Catersource is part of the Informa Connect Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Who’s the Winner? The Imaginary Line Between Business and Life

Being caterers, we live to serve. The boundaries between business life and personal life are like the equator. It is an invisible line, but it is still there. The struggle to separate business from life can be challenging. Most of us never master this important skill. For me, it was taking the invisible line and coloring it neon pink so everyone could see, including myself. 

Catering was the family and our identity.  

We were the first to be called to handle any social function, especially the donated ones. Sunday mornings were spent preparing a meal for the church instead of being in the sanctuary. Dinner conversations turned into the happenings of the business. The family was always on call when something went “wrong”.   

Friendships were lost.  

You spend more time talking about your frustrations and your friends just don’t want to hear it anymore. The invitations to events stop rolling in because instead of attending an event you are helping create memories for someone else.   

Being accommodating at the expense of yourself.   

The client tells you that they can only meet on Sunday. Instead of saying I am sorry I am not available Sunday morning, you say that won’t be a problem. After working a 15-hour day the day before, you stumble out of bed, take a shower, and make your way to the meeting. You booked the client, but you didn’t have breakfast with your family and friends. 

One day you wake up and realize that life is passing you by and changes need to be made. It is time to draw a neon pink line in the sand between your business life and your personal life. Sounds easy to do but, there must be an entire shift in your mindset. The question to ask yourself is, how do you want to be remembered? As a great business owner or a good mom, sister, and friend who happened to be a great business owner. For me, it was the latter. 

The line was drawn, and it was time for me to start working on creating the boundaries between business and my personal life. A distinct line was drawn with a few minor adjustments. 

Boundaries with Customers: 

  1. Create a strict schedule of when to meet with clients.
  2. Create auto responses that clearly define when, where, and how I would respond.

Boundaries with Family:  

  1. No talking business in the walls of the home.
  2. No talking business at the table while eating.

Boundaries for myself: 

  1. Hard Start and End Time.
  2. Took my emails off my phone.
  3. Left the computer closed until the next hard start time.
  4. Created personal time.   

Many things can be done to create the life balance that you are seeking. The first step starts with you.  “The only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be.”—Ralph Waldo Emerson 


Kathryn Albarado

Generational business and life coach

As a third-generational family business owner, Kathryn spent 22 years navigating the hills and valleys of leading a family business.

There is more to her than being a businesswoman. For those who have seen ‘My Big Fat Greek Wedding’ - this is her family in a nutshell. Of course, there are small differences but more commonalities than not....