free to be up-front about their needs and life realities (without apologizing for them), and free to lead full and busy lives and get compensated fairly.

What does having a big enough business mean to you? Let us know!