Many parents who begin businesses do so because they want to take charge of their time. They want to know that they can take time out for the kids when they need and that they’re able to guarantee free evenings. The trouble is that it doesn’t always work out.
Far from leaving you free to enjoy evenings with the kids, the chances are that you struggle to even make one free night a week. Instead, you find that there’s always something to do. Worse, it won’t get done if you don’t do it.
This can be frustrating, and it could even lead to disruption and resentment at home. No one likes to sit at the table with someone who spends the whole time on their phone, after all! The good news is that those early dreams of free evenings aren’t as outlandish as they seem right now. All you need to do is put the following plans in place to ensure you can enjoy that time with your kids without distraction.
#1 – Automate where you can
Given that your business rests solely on your shoulders, the chances are that you can’t resist but check-up even when you’re out with the family. Sadly, as soon as you check-in, you find a whole load of stuff that needs doing. From admin to processing online orders, a ‘quick check’ could turn into a whole night of work. Luckily, automation could save you from ever needing to check again.
Something like the web applications offered by software development agency Xibis can automate virtually any business requirements so that you can rest easy your online processes run like clockwork without you. Automating out of office email replies could also save you worrying about admin during your evenings. Instead, you’ll be able to enjoy family time at last.
#2 – Separate the business from the personal
If you use the same phone number for business and personal, there’s a high chance you’ll answer business calls out of hours. Equally, using a personal email for business purposes means emails will come straight to your private phone no matter the time of day. By keeping a divide here, you can make sure you’re able to switch off when you leave the office once and for all.
#3 – Get strict about business hours
It also pays to be strict about business hours both with yourself and your customers. No one expects the owner of a small business to work 24/7. As such, simply being clear about operating hours ensures that you won’t lose custom by not replying during your evenings. Again, sending automated out of office emails is a fantastic option here. Even just adding a note on your website of when you’re back in the office can let you off without losing your custom.
Each of these simple steps can smooth the divide between your working and personal life. And that, in turn, can lead you to work-free evenings for whole family enjoyment at long last.
Running a business and bringing up a family is something of a juggling act and you will see a lot of information about striking a work/life balance in order to feel like you have really got this thing under control. This is like suggesting that we can neatly cut our time in half, devoting it exclusively to our home and work in turn. The reality could not be further from this, however, and in all honesty, it is time to ditch this pressurised unrealistic ideal that we keep being sold. You are not failing if you cannot neatly segment your life into the two categories, far from it! Being a parent and business owner is no mean feat but rather than fighting for the unachievable why not strive to create some harmony instead. To be brutally honest there is no such thing as a perfect balance. Sometimes you will actually sacrifice some family time to grow your business, but conversely, you will also find you will sacrifice the business to focus on your family at times too. Neither is wrong or failing and what works for you might not work for others. Harmony is an individual thing and finding your own levels of harmony is what matters. If you resolve to do one thing this year, make it the intent to stop looking for a work/life balance and instead replace it with harmony. Here are five great way of achieving family and business harmony to get you started.
1. Try Themes for Your Week
On a Sunday spend some time deciding what your priorities are for the coming week, it doesn’t matter if these are home or work priorities, they are all part of your life! Then see if you can create a theme for each day, maybe Monday’s are about shipping orders, Tuesdays are for Marketing, Wednesdays for returning calls and answering correspondence, Thursdays for the kids and Friday’s anything goes depending on what is needed. To-do-lists make a great addition to harmony, you can see at a glance what needs to happen, but the priorities give the list a focus and a purpose above and beyond just working down the items. You could organise the list by priority so things near the bottom can be left undo if time escapes you, and you will not worry or stress about these things as they are not the priority they can wait.
2. Choose Wisely
We have all fallen into the yes trap, where anything that comes our way we accept and take on. This can add to our burden and heap on the guilt. It is important to consciously make choices that fit with our overarching desire for harmony. We are conditioned to work hard, in fact so hard it should all but kill us, and while this is admirable, it isn’t terribly practical or harmonious. It is time to take back control and start making choices that actually fit for us. If you do not want to take on something, then don’t feel you have to. No is such a little word but really hard to say. It is time to practice this, as for some reason it tends to be something we can say to our family, but not in business. Examine what you are taking on because if it damages your mental health and your personal and family life, is it really worth it?
3. Get Out
There is a tendency to push vital self-care habits to the side and convince ourselves that they do not form any part of our harmony. Well, that is a common misnomer, and in fact, self-care is an integral part of maintaining this harmony. So what does that mean? Well, it means that you need to be active and get out and about in the real world. It can be easy to go from desk to home and back again, desperately working all the hours you can to get everything done but the benefits of walking the dog or going for a run cannot be overlooked. Exercise helps with mood and the regulation of hormones, which is actually more important than you might realise. So take the time to go for a swim, take the kids out on the bikes or something else active.
4. Don’t Forget to Sleep
Burnout is an issue that can affect anyone, but if you run your own business, then you will want to avoid this one. Not sleeping well can cause a myriad of health issue not least feeling tired all the time. It actually weakens the immune system and leaves you susceptible to coughs, colds and viruses. It also lowers the processing power of the brain which funnily enough links directly to our productivity. Make sure you find time to rest, even if you don’t sleep well at least resolve to lay on the bed and relax with no electronics. Try meditation this is a great way to relax the brain and help restore a natural balance in the body even when you are feeling super busy.
5. Remember Who You Are
We are human, not robot. There is a limit to what we can do, and pushing ourselves actually only means that something somewhere slips. Forget trying to live up to some ideal dictated by the internet or social media and stop searching for the impossible. You are more than enough, and you need to take time to congratulate yourself on what you do achieve rather than berate yourself over things you do not get done. Our children are only young for such a short time you want to look back on the period with warm memories and no regrets. Harmony is how you will achieve this when you realise it is ok to drop the ball on something every once in a while. It doesn’t matter if you cannot attend one meeting or you cannot make every playdate on the calendar. The balance comes not from our work and home life, but from the acceptance, we find within our harmony.
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Freelancing can be the most rewarding way to work, which is of course why so many of us choose to be an entrepreneur and build a business. However, it can also seem like we are continually chasing ourselves and finding it hard to create a happy medium between family and work. So just how do we balance freelancing and family life.
Build a Schedule
If you want to make sure that you have the right balance you need to do some planning. Decide what hours you can realistically work and block those out, the rest of the time is family time, and you need to try and stick to the separation between the two. For some people one block of work a day is the best solution, for others work gets scattered into chunks that fit neatly between things like school runs, bedtimes and meal times. It is all about assessing your day and deciding what you can fit where.
Have a Back-up
So, while a schedule seems fine in principle, we all know how easy it is for things to change. A child off school sick, an appointment with the doctor, there is any number of things that can upset the balance. The way many people overcome this is to have a contingency plan. Whether that means giving up a night off to catch up or having to message clients to ask for more time, having a plan in place means you will be less stressed if the worst happens.
There is no point cramming your schedule so full you become a screaming wreck in the corner. It is essential that you set realistic targets when it comes to working. Many clients will happily wait for work as long as you keep them in the loop. Asking for a realistic deadline, not enforcing your own ideas makes more sense. Naturally, clients will want their work doing promptly, but if you have set a 24-hour goal when a client would be happy to wait three days, you will be able to better plan and prioritise work. Sometimes you will have to say no, but that is ok.
Ditch the Small Stuff
Hands up who has a cleaner? Domestic tasks are something that many parent entrepreneurs end up outsourcing. The simple fact is work and kids are your priority, and you can earn more in an hour than you would pay the lovely lady who pops in three times a week to help with the housework.
She does a better job than you do and you can rest easy knowing that it will all be done. Consider creating carpools with other parents if after-school activities are taking up chunks of time each week. That way you can do one a month rather than one a week and save yourself some time. Anything that you want to get rid of to free your time is a consideration. Far from feeling guilty, you should feel proud of yourself for finding a more efficient and effective way to get these things done.
There is something quite magical that comes with the freedom of running your own business. As a parent, it offers another level of convenience that you cannot get when you work for someone else. However, if you are not organised and create yourself some rules you can feel like all you do is work and throw your children at nurseries and relatives, so how do you create a balance? Here are some great tips for parent entrepreneurs and freelancers.
Balancing is a Skill
What you have to remember is that while you may be at home while you work, you are neither a full-time worker or a full-time parent. In order to make this situation work, you are going to have to learn to balance the two. Whether that is grabbing an hour of work while your baby sleeps, or whether realistically you need to have a couple of half days childcare scheduled, finding the pattern that works for you is paramount. Some parent entrepreneurs make it look so easy, their darling little one plays happily on the floor by their desk for hours, while your darlings seem to have one volume and leave you wanting to tear your hair out. It is about finding the balance that works for you.
There is a myriad of apps that help with organisation, from to do lists to full-on task management software. Many offer a free trial period or cut down version so have a look before spending any money and see what works for you. We are fans of Trello and Todoist, both of which are mobile, so work not only on your home based computer but on your phone and tablet too. This means you can stay organised on the go and never miss a trick. Be realising with your time scheduling; there is no point in trying to schedule a meeting for dinner time if the family need you to be in parent mode then.
Clients are just people, and the chances are many of them have families of their own. If you are expecting a new arrival make clients aware of this happy event as it may impact your ability to meet deadlines. Most people respect honesty and will have no problem waiting a little bit for work, especially if you are laying in a hospital bed having given birth or at home looking after the older children while your partner is delivering the new arrival. It is easier for people to feel positive about a delay if they can understand the proper reason behind it. Struggling stoically onwards while missing deadlines left right and centre is not suitable for your business reputation. Clear communication is the key to making sure you maintain a great relationship with your clients. Many parents often state from the start that they will not be at their desk during school run times, but can offer work after the kids are in bed for an hour or so. This flexibility is often what swings a contract for many people.
The Parents in Biz Hub is a supportive community of entrepreneurial parents. It’s an inclusive network where you can share ideas, seek advice, and use your experience and expertise to help others. Find out more here.
Summer holidays are awesome! You get to spend loads of time together with the family creating memories. For the parentpreneur, it can mean you have had to juggle work and spend time with the kids. Back to school can come as quite a shock as you have had no fraught mornings trying to get everyone ready, meals times become fluid, and there is no homework to supervise. So when September comes, just how do you prepare your family for back to school and business?
Start the Groundwork Early
Make sure that everyone knows the routine is about to change again. You will probably have gone shopping for new school stuff, so this is an excellent time to talk about things. If bedtimes have been less rigid then about a week before term starts it is good to put the routines back into place. A calendar is an excellent visual aid that the children can be involved in while you are juggling getting things ready for work and school. Picture cues can be great for younger kids, so it helps them understand that they are off to school again. Get older children to take responsibility for specific tasks and help the younger ones get ready. Have a school collection point in each bedroom so you can easily see if everything is accounted for in terms of clothing, shoes, PE kit, lunch boxes, and water bottles, etc.
Make a List for School
In order to remember everything that needs to happen, or that needs to be purchased, make a list. A large sheet of paper or a whiteboard in the kitchen means that kids play their part. They can add things that they think need to happen and if you agree you can add them to the master list. Prioritise them as you add them into date order. Leaving school shopping right to the end can mean things are sold out, it also gives you less time to sort any problems like new shoes not fitting as well as hoped. If someone has a new pick up point or will be walking a new route add this as a practice item. It can be an activity that everyone helps with; perhaps a good dog walk with the family.
The Business Side
Here is another excellent place to start a list. If you have been on reduced hours in order to spend time with the family, this is a great time to start another list of things you have to do once everyone is safely back in school on the first day. Don’t expect miracles in the first couple of days; it is almost inevitable that problems will occur. Lunches left at home to first day nerves, many things will crop up that need your attention. Be realistic with your time planning and leave anything not urgent until the second half of the week, or even until week two of school. Most parentpreneurs will tell you that work, school, and home are the biggest juggling act ever but when you love what you do, so worth it.
Getting a divorce isn’t easy for any member of the party, and it may be difficult to tell your children about the family changes that are taking place. However, telling your children about divorce or separation doesn’t have to be as difficult as you may think.
There are ways to approach telling your children that will still make them feel confident and loved, and here is how:
Tell Them Together
During a divorce, it is common for a child/children to take sides and for one parent to come out of the divorce process worse than the other. By telling your children about the change together, it presents a united front, and it will show that both parents can still be civil and will stop your child getting dragged into any conflict if there is any.
If this cannot happen, then the best option would be to communicate with each other before telling the child, so that you both know what will be said at the discussion. A structured plan of what to say and what not to say will stop the absent parent from being shone in a bad light, and to avoid sadness for the child.
Tell the Truth
Your children deserve to know the truth and nothing less. This process will affect them emotionally, and there is no point in lying about what is going on, especially when it may come out in the future.
While sharing some of these details with your children may be difficult, you want it to be as easy as possible for them to understand and it is the best way to go about this. By telling them the truth, they will be able to ask questions, plus open and share their feelings more. You know your children better than anyone else, so only use simple language that they are comfortable with.
Tell Them Things Will Be Different
There is no point in denying the fact that this separation will have a big impact on your child’s life and it is important to acknowledge that and not brush it under the table. Your children won’t want to hear about all the changes, but it is important that they know how the movement will affect everyone involved.
Mention everything that may change over the next couple of weeks, whether this is in their home life or education, as the divorce may affect their results as well as living arrangements. Parents should really take this opportunity to emphasise everything that will remain the same, as children hate change.
Tell Them You Love Them
One of the simplest points: remind your child how much not just you, but your soon to be ex-partner love them. It is a reminder to tell your children that they are a production of love and that both of you will be there to support your child throughout every milestone.
Listen to Them
Children, especially those that are younger, may have a lot of questions and it is important to answer these questions rather than avoiding them. The process isn’t just about telling your children about the change, but supporting them throughout the difficult time and it is important to listen to their worries and feelings.
Once the news has been shared with your children, sit back and listen to everything that they may have to say about the situation and comfort them in the best way possible. You should encourage your children to share their feelings and help them communicate exactly what they’re thinking.
This post has been written by Karis Jones, a solicitor in the family law department at Howells Solicitors. Karis’ main area of expertise is private, and public law children matters although she has also obtained several non-Molestation orders for those that have been subjected to domestic violence. Karis also offers legal surgeries on a monthly basis at the YMCA, Huggard centre, and Women’s Aid.
As a parent, setting up a business can be just as worrying a time as exciting. You will want to make sure that your business is a success, not to mention that it doesn’t have a detrimental effect on your family.
You are likely to hope that your family are 100% behind you for your business ideas and efforts, and if they are then it will definitely make things easier. That said, not everyone is lucky enough to have the support of their family when it comes to setting up and running a business.
So, what can you do if you find that your family are not supportive of the things that you hope to achieve when it comes to your business? Here are some of the things that you can consider.
Don’t argue with them
There is a good chance that the lack of support from your family will make you feel frustrated. Unfortunately, the last thing that you are going to want to do is try to argue with them in order to get your point across. Arguing is never beneficial. In fact, it can make the situation even worse. You can end up saying things that you don’t mean to one another, and there is a much lower chance that you will listen to one another’s point of view.
Get your vision across
Just because you should avoid arguments with those unsupportive family members, that doesn’t mean that you should just give up trying to get them to understand your point of view. Instead, it is a good idea to sit down with them and talk calmly about your business idea. You can show them how you see the business progressing and developing, as well as the end goal. If you can show them your vision, then there is a much greater chance that they will get on board and give you the support that you need.
Know what is a genuine concern
Hopefully, you will have plenty of positive people around you to support you when you are setting up and running a business. If you do, and these people raise a concern that they have about your plans, then it is probably on good grounds. You may find it hard to listen to any concerns that are brought up, but if you don’t then this could cause you a problem in the long run. Sometimes it is a good idea to take on board things that people say from outside, as it could highlight things that you are too close to see.
Keep on going
It can be tempting, when you have no-one behind you, to just give up on your dream. But, if you can, then keep on going. You may be surprised by just how much you can push yourself and that you can reach your end goal. And when you do, you can show your doubters that you were always going to get there!
If you’re a parent who’s got a great idea for a business or perhaps you’ve already taken the first steps, PIB HUB is for you. Whatever the shape, size, and nature of your business, and whatever sort of idea you’ve got, community is a great place to evolve, develop, and grow.
Our community will be particularly helpful if you:
- Feel like no one understands your position and don’t have anyone to turn to
- Lack the tools and resources to drive your business forward
- Aren’t making any or very little revenue
- Are feeling overwhelmed
- Are struggling to juggle your business and family life
Starting up your own business can be a scary time. Not only are you likely to worry about the future and whether you will make a success of your business. But you will also have the worry of financial issues and pressure on the rest of your family.
Some entrepreneurs may decide to keep themselves to themselves, rather than burdening other people with their worries or concerns. But this isn’t always the best approach to take. In fact, one of the best things that you can do as a start-up business is to make sure that you have plenty of support around you.
Not sure that a support network is something that you need? Why not take a look at the benefits of a supportive network for your startup business?
What is a support network?
A support network for your business can come in a variety of forms. For some, it is their family, their relatives and their close friends. For others, this could extend to professional contacts too, this could include investors, former business partners, suppliers and maybe even some employees.
It is a good idea, if you can, to make sure that this network is made up of diverse people, as this means that you will always have someone to turn to when you need advice and will have a variety of outlooks and perspectives. It is also a good idea to not only have people that will cheer you on when you need it, but also those that will be able to offer criticism when you need it.
How they can benefit your start-up
There are a variety of ways that a support network can benefit a start-up business. One of the simplest ways is that they are there to provide you with guidance and insight into running a business that could prove invaluable in the long run.
They can also be a sounding board for any ideas that you may want to try out and if they are happy to give you constructive feedback, then this will allow you to make the changes that you need to make sure that the approaches that you take are going to be the right ones.
Another great benefit for having a support network is that they are going to be your champions, they will be there to support and cheer you on, getting you through some of the harder days as well as making sure that everyone out there knows how great you are.
How to maintain your support network
Once you understand that a support network is going to be valuable for your business, it is time to think about how you can look after it. One of the simplest ways you can maintain this network is to show that you appreciate every piece of advice that you are given. Make sure that each and every person in your network knows that you are grateful for what they can offer you and that, if you can, -+you will be able to give something back to them too.
So, if you are starting up your own business, make sure that you have a good network behind you and you might just be surprised by how far it can go!
If you are a parent running a business, then chances are that you are not going to have that much time to spare. Both aspects of your life are going to keep you busy, and you are likely to find yourself feeling that you have been spread too thinly at times.
There are a variety of ways that you can try to help yourself, and one of these is to hire a virtual assistant. But what ways can a virtual assistant help you and how will this have an impact on your family life as well as your business?
They give you time
One thing that we all feel that we could do with more of, is time. Having more time, particularly to spend with our families is one thing that many people say inspired them to set up their own business. However, it isn’t always that easy to free up time when you are running the show alone. There are a variety of tasks that you do, which will take up time. So, why not see if a virtual assistant could to them instead?
They are likely to be experienced in a variety of admin and customer service tasks which means that they can tackle the small stuff whilst you focus on the bigger tasks and also spending time with your family.
They help you to be less stressed
The last thing that you will want is to find yourself getting more and more stressed. Whilst running a business is stressful at times if this is overflowing into your family and home life, then something needs to change.
What are the things that are making you feel stressed out? Are they tasks that could be completed by a virtual assistant? If they are, then perhaps it would be worthwhile sourcing one to help you with them. This will keep your stress levels down and make sure that any time you spend with your family, will be stress-free.
They can even help organise some aspects of family life
Whilst the main reason for hiring a virtual assistant is to help out with business tasks, that isn’t the only things that they can do. There are plenty of virtual assistants out there who are able to offer support and perform family-based tasks too. This could be booking a holiday or perhaps organising a child’s party.
You may find yourself surprised by the things that a virtual assistant can help you to do, and best of all, they are usually available at an affordable price. They often work on a freelance basis, which means that you don’t have to worry about employing them, rather you just hire them as and when you need them and pay them like you would any other service.
One of the biggest concerns to those who are trying to forge their business as well as raise their family is maintaining (or even just reaching) a healthy work-life balance.
The idea that you can be successful about what you want to do in your life, as well as be a great parent is something that could actually be causing more stress than those things themselves.
So, that is why we are here to tell you that you need to stop stressing about the work-life balance. After all, there are plenty of other things your life to think about. Why add into that worry?
To help you, we have put together our guide on how to stop stressing about your work life balance.
It isn’t easy to reach
In an ideal world, a work-life balance would be one of the easiest things to get in your entire life. The truth is, whilst it seems like an easy thing to do, this balance is something that is actually really hard to get, and many don’t even get there.
Sometimes things will slip
Even if you do find yourself achieving a good work-life balance, then chances are that there are going to be times when it slips a little. You might find yourself really busy in your business, with a need to work later nights or longer hours, which takes you away from family.
You may also find the other way round when a child is poorly, or you have a family emergency. Which calls you away from your business.
That said, sometimes it will come naturally
Of course, just as there are times when things can go a bit wrong, there are also going to be times when everything works out perfectly. You will have the right balance between working and raising a family, and chances are that you will be feeling pretty smug about it all.
Just remember, as fast as it is going well, it can all come crashing down again.
Your kids will benefit from seeing you work hard
One thing to remember is that, no matter whether it feels that your children are being neglected whilst you work on your business. They are actually learning about the importance of working hard. Make sure that your children understand that you work hard so that they can enjoy time with you and do fun things and you will hopefully raise children that too will be inspired to own their own business when they are older.