It is a very appealing option to many mothers. Imagine being able to work for yourself so that you can incorporate all the flexibility you need into your working day. There may be an option to work from home so you have no commute times and to reduce child care fees. It often seems like the closest we will get to work-life balance.
There is of course another side to running your own business. The difficult side which can be riddled with problems.
Here are some tips for mums who currently run or who are looking to run their own business.
1. Being the business owner means that you are never off duty. There is a huge temptation to work day and night and to grab those extra spare moments at weekends when you can. After all, what you are building here is for you and your family. If this works out the way you want to then the hours will be worth it.
It is so easy to be totally consumed by your business that you start to neglect your responsibilities to your family. The very thing that you thought would afford you extra time with your children may be doing just the opposite.
Set yourself limits. Times when you will NOT check your email nor answer your phone. Times when your ideas will simply be noted on a piece of paper for future thought. Be clear with yourself, your family and your clients when these periods are so you can plan quality activities with the family and know that interruptions will be minimised.
2. If you are running your business from home then you will also need to define a physical space. Sitting down at your desk to discover that your child has made a paper plane from your important meeting notes is going to cause a lot of angst. Again, you need to be clear with everyone in your household what the area is. It may be an entire room, a desk or simply a box where you store all your work related belongings.
3. If you are starting your business or running it alone, then make sure that you get out and about. Network and promote your business. When working from home or just a small office on your own it can be tempting to dress in casual clothes and hide behind your computer. To realise the true potential of your business you need to get out and be seen.
4. Ensure that your business gives you and your family what is needed financially and that you have identified all the set up costs. One of the most common matters debated in family arguments is finances. Don’t let the joy and elation of finding a family friendly option turn into the reasons for disquiet in the family.
5. Use the skills that you have honed as a mother. You are resilient, you have amazing organisational skills, you have patience, you can multi-task, you are passionate and you know how to make everything around you run smoothly. You may not have run a business on your own before, but running a household is not that different.
6. Communicate. This is surely the most important point. Although this is your own business, all that you do and it becomes will impact on your family. Make sure that you have had discussions from the outset about how much investment you can afford, how you will be measuring success, what hours you expect to work, will you need to travel, will you need to network in the evenings, when and how will you review your company’s performance and decide if it is delivering as planned.
Having the buy in and support of the whole family will allow you to shake off working mother’s guilt and help you to take your business to the tallest heights of success.