Right now, as you read this, I’m smack dab in the middle of building a business. It’s a surreal and exhilarating feeling, to put so much hard work into creating something from vision to reality. I’ve dedicated so much of my focus to this undertaking and it feels so good to be doing this, for myself and for my family.
There’s a constant outpouring of ideas coming out of my mind. I’m constantly thinking up new marketing programs and promotional ideas, dreaming up launch parties, discussing employee conduct and branding ideas – there’s so much to do! It can get exhausting sometimes, and there were some days that I felt a bit burnt out, but most nights I either lay awake with anticipation or dream about my ideal shop!
As you can imagine, this venture has taken up quite a bit of my time. And I thought I already had my hands full with work, blogging, husband, kids, and a house to manage! It’s been a bit of a juggling act, with some days being more successful than others, but we’ve developed a flow in our household that’s working for us, and I wanted to share some tips on how to create a business while raising a family.
This is the time in your life to be more determined than you’ve ever been before, and to work as hard as you possible can – at everything! You are going to have to work your butt off to get your business running, you’re going to have to work harder at family, at home, at health, at relationships – things will become more challenging. But curb the complaints – remember, YOU wanted this! Anytime you’re feeling overwhelmed and down a bit, remember why you wanted to do this in the first place.
Always put your best face forward. Don’t only slap a smile on for a client, be your cheerful, happy self to your children, your family members, and your friends. Be an inspiring individual, remind yourself that you’re working towards a goal. Yes, it’s hard. But you’ve got this.
Time is of the essence, especially in a full household. Depending on your daily schedules and routines, you will need to carve out essential and focused time for your business, without impeding on your family time, your home life, and your own personal time. This means focusing on tasks at hand, ignoring the call of social media and unnecessary Facebook updates, and using time management techniques or creative multi-tasking.
On a typical day I wake up just before 6 am and get my “necessary” tasks out of the way; think emails, to-do lists, organizing, and planning my day, week, and month. By 7 am the kids are up, and it’s morning routine time, then out the door by 8 am. I’m usually back home before 9 am, and my “work hours” are from 9 am to 4 pm. However!!! Some days are taken up by client meetings or doing business errands, or even personal appointments. I have to plan my time properly, and use the time I have efficiently to really get shit done.
During your “business hours” you should be very focused on your work. A client at a meeting gets all your attention. You take notes during a workshop, and you spend time ensuring your invoices are correct and look great. Your business is another baby in your life that needs your full attention.
Do the same for your children and other loved ones in your life. When it’s family time, be fully present – don’t check your emails, don’t look at your phone, don’t do “just one more thing”. Same goes for dinner dates with your partner, or time spent with friends. Make your time with your loved ones just as important as your work.
Being self-employed means setting your own schedule, right? You could time your day down to the minute in attempts to get through your workload – but sometimes things don’t go as planned. There are deadlines, client meetings, an exploding inbox and a phone call from your daycare provider asking for your child to be picked up because of the dreaded 3D*.
At this point you may feel like the universe is testing you. But what else can you do, other than take a deep breath, think positive, and pick up your kid? I like to think that the universe is sending me a personal message: “your child needs to be with you right now, everything else can wait”. I get to spend time with my child, and I move my workload to after the kids’ bedtime, and everyone (including me!) can sleep a little happier that night.
There are some days that will really push you over the edge. It will seem that your never-ending ‘To Do’ list is encroaching on your days, your household is falling apart, your relationship is failing. Time to take a break – fifteen minutes, an hour, or a day, just take a break. Go for a walk. Reflect. Remind yourself again why you want this. Be grateful for the opportunities you’ve been given.
It’s so much easier to just put your bitch face on, trust me, I know. It’s easier to take out your frustrations on the people around you – but don’t. Not only will it plant seeds of doubt in your loved ones’ eyes, they might start thinking that you may not have what it takes or that this work choice might not be right for you. Because if you’re not happy at work, why are you doing it?
It’s hard to take negativity back. Instead, be grateful. Remember that you are inspiring those around you. You are showing your children that you are a strong woman who is pursuing her dreams. You are showing your partner that you’re happy with your choice, and that it’s making you a better person, not worse. You are following your dreams, and you should do so with grace.
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Solutions to the work-life balance comes in many different forms, but when it comes right down to it, it’s your business and your life – it comes down to you. Do you have any tips to share about how to achieve a work-life balance? How do you run a business while raising a family?
*3D – what is this? I recently discovered that if your child has three loose bowel movements (aka. diarrhea) your daycare provider legally has to call you and ask you to pick up your child. Even if he’s fine by all other means. Now you know.