How to manage family time with business as a female entrepreneur
Starting a business will inevitably put a strain on your family; plan ahead to limit this
Starting your own business will change your live and it’ll invariably put a strain on your family. If you don’t believe us, ask anyone who’s done it and they’ll tell of that having a business is like a new born child that needs constant attention. Therefore, it’s something you need to think about and something you need to discuss with your partner before taking the plunge.
No matter how many hours you’re working now, you’ll inevitably have to work more when running a business – if not all of the time, at least some of it. Also consider that while your business will be your baby and you can decide what to do with it, it’ll also be your responsibility and that will affect when and how much holiday you’re able to take – will this be an issue with your family?
It’s also essential to consider who takes care of domestic issues. According to a recent survey by Bibby Financial Services, women still carry out far more domestic household duties than men. The same survey also found than entrepreneurs spend little time on domestic duties. No matter how modern your relationship, it’s wise to tackle this in advance so that you and your partner are comfortable about how running a business may impact on your relationship and also, potentially, change their home life.
If you currently care for your children during working hours or are responsible for taking and picking them up from school, it’s something you’ll have to consider before going ahead with the business.
Even if you’re working from home it’s likely to be an issue. The times you’re out of the house with the children are lost ‘office’ hours and times when potential customers won’t be able to contact you. Likewise, with very young children it’d be unwise to try and care for them and work at home at the same time. Clients are unlikely to react well to the shrill of crying babies in the background, and besides, what happens when a really important meeting suddenly pops up out of the blue?
It is, of course, possible to catch up with missed hours once the children are tucked away in bed, but you need to consider whether this is something you, and also your partner, are prepared to accept – is this time you’d like to spend together unwinding? A better option is to factor in childcare provision and then benefit from the extra cash if it turns out you don’t need it all of the time. Remember, running a business is likely to be just as time-consuming as having a full-time job – if not more.
What’s more, deciding to starting a business before motherhood isn’t a decision never to children. It’s a tired ode, but where there’s a will there’s a way and as a working mother you would have to make childcare arrangements anyway. Only if you’re planning to start a family in the very near future should you plan how to manage the situation now.
It’s important to set aside family time. Speak with your partner and family first about what will be ‘business time’ and what will be ‘you and them’ time – and try and agree realistically when this should be. There will obviously be occassions when these times overlap but try and stick to them as much as possible.
You’ll find that by limiting yourself to work hours (whatever you decide these to be) it’ll force you to be more efficient with your time and you’ll be less likely to be distracted by ‘nice’ things you know you’ll have time to do later. Setting clear quidelines will also make it easier for your family to accept when you’re working and when you’re not – this is especially privalent when working from home. If you’re family know they’ll have time to speak to you later on they can leave you in peace to get on with some work, but if seems like you’re always working or there’s no clear disctinction between when you are and when you’re not, you can’t complain at being interrupted. Treat your new business as you would a lodger, by setting down a few ground rules that everyone’s happy with and reassess these every couple of months.
Treat your new business as you would a lodger, by setting down a few ground rules that everyone’s happy with.