Running a business and having a baby – can it even be done?
Having children is one of the most rewarding and exhausting things in the world. Yet… it can also be all consuming and feel overwhelming. Many parents want to have something else as well, have something that is truly just for them, but is running a business and having a baby realistic?
Having young children at home gives you seemingly no time at all, and then in the quiet periods a little too much time. While it is vital that you never push yourself beyond safe limits, owning a small business can be a personal achievement and give you a sense of self too. As a mum of four I know that I found it difficult to balance my own needs and desire to achieve things with being a mother. I found starting my own small business liberating and also very challenging.
How do you balance running a business and having a baby and running your home?
Use the micro time
If you are thinking about running a business and having a baby you need to let go of the traditional notion of working hours. There is no 9-5 when you run a business and have kids. To make it work I think you have to be practical and flexible and be ready to switch between mummy mode and business mode. It is the small moments in time that you have, the hour that your baby might nap or the few hours you might get before you need to sleep. Micro-moments can be the saviour of keeping your small business running or planning for it.
Use your micro time to:
- Do quick admin
- Respond to emails
- Make notes
- Research themes
- Look at tools that are cheap or free and can help you automate
- Create a loose schedule so you can see where you may have time
Be a Realist
Having big dreams for your business is essential. However, your business can grow over time, just like your children. Be honest with yourself and give yourself a break.
Can you take on six new clients? Or can you take on one and do some outstanding work?
Take your biggest goals and break them down into smaller ones that fit within your micro-time and your real-world schedule. Personally I decided with my small business writing CVs and providing career coaching that I couldn’t advertise as I wouldn’t be able to keep up with larger numbers of clients. Instead I focused on building a great reputation with each client and on word of mouth to slowly grow my business at a pace that I could manage and now as all my children are at school I have a solid base that I can build from.
Being realistic about what is achievable and how much you can take on will save you a lot of stress and from putting too much pressure on yourself.
While the primary aim might be to have a global business, in the meantime, a local focus can be more beneficial and easier to manage. For product-based businesses, you can take advantage of local deliveries, either delivering yourself or using a company like Shiply. Building your local presence on the internet can be really useful and creating a business profile within Google My Companyu can be great for this purpose.
Staying local initially makes life easier for attending meetings and creating or joining local business networks. They will be easier to attend and local resources or small business perks will be easier to utilise (check government websites). Don’t forget you could use your micro research time to find small business support and networking groups in your area.
Sometimes more hands make light work. You might need someone to watch the baby while you take some important calls. Perhaps you need a friend to come over and help with packing and wrapping to send products. While you can manage plenty by yourself, if you don’t have to – then don’t.
Get your morning to-do list done as a matter of priority. If you don’t have the time to make Instagram pretty, then so be it. The aim of the game is to give you a clear idea of what you need to do today.
Where possible, be as flexible with what you can do; there will be some days that your child needs you, and others they want to play alone. The beauty of starting or running your own business is that you can take time when you need it. A key factor in that flexibility is being open and honest with clients as much as possible. Having a strict time where they can get in touch, and when you are available. I have found that it is much better to give a longer lead time that allows for flexibility than promise something that you will struggle to deliver.
Need tips on getting those extra evening hours? Read this > What Are the Secrets of Getting a Newborn to Sleep.
So running a business and having a baby – can you? Well the answer is of course you can, but you need to be realistic and it isn’t for the faint hearted. I have had to work in the middle of the night and get up very early to get things done. I have found it extremely frustrating to not be able to progress at the pace I might of liked, but I am also very proud of myself for starting my business and building it up (how ever slowly). Running a business and having a baby allowed me to stay at home with my kids and allowed me to still feel like I was using my brain. It may be a very small business, but it has potential and it is all mine. I work around my family and I love that I have created something for me that is outside of being mummy.