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Keeping your personal life separate from your business life is highly recommended. This is why you set up a separate business bank account to avoid mixing your funds! Other than the financial implications, your personal life can impact your business in many different ways. Primarily, there could be aspects of your history that may end up damaging the reputation of your company. 

It may not seem fair that things that happen in your private life will affect your business. Nevertheless, when people are aware that you’re the owner, they can very easily develop negative feelings towards your company if they discover certain things in your personal history. 

What sort of things can do the most damage? 

Criminal records

Do you have a criminal record? You may have done something many years ago that’s not connected to your business in the slightest. Perhaps you had a wild streak and got in trouble a lot as a kid – regardless, you now have charges on your record. If news companies or consumers catch wind of this, you can only imagine the stories they’ll spin. It is difficult for customers or clients to trust a business when the owner has a criminal past. 

So, does this mean your business is doomed to struggle? Not necessarily! You can use damage control to mitigate the negative effects, or you could try to get a pardon for your crimes, expunging them from your record. All business owners are encouraged to do this if they are starting a company with a criminal past. Even if the charges were decades ago, they can still haunt you unless they’re removed.

Personal finances

If you’ve had a long history of poor personal finances, it won’t bode well for your business’s reputation. People might discover that you’ve been in lots of personal debt many times before. Maybe you’ve had gambling problems or a history of being very bad with money. Again, how will consumers trust a company when the person at the head is clearly bad with money? 

Unfortunately, you can’t do much to alter the past, if this is the case. What you can do is show that you have changed by making it obvious you are good with money. Let your present actions do the talking, rather than what happened before. 

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Relationships

The relationships you have with people might damage your business reputation as well. Especially if you have been in relationships that didn’t end well. This doesn’t just cover romantic relationships – it could be previous work relationships too. Maybe you came off as a bit of a jerk in previous jobs? News will come out and spread around on social media, casting you and your business in a bad light. 

All you can do is get your own side of any stories out there. Let people decide if they think you’re a jerk or not. Similarly, think about distancing yourself from the company so people don’t associate it with you as a person. 

That last point is very important and it basically underlines why you should try to keep yourself separate from your business. As much as you’d love to show the world that you’re in charge of a company, sometimes it is better to work in the shadows. This way, your business reputation won’t be impacted by things that have happened in your private life. 

By Erica Buteau

Change Agent. Daydream Believer. Maker. Creative. Likes love, peace and Jeeping. Dislikes winter, paper cuts and war. She/Her/Hers.

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