Can You Really Run A Successful Home-based Business Around Children?

Mother using telephone in living room with baby frowningTo look at me on the school run legging it up the road normally late, hair a mess, 4&5 year old trailing behind me, baby in arms, snowboots covered in mud from our last adventure you wouldn’t think I ran my own business.

I’m a mummy disorganised mess/small business guru.

I’m almost like Superman … I start out as the meek and mild Clark Kent – turning up at 10am to drop off the children’s forgotten lunch boxes before spinning around in the phonebox with my pants on the outside and – “tada!” I’m teaching 1:1 the benefits of using social media to promote your business.

So how do I do it?

Well a work life balance will mean something different to everyone and it make take a while to get a rhythm that works for you and your family. We are a well oiled machine now 4 years on … but we’ve had to adjust to adding school, after school clubs and a baby into the mix. It means we are regularly taking stock of what’s working and what isn’t.

Here are five tips that help me juggle 3 small children, a business schedule and a home!

1.  Don’t worry about what everyone else’s business is doing

Now we use social media to share EVERY detail of our business it can be easy to become disappointed when you see other people achieving their goals, especially when you still feel on the starting blocks.

But remember, you never know what someone’s personal circumstances maybe. They may have children at school full time, a team of staff, a husband/partner that works from home, a family that lives local etc. All these things will have an impact on time and efficiency.  If your business is progressing slowly due to your commitments to your children then so be it.

2.  Remind yourself why you run a business and juggle children

If I’m up late sewing or writing, I remind myself that I work for myself from home so that I can enjoy the time with my children. After all this time is precious and if a day at the beach means late night sewing so be it.

3.  Figure out holiday arrangements in advance

During the holidays it’s not always feasible to shut down.  Preparation is key so start compiling a list of activities/events/clubs so that you have one activity per day on your calendar.  This not only means you can plan working slots around quiet times but it also stops you from going crazy suddenly having a house full!

4.  Build your support network

I don’t just mean in a family sense (although you do need your family to support you). In my case it’s with childcare as my baby doesn’t yet go to nursery. In addition my other half also acts as my sounding board and kerbs some of my wild ideas!  You also need a small businesses network – friends and allies who will listen to you when you’re down, to help solve or just talk out issues. Your network will also help spread your message by recommending you to others while you in turn do the same.

The friends I have made in the small business world are some of the most important to my life and push me to succeed in areas I didn’t think possible.

5.  Remember to take time for you

Being a mum, wife and a small business owner doesn’t always leave time for Joanne.

This is when you will start to feel burn out. To tackle this you need to make time. Even the tiny things count like turning off laptops and phones an hour or so before you go to bed so you can have some down time.

In my experience running a business around a family is not impossible. It just takes a lot of planning, organisation, dermination and being able to go with the flow.  Children have a knack of throwing all the best laid plans in the air so you need to be able to be flexible both mentally and physically.

But despite all this, being a mumpreneur is a lot lot of fun!!

Today’s Micro Action

Are ymicro business actionou a women in business juggling kids & work? Do you describe yourself as a mumpreneur? What tips do you have for keeping that all important work-life balance whilst building a successful micro business? Please share in the comments below.

 

 

Joanne Dewberry

Joanne Dewberry is a multi-award winning small business owner, mummy of 3, and business blogger. She has produced a booklet – Blogging for Business on how you can develop an effective business blog for beginners.