It seemed like the right thing to do, in my mind, at that very moment. I knew what I wanted to communicate as a business owner in the specific order of importance: documentary filmmaker, photographer, writer, speaker. Technologically, I had my business website, ChrisMartinStudios.com, I was also blogging daily on ChrisMartin.com, as well as maintaining the design and video content for InnovatorsofVancouver.com. So, my plan was simple, what if I split my business vision into three entities: focus solely on filmmaking and photography at ChrisMartinStudios.com, move the writing and speaking to ChrisMartin.com, and still keep InnovatorsofVancouver.com exactly what it has been? That way business could be separate from personal. The more I thought about it, the more I liked the idea, until I shared what I was thinking with a friend this week.
“Chris, you really should integrate business and personal. People want to know the whole you, the man behind the entrepreneur,” said my friend. I wasn’t quite getting it at first, “but what if my writing is more on the personal side of life and has nothing to do with business?” “It doesn’t matter. The people that are reading and investigating about whether they want to work with you or not want to know more than just business, they want to know everything that goes into the entire process.” My friend finally took a sip of her coffee. I think I was finally getting it. “It makes sense. Integrate as much of my business and personal side of life into one place, that way people don’t need to go website-hopping to understand all that I do.” “Yep, that’s what I think you should do.”
Combine Business and Personal?
The first step in combining my business and personal aspirations is to combine ChrisMartin.com and ChrisMartinStudios.com into one website, choosing to effectively communicate an integrated and complete picture of my creative and humanistic identity: a business owner focusing on documentary filmmaking, photography, writing, speaking built upon a foundation of being a husband, music lover, reader of books, watcher of movies, guitar player and unabashed eater of man cakes from Stepping Stone Cafe in Portland.
Why does this matter? As a documentary filmmaker, personality and character is equally important in building report with people. The ability to think outside the realm of business and technical matters emphasizes a depth of introspection as well as an intellectual approach to life. What I think often dictates my approach and process in composing and exposing photographs and through all aspects of my personality, a holistic approach to life ultimately makes me more approachable and accessible to a great number of people.
Integration is Simplification
Having to constantly be thinking of multiple topics for a myriad of differing websites leads to living a fragmented existence. It also adds complexity and time to my already busy life, as I run a business, meet new people, foster and build relationships, all while finding time to spend with family. By combining efforts, whether business or personal, one day’s writings or pursuits could be focused on technical or creative aspects of filmmaking or photography, followed by a day devoted to living within my means, hugging my grandma, or whatever else pops into my mind. There are many things that define me as a human being and limiting myself to just business is increasingly shallow and not fully representative of who I am and what I want to do.
Add the Numbers For Great Results
It’s interesting that I get more traffic to my personal blog than my business website. What this means is that by integrating the two sites together, I can continue to build an audience for my writing and at the same time, promote and market my professional work as a documentary filmmaker, photographer, writer and speaker. It definitely increases the likelihood of people viewing the work that I have created over the years, and speaks to a strong identity found in an image fully defined by business and personal pursuits.
It has been a struggle, as most things are, to figure this out, but thank you to Mary for helping me to understand exactly what integration will mean for my life. I no longer want to be a business schizophrenic thinking that personal views of life have no place in business. The reality is that my life can be richer, fuller and more beautiful if I choose to accept the mission of combining my business aspirations with my personal views of living a balanced and sustainable life.