Madeleine Costa, Founder and CEO of Succeeding Small, understands how important it is to implement boundaries in business. As a small business owner and entrepreneur, your personal life can become so intertwined with your business life. This can affect your personal relationships, family, and friendships. It can be stressful and overwhelming to try to balance these aspects of your life as a small business owner, which is why Madeleine Costa invited Kristen Faith Sharpe to the podcast this week!
Kristen Faith Sharpe is an entrepreneur and business owner. She recently got nominated as one of the finalists for Young Entrepreneur of the Year in Colorado Springs. But it hasn’t always been like this for Kristen. About a decade ago, Kristen left an abusive relationship and created a non-profit after sharing her restraining order on Facebook. Her non-profit continued to grow, and in 2020, they were raising around $20,000 a month on Facebook donations and reaching about 200 million people on social media. Kristen’s non-profit impacted victims and survivors of abuse all over the world.
However, when the pandemic started, Kristen wanted to help other non-profits. That is when she created The Nonprofit Makeover as a result of the success of her non-profit. She wanted to be able to help traditional organizations raise money online. On top of this, Kristen also created Boss Babe Networking as a hobby during the pandemic because she missed women supporting women in her community. This now consists of a group of women entrepreneurs from all over Colorado Springs participating in retreats, scholarships, and grant opportunities.
Madeleine and Kristen discuss how bettering your boundaries in business can positively affect your personal and professional life. By the end of this episode, you may be asking yourself what kind of boundaries you can set in your life that will help with a work-life balance.
How to Notice When You Need to Start Setting Boundaries in Business
When you are an entrepreneur or small business owner, your identity can often become tied to your success and work ethic in business. Unfortunately, this can harm your business, mental health, and personal relationships. Kristen discussed when she realized her work life was affecting her personal life:
“I joke about this all the time, but it took one of my daughters to realize; we were like dressing up here at the house, and we all became one another. So we put on some funky clothes, and we’re like, oh, ‘I’m Tiana’ or ‘I’m dad’ or ‘I’m Jayden’. And it was funny until one of my girls came out, and she dressed up like me and was like, ‘Oh, I’m I gotta go to a meeting every single day because I gotta do what I gotta do for BTS’, which was the name of my non-profit. So I tell everyone about this because of those little subtle messages. It’s not so much a cry for help, but it’s, Hey, I miss you or, Hey, I need you to be present. And so one of my girls dressed up like me, and that was literally my wake-up call to be like, oh, wait, you do notice that I’m gone all the time, taking meetings every single day, cause I gotta do what I gotta do for work,” Kristen explains how seeing her daughter dress up as herself was her wake up call to set more boundaries in her professional life.
“While that’s important, and while you know us as entrepreneurs or us as just adults or parents, we gotta feed the family. We gotta make sure the bills are paid. But to what extent, you know? Sometimes we hustle so hard that we forget and lose sight of what is in front of us. And I also remember my husband telling me that he thought my work was more important than he was. And for me as, you know, a wife and as a stepmom, I didn’t want that to be what it is. You know, my work was important, but never more important than my family. And so, over the last few years, I really was intentional with my time. I was very intentional with who I was taking meetings with. I was intentional with, you know, what projects I was taking on and how I was getting busy, quote-unquote, in the community. And I wanted to make sure that, um, my time was very strategically spent. And so now when the kids come, you know, when they are here with us for the holidays and summers and the, in the different visits that we have with them, I’m unplugged. So I’m taking all these meetings this week because, you know, come summertime, it’s going to be a full-on sharp game all day. And people that know me know that I rarely take meetings during the summer just because I wanna make sure that I’m full, you know, available for them,” Kristen continues, explaining some of the boundaries she has started to implement in her professional life.
Madeleine also reflects on some of the things she has noticed in her personal life, “I mean, for me, I just had my first baby, and she’s eight months old, and I am just thinking about how I want our relationship to be and what I want her to remember about her childhood and how I want to be present for her, fully present for her. And I wanna be fully present in my business because I love what I do. And so I’m trying to be so strategic in these early moments of her life to build a business, to allow me to have the kind of life that I want for my family. You know, we start these companies because we have an undying passion for something that we can’t ignore. We have to run with it. And we build businesses to build the kind of life that we want. So often, we get lost in the hustle. That is exactly like what you said: we forget about who we’re working for and the kind of business that we, that we truly want to have.”
Creating healthy work-life boundaries is Kristen’s mission for The Non-profit Makeover; “So I consult organizations in a way where I teach them, Hey, we have to work smarter, not harder. And especially for non-profit founders and executive directors, they get so caught up in this mentality of, oh, well, I have to continue working. And even when I go home, I have to keep going, and I have to keep working, and there are no boundaries. And so a huge part of what I do is really trying to teach non-profits how to create their organization on autopilot. Meaning how can we get an organization that your team is working for you effectively? How do we create ways where you can create healthy boundaries and say no to those phone calls and emails that are happening on Saturday and Sunday evenings? How do you create a method where you do not have to pick up the phone every single day at all hours of the day to troubleshoot because you’ve already trained your team to be able to work effectively? I think the pandemic really taught us that we cannot afford not to work more effectively. We cannot afford to continue the same business practices we did before the pandemic. Fortunately, I know how to run businesses online, did it, and succeeded at it. And so I am super passionate about being able to help those organizations work smarter, not harder, because, you know, family is important. We don’t wanna lose sight of that mission.”
Steps You Can Take to Implement Those Boundaries in Your Business
While the idea of setting boundaries may sound easy, actually implementing them into your day-to-day life can be challenging, especially for small business owners who have already sacrificed so much of their personal time for their professional time.
That is why Madeleine and Kristen discuss how to implement boundaries within your business; “So I think the first piece is most definitely creating clear expectations of your team. I think one of the things that we often lose sight of is whether it’s hiring managers, whether it’s, you know, CEOs or directors of non-profits, for-profits, what have you. I think that we lose sight of all the different things that need to happen in order for your business to work successfully. So, therefore, as you create your business, as you scale your business, you wanna make sure that you’re looking at it from like a, you know, I guess a bird’s eye view to look at your organization and be like, huh, what areas do I need the best support in and how I do it with the organizations and businesses that I work with is I say, Hey, if you are just one person right now, and you’re looking to scale, what are you currently doing within your business that you need someone else to do, or even better yet? Cause a lot of times, especially as startups, we have a hard time delegating. Therefore it’s hard for us to even let go of these things,” Kristen explains what her advice is to non-profit directors for setting boundaries in the workplace.
Kristen goes on to reinforce that the best way for a business to survive while you, as a leader, set boundaries is to create a solid foundation. She explains that you want to have great volunteers and employees whose roles and expectations are clear so the infrastructure of your business can stay stable even if you create boundaries in business. Madeleine agrees, saying when she began delegating her responsibilities, she wrote down what she did on a daily basis and thought about who could take on these tasks. Madeleine also explains how exciting the new CEO role can be once you set boundaries, “To be able to just craft the vision for where you want your company to go and be in that leader seat again, and that dreamer seat, which I know a lot of entrepreneurs start in is having these big dreams and wanting to accomplish that impact.”
Kristen expresses that it can be hard to transition from that busy, go-getter mentality to the CEO, dreamer mentality. She expresses that she often has to remind herself to slow down and be intentional about how she wants to spend her time professionally and personally. At the end of the day, Kristen has learned how important taking time for her mental and physical health is. She explains that her version of self-care is being able to take her dog to the dog park or go on a walk around the block whenever she wants. It can also be getting a massage once a month or spending more time with her husband.
Learn More About Kristen Faith Sharpe and The Nonprofit Makeover
Kristen Faith Sharpe is a powerhouse and local entrepreneur that strives to help non-profits and other female entrepreneurs reach their professional goals. She is the founder of four reputable businesses and non-profits in Colorado and beyond. Her work ethic and ambition have been praised by the American Red Cross, the Colorado Business Journal, and more.
Learn more about Kristen and her accomplishments by visiting her personal website today!