One of the many reasons new entrepreneurs start businesses is so they can stay home with their children. Yet once they set out to make that happen, navigating the world of product development, sales and marketing can seem impossible with little ones in tow.
Here’s how to make working at home with kids work for you.
1. Work with what you have
If you know your children are better behaved in the morning than the afternoon, create a schedule around doing your most important work earlier in the day. Additionally, if a favorite show will keep your child glued to the TV for a good solid 30 minutes, work then—and work hard. Instead of making your children conform to a schedule that only suits you, look at the past few weeks and pinpoint the best way their schedules can accommodate yours.
2. Plan independent activities
Every work-at-home parent should have a structured set of activities planned for their children to do while they are working—so keep in mind the type of activities before you create an elaborate play schedule. Opt for things that allow children to play independently or with each other, such as online learning games, role playing activities, learning printables, or even monthly boxes like the Babba Box.
3. Power through nap time
If there's a guaranteed two-hour window every day when your youngest ones nap, don’t take that time to do cooking or housework. The moment they are in bed, get down to business and power through the absolute “must dos” for the day.
4. Outsource tasks
There comes a time in business when income is finally pouring in, but the time to complete everything simply isn't there—that’s when you need to outsource. Take a look at your daily tasks and decide which are the most tedious or time consuming. Finding someone with more expertise in an area you are lacking means they’ll do it quicker, and you’ll pay less than what you pay yourself to struggle with it. Another plus? You’ll have more time with your family.
5. Daddy or mommy daycare anyone?
If you’re feeling bogged down with a load of work, it’s time to start daddy or mommy daycare and ask your spouse to pitch in more of their time so your business can thrive. Whether it’s one hour or a day or one day a week, having one parent nurture the children while you juggle your business’s duties will allow you to grow to the point where you can hire help down the line.
6. Set late night limits
No spouse wants to spend the evening on the couch alone while their significant other spends the entire evening (and into the early morning, in some cases) working on their business. Set limits on the amount of late nights you put in. Sure, it may take more time for your business to grow, but your marriage will thank you. Keep post-bedtime work hours to a minimum or stick with a two-day-a-week schedule so your spouse can feel the love as much as your business does.
7. Hire childcare when things blow up
At some point in your business, you may find that you are in the groove and things are exploding before your very eyes; this is when you need to sit down and really think about the possibility of childcare. If you enjoy working at home with your little ones, then you can take it slow and hire someone for a few hours a week and see where it goes. Do what feels best for you and success—both in business and family—will follow.
Justine Grey is a Web entrepreneur who writes Work Life Joy for frazzled business builders who long to work vibrantly and live beautifully. You can find her on Twitter at @JustineGrey chatting about life, work and her pop culture obsession.
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