There are a lot of myths about starting your own business, and even more about working from home as a mom. One of which is that it’ll be easy to always spend time with your family and your business will just run itself.
While eventually you can set up a situation where that seems true, at first it might be a little tricky. As long as you go into it with your eyes wide open you’ll be able to create a business that works with your family situation. You really can have it all when you have your own business, but maybe not all at the same time. Just find a way to make it work, and you’ll be glad you did.
Whether you start a service based business or a product based business, working from home can be the answer to many of life’s problems associated with lack of work-life balance. You won’t have to miss parent teacher meetings, family night, game night, or anything else ever again if you have everything in place and your spouse on board with your idea.
Here are some tips to help you run your business without jeopardizing time with your family and how to overcome obstacles that might arise.
- Rid Yourself of Guilt – One of the most important things you can do is let go of any type of guilt you have associated with working. There is nothing wrong with wanting or needing to earn a living. It doesn’t matter if you start a business or work in a job, most of us have to work today and the children really will be all right.
- Be Realistic – Trying to work with a nursing baby can be hard in any circumstance. It’s easier to schedule your work realistically around your family than it is to expect your family to accommodate you. There are times work has to come first, but if you set your schedule realistically you’ll find less times of having to juggle.
- Get Help When You Need It – Whether it’s an au pair, a nanny, a VA, or a housekeeper, get help when you are able and when you need it. There is nothing wrong with putting your 2 year old in part time pre-school either. If you really want your business to succeed you will take the steps necessary to see that it does.
- Create a System – When you determine what you’ll be doing for a business from home, it’s good to create a system just like you would if you worked at a job. Have a system in place that helps you keep track of what you need to do each day in order to earn the income you want to earn.
- Have a Plan B – Sometimes emergencies happen so it’s good to have a Plan B. If you thought you were going to put in 4 hours of work the day your three children come down with the flu, then you’re obviously going to have to put that off. If you build in extra time to every deadline you create you’ll easily be able to create a Plan B.
- Schedule Everything – Use a good calendaring system to schedule everything including work and family time. If you want to have lunch with your girlfriends on Tuesday at 2 pm for a couple of hours, you must schedule in that time including travel time. If you want to spend the morning with your daughter watching movies, schedule it in. Date night with your husband, schedule it. Everything from cooking meals, to laundry, and all that you do – schedule it in and add in some extra time to make up for errors and the unexpected.
- You’re Not Martha Stewart – Guess what, it’s okay that you’re not Martha Stewart. In fact, she’s not even Martha Stewart all by herself either; she has an entire staff to help her be amazing. If you don’t yet have that staff, let some things go. Perfection is not necessary to be successful at spending time with your family and making your business work.
- Take Time for You – One of the most important parts of the happiness equation is to make sure to take time for yourself. Just like you put the oxygen mask on yourself first in the airplane if something goes wrong, you must take care of your needs before you take care of everyone else’s wants.
- Keep Your Focus – Avoiding shiny object syndrome is important when you work for yourself at home. It’s easy to get your mind turned onto the next big thing instead of focusing on the business you decided to start. Make it a practice to only devote about 5 percent of the time you’ve set aside for working on new ideas outside of your niche.
- Get the Family Involved – Having a home business can be hard on the family sometimes. This is especially true when you spend long hours in front of your computer creating products and performing services. Your family wants to be involved. If they can’t help you directly with work, ask them to help with household duties. You can pay your children a larger allowance now that you are earning an income.
- Accept Your Children’s Ages – When children are under 4 years old it is much harder to schedule time for working a business without childcare help of some kind. Whether that is your spouse chipping in more or hiring a teenager to help is up to you.
- Make Your Office Child Friendly – You can’t expect your children to stay out of your office at all times. It’s just not realistic for a family. Instead, make the office child friendly by making it safe and also friendly. For example, you might put a playpen in the office with toys for your toddler to play in safely while you work.
- Take Time Out – Young children cannot focus on one thing for too long, so asking them to be quiet for an hour might be too much. But, you can set a timer for quiet time, set up a movie, and then when the timer goes off spend some time jumping around and playing directly with your child. They’ll soon understand that if they’re good when the timer is on they get one-on-one time with mommy when it rings.
- Expect Sick Days – Be prepared when you or your children get sick. If you have deadline focused work, build in extra time and never put off work when all is going well to stare at the TV or play on Facebook. When you have a family, you need to work when you can so that when something happens you can be there for them.
When you set an intention to do something and to make your business work, you will succeed. Don’t just leave it all up in the air; instead, create a plan of action and follow through.
Change the Way You Think
To be successful blending your family with working from home in your business, there are many ideas you may have had that you’ll need to let go. There are many different work from home myths that you want to realize aren’t really true as you work toward changing the way you think.
- Let Go of Pride – Never be afraid to ask for help from your family and friends. If you need some quiet time to get some work done, you’ll need to ask your family for assistance so that you can get the work done for the sake of your business.
- Let Go of Even Stevens – You’re not going to spend 50 percent of your time on your family and 50 percent of your time on your business. It doesn’t work that way. Some days you’ll spend more time with your family and others more time with your business.
- Let Go of Self-Sacrifice – You don’t have to put yourself last to have a successful work from home business and a successful family life. You need to put yourself first when it has to do with your needs. Important needs to prioritize are exercise, nutrition, socialization, and alone time.
- Let Go of Traditional Schedules – In most cases when you have a work from home business you don’t have to work traditional hours like 8 to 6, instead you can work full time around your life.
- Let Go of Traditional Ideas of Work – When you start a work at home business, the work that you will do may vary. You might earn as a blogger, a YouTube star, or a fitness coach. The sky is truly the limit and only your imagination can keep you from making money online in your own business.
- Let Go of Distractions – When you first start working from home it’s difficult to let the distractions of home fade into the background so that you can get some work done. But if you practice doing it every day, it gets easier to accomplish. Just do it every day and before you know it, it becomes a habit.
- Let Go of the Idea of Overnight Success – While you will experience success quickly if you craft a plan of action and stick to it, it won’t be overnight. For example, it can take one to three years to earn money as a blogger, shorter to earn as a service provider such as a graphic designer or virtual assistant. Many people combine both types of business to get started fast.
You can’t let any of the myths stop you from working your home business and becoming successful. Just because you won’t become super successful overnight, it doesn’t mean that you aren’t going to be as successful as you want to be eventually with the right plan of action.
Getting Your Spouse on Board
Sometimes the biggest impediment to starting a work at home business is your spouse. Try to understand that your spouse may not have been exposed to the information that you’ve read and may only know about the myths of working from home and not the realities.
They may see it as just a hobby and not enough money to provide the family with what they need and that might be frightening. It’s up to you to get your spouse on board with your new venture in a good way so that you have the support you need to be successful.
- Schedule a Serious Meeting with Your Spouse – The first step to getting your spouse on board is to set up a meeting without distractions. You can go out to dinner to a place that is easy to talk and has wireless, or you can do it during a time the kids are sleeping or with the grandparents. However you do it, you need to avoid distractions.
- Remember, Timing is Important – Don’t hit your spouse with a business idea when you’re in debt, when things aren’t going well for him at work, or when the timing is all wrong. Talk to them when they’re in a good mood and ready to listen.
- Secure Financing – For a home based business you’re not going to need as much money to start your business but you will need some. Get the numbers down on paper so you can explain to your spouse how you’ll accomplish your goals.
- Compile the Research – It’s important to do your research in advance and know exactly what type of business you want to start before approaching your spouse. Put it all in a PowerPoint slide show so that you can show him how serious you are and exactly what you need to get started and the projected income.
- Put All Your Cards on The Table – Explain to your spouse how much money you can make, how many hours you will need to work, and how this will affect your family exactly. If you lead with doing it for the kids and for the family, you may get him on board faster. Some spouses get on board faster when you show them the money first though. You’ll need to be the judge.
- Plan Together How To Make It Work – When you get your spouse on board, you can plan together how to get the business going in the early days. Perhaps he’ll take care of after dinner baths and bedtime while you get some work done.
- Set Priorities Right From the Beginning – The entire point of starting an at home business is having more family time while earning enough money to sustainably support that goal. Ensure that you and your spouse are on the same page regarding family time and the importance you place on things like child care and housework versus quality time together and earning money.
When you come to your spouse with a realistic idea, set goals, and the financials all in place, they’ll be impressed enough and take you seriously enough to give it a shot. You must be very up front about what you need to make it all work. Don’t take it all onto yourself to get the new business to work without any help from your spouse. Do it right from the start and you won’t regret it.
Working at home can be very rewarding and lucrative. You have to be realistic, but you should also dream big. Make big goals, keep them super specific, and then craft a plan to make it happen. Schedule it all in your calendar, then stick to the plan and soon you’ll be a very profitable and happy work at home mom.