Article written by Blog Post Contributor Lucy
Being both a mother and building a business with children in tow is a great responsibility that has its own special set of challenges. Momtrepreneurs have an extreme set of circumstances and working conditions and have to overcome hurdles that those without children do not have to face. The biggest hurdle that moms have to overcome when building a business from home either alone or while her spouse is working is time management. It is nearly impossible to focus for larger increments of time when small children are in the picture. I am going to share a few key actions that have helped me along the journey of building a home-based business.
1. Communication is Key
Every family has their own unique set of circumstances, so communicating with your spouse or support team is a necessity. Having a clear vision and communicating helps make sense the structure and schedule necessary. In our family, we have a pretty strict schedule (that is adaptable because you never know what can arise with children), and the key to the strict schedule is using time wisely. For me, arising earlier than the family, working during toddler's nap time and bringing my computer or phone along and working during my teenager's practice times is when I get the most accomplished.
2. Be Okay With Chaos
I have had to let go of some of my Type-A tendencies and embrace what I can let go of and be okay with. I like to have a tidy house, and am generally organized, and in our family, all hands are on deck with chores. However, a certain amount of my control has been released to the chaos of a toddler mess, and sometimes we go to bed at night with toys still strewn about (gasp). Since business is a priority, the 15 minutes it takes to pick up those toys can be delegated to answering some texts or emails.
3. Make Lists and Prioritize
Lists are lifesavers. I have multiple lists. I start with a monthly master calendar and start there with my to-do's. Then I look at each week and prioritize by what is a right now priority, what is less urgent, and what can be delegated out. Knowing when to say no to something that is not in alignment with your ultimate goal and business plan is also necessary, or time could be wasted on tasks that are of no benefit.
4. Keep Business and Family Separate
Family is first. I have been guilty of getting in a work-zone and get snippy with my spouse or children because they may interrupt me. I communicate with my spouse how much time I need to accomplish a certain task and set a timer or deadline so that I can turn work off when it is family time. Spending one-on-one time with my husband and each of my children is also a priority. If your children are old enough, it is also good to communicate what you are doing so that they understand and respect your time. Also, keeping business and family finances separate is wise, it prevents chaos and disorder down the road when it comes to taxes and organization.
5. Ask For Help
The first person I go to for help is my spouse. If I have a large list or a deadline to meet, I will communicate with him what I need to make it happen. If I can delegate some of the work out to him, I will do that or will give him 100% kid duty for awhile so that I am not distracted or hold any guilt. If you have friends or family close-by, ask for help. And when your business starts earning some money, use some of your earnings to pay for child care. This took a long time for me to learn, I had a martyr complex and felt that I needed to "do it all myself", but have since realized paying for a sitter for a few hours of silence is perfectly fine, and so much can be accomplished in a short focused time-frame. A coffee shop is my best friend. Getting away from the chaos of home, sipping on a good cup of coffee and working without a self-imposed distraction is one of my best success tools.
No matter where you are on your journey to momtrepreneurship, coming up with a plan and setting aside work hours are two of the first steps to success. Also, having an ability to rebound when things do not go as planned is powerful. It takes a lot of strength to be both a mom and a business-owner, and it is very rewarding and can provide so much for yourself and your family. "Balance" may seem elusive, but it is possible to find your best method to keep your business and your family healthy and happy.
Lucy blog owner of IntegratedMamma