Oh, the freedom of being your own boss. So many working mothers see it as the answer to their work-life balance woes, but once they embark on entrepreneurship many get a harsh dose of reality — it can be harder than working for THE MAN.
So much of the article rings true as I have balanced a business for the last seven years while juggling pregnancies, babies, car pooling, kids sickness, school events, community and household chores.
Working at home has its own challenges that differ from working moms and dads who leave home each day and enter the business world separate from their residence.
When I talk to people and they say “Oh you are so lucky that you get to work from home”, while it’s true and I do greatly appreciate and am Thankful for that option, they don’t know that I quietly also wish that I had an office to go to some days.
It doesn’t matter if you’re a work-at-home parent or if you don’t have kids, the challenge remains in the fact that you are solely responsible for the running of your online business, so it needs to be done efficiently… even if the laundry is piled up and talking to you.
Parents are often plagued by more work at home pitfalls than those without kids, just because kids bring a new element into the mix that stirs up more opportunity for interruptions and sometimes means less space is available for the work area.. for me it often means returning to my desk to find someone pounding on my keyboard.
Creating Your Work At Home Space
The first thing you want to do when trying to balance your home life with your online business is carve out a space that is dedicated to your ‘net marketing endeavors. It doesn’t have to be a lot of space – as long as you have a corner spot to place your computer and other online accessories that you use. I know this isn’t always easy as I just lost my good headset to a fall from Webkinz world.
It’s best if you can have a space where you can go to work on your online business without distractions, but this isn’t always possible. If the noise is too much, you might consider setting off-peak hours, such as working only when the rest of the household members are in bed and you can concentrate on what you need to do. I personally get my best thinking work done from midnight to 4 a.m..
Flexibility and Getting Work Done
Moms love the flexibility they have in working from home and on the ‘net. If the kids have a soccer game, you’re free to shut down the computer and take off on a whim.. or at least have your Blackberry. If your spouse wants to take off for a weekend, then having your business online allows you to take your laptop with you and log on to check in from anywhere there’s an Internet connection.
While this is a lovely option, do not let it become a pitfall as time quickly slips through the cracks. Create a work schedule, set your limits and hold yourself accountable.
Outsourcing for Online Business Growth
One lesson that I learned too late was the value of outsourcing.
As a mom, we often feel that we need to do “everything” and honestly, it’s impossible to be everything to everyone. Whether you decide to get help around the house with childcare or cleaning or you pick up a virtual assistant, it can not only grow your business but save your sanity.
Your Online Business Growth Evaluation
A business mentor is something that everyone should have, I know some people that invest $20,000.00 a year on a mentor because they know the value will come back ten fold.
My personal business mentor once advised me to write down in a journal everything I do in a day then reflect on it after one week.
Next, go through your journal and highlight every business related action you made- updating a webpage, packing an order to ship, answering a customer call, writing advertisements, working with clients.
Look at these with fresh eyes and put a dollar amount to each one. Did it cost you time? That’s a negative dollar amount.. did it MAKE you money? Like networking and building relationships with customers? That EARNs you money.
The goal here is to understand the time sucking activities that are costing you time and money and outsource those so you, the BUSINESS owner, can do your job of GROWING your business.
This won’t solve the home balancing act- it doesn’t matter if you are a stay at home mom, a corporate job mom, an hourly working mom or an online business mom.. it’s never perfect, but it can make it a bit easier and more profitable.