When you go into business communities, you can be sure that someone is caring for their parents alongside running their business.
You may be surprised how many people are.
One person publishes a blog post about it, mentions it offhand, and the floodgates open, ‘yes, that’s me too’.
One advantage to having your own business is the ability to do the caring yourself, or at least a lot more of it. It brings unique challenges when you’re solely responsible for bringing in clients, looking after clients, AND dealing with the unexpectedness of an ill parent. There is an overlap with the responsibilities of caring for children, only ‘minders’ for your independent minded adult parent presents a few more challenges.
It Happened To Me
My partner’s father was very independent of mind and body. He lived in his own home, completely independent at 89. That’s him in the photo on his wedding day.
Then he fell down the cellar steps and banged his head and 2 years of our lives being turned upside down began.
We (my partner and I) knew that most older people who have a serious fall don’t live beyond a few months. Do you start to prepare yourself for the seemingly inevitable, or say no, he will be the exception to the statistic? Of course, all those mental arguments are logical thinking and are completely ignored by your emotions. Your emotions assume the worst and the best and all variations of in between. It’s exhausting!
In the next few months he nearly died several times and didn’t because of his exceptional strength and health and the incredible care he received at the local hospital. Being in London has its advantages when the world expert in what he needed did several high risk procedures that other specialists wouldn’t have done because of his age.
Over the next 2 years 3 of us in the family arranged our lives around caring for him. The minimum was full time, the most was 24/7 when he has very ill at times. Unexpectedly he died this August, at his favourite time of year and in no pain.
How We Cared For Our Businesses
My partner and I both have businesses. He does live-streaming, audio and visual in education and I help one man bands understand and do their own accounts.
Let me say this now, a business and caring for a parent are not easy bed fellows. My father in law’s accident came only 6 months into my seedling business when it had barely germinated. My partner’s work is regular but the nature of it is at short notice. Neither are a good fit for the strain of full time caring.
What we did was prioritise ourselves personally as much as we prioritised caring for his father. If the support system goes, the care goes. He did the direct caring, I was the back up and running our lives support. I will not pretend it was easy doing nice things for myself to keep me nurtured when I knew my partner was having a bad day. I also knew logically that he needed me in a good place to support and nurture him when he came home.
Both of us kept going, one step at a time. Sometimes it was a crawl at a time. I look back now and both our businesses made incredible progress and growth in the past 2 years despite the immense stress we were under.
How You Can Structure Your Business To Reduce Caring Stress
When I started my business, ironically one of the factors in my business model was structuring it so time was mostly independent of income.
That way if life sent one of its curveballs my business could still run as it usually did. I have come a long way in putting that structure into place when in the middle of the curveball!
There are a lot of ways of doing this and it’s beyond the scope of this post to go into them. A few of the options available:
- Outsource basic systems so it’s not your time involved (hiring a virtual assistant (VA): email, phone call answering, social media, basic admin)
- Passive income (affiliate, ads, sponsors)
- One-time investment income (e-products with outsourced support, e.g. The Tax Return Toolkit)
- Subcontractors or employees (you choose which client work to do personally)
- Automated marketing (structuring your marketing so you can set it in advance)
- Structuring your business and personal finances to have increased financial resilience (have a look at my blog for ideas)
Caring for parents is a life situation needing similar considerations to caring for children, illness in yourself or a loved one, or even going travelling for an extended time.
Take the opportunity to look at your business and how you can change its structure to give you the best options when life happens.
Caring for your business when caring for your parent can be done, and it’s easier if prepared. If you’re in this situation too, or just want to talk about how I managed, please comment or you’re welcome to contact me.