Are you one of the many women inspired by being a mother and spending time at home with the kids? Maybe this is the first time you’ve had space to think creatively and strategically about starting your own business.
After all, what could be better than working from home; earning, learning and achieving success, while also being there for your children?
Some of the benefits of working from home include:
Flexibility to work the hours that suit you and your family
Enjoy all the benefits of having an income without being a wage slave
Save on full-time childcare costs
No boss to watch you working hard (watching the clock)
No mad rush to get out the door each day and commute to work
Relieve your partner from the pressure of being the bread-winner
Self-employment can bring personal satisfaction, which leads to greater self-esteem and happiness
Working from home tips
Whether you’re bored with your current job, a careerist who dreads returning to corporate life, or simply have a big idea and energy to burn, be sure to aim high. Your new business could be the start of something big. Many entrepreneurs started in their kitchen or garage when their children were small.
You can’t do everything. Delegate or eliminate the activities in your life that aren’t the most profitable use of your time. First to go are domestic chores.
Use an online grocery service. You’ll be amazed by how much time you’ll save.
Get your partner to take over cooking and putting the children to bed. Or at least work out a roster for alternate nights.
Make and freeze meals to use when you’re facing deadlines.
Forget about being house-proud. If you spend your precious time washing and scrubbing, your business will be the thing that gathers dust.
Cut back on dinner parties and other time-consuming and labour-intensive social occasions. Instead, catch up with friends for coffee or a walk in the park. Explain to people that your business is a high priority and demands your full focus right now.
Set up a good space that you’ll enjoy working in. Be it a desk in the kitchen, an office in the garage, or a workroom in your walk-in wardrobe. Make it as comfortable, attractive and space-efficient as possible. Invest in:
Good storage systems
A comfortable and correct chair
Quality equipment and devices, including a white board
And here are the three must-haves that give you freedom, flexibility and more time with your children:
These three items mean you can be working everywhere and anywhere, from play dates and swimming lessons to afternoon tea at Grandma’s.
Working around the children
We all know that kids can be a handful at times. If you’re running a business there are a few little things you can do to balance the two:
Instead of calling people, use Messenger and other chat platforms. No one can hear your 3-year old scream online.
Arrange your work schedule around their sleeping patterns, i.e. make conference calls during daytime naps.
If you can, get up an hour or more before everyone else and squeeze in some quality work time.
Always have tasty snacks and fun toys on hand in case your little one starts to bellow while you’re on the phone or trying to meet deadlines.
Keeping the kids amused while you work
Sometimes, it’s not as easy as getting work done while your little ones are napping. There will be times when the kids demand entertainment. Here are some tips so you can carry on with your work:
Give them some work of their own. Set up a little desk next to yours. Equip with an old phone, colouring-in books, crayons, paper and pencils.
Spread out a plastic sheet with pots of play dough and utensils.
Keep a box of puzzles, books and special toys in your workspace. Let them use these only when you’re working.
Buy a portable DVD player for your workspace. Again, only let the children watch it when you’re working. Also great for when you have to take the kids with you to see a supplier or vendor, as it’s small enough to carry in your bag.
Set your child up on their own computer. Show them how to play games or point them to one of the many “how to draw” sites.
Prepare a snack picnic – containers of many different foods such as raisins, carrot buttons, celery sticks, nuts, slices of fruit, dried fruits, etc. Corn on the cob is especially good for keeping small ones busy.
Take your laptop to the backyard or the local playground, so you can work while the kids play.
And remember, if your child is playing quietly or simply sitting daydreaming, leave them to it. One word from you could break the spell and they’ll want to play with you instead.