There is a lot to be said for running a business when you have young children. Above all, you get to decide your own priorities and timetable. You can be there for the moments that matter more than anything in life and you can also build a business that you believe in.
Those advantages mean that mums in business can be more focused and driven than anyone in corporate life. Making it work, is worth the effort.
And we are hungry for tips and information on how to make this often delicate balance a bit easier. So here are our top tips for easing your way as a mum who means business:
1. Value your time and space
The joy of working for yourself is that you can set your own schedule. It may suit you to work in the evening after your kids go to bed, or early morning before they are up. If you have childcare or they are at school, you may need to make the most of every minute they are away. The key is to set your schedule and allow no unnecessary interruptions. If you work from home, less busy friends might think it’s OK to drop in or call for a chat. Tell them firmly that you’re busy and what your work hours are.
2. Focus and outsource
You have limited time, so don’t waste it on anything that anyone else could do better. If you focus your time on only the things that you can do well and outsource the rest, before too long you’ll find that every minute you spend on the business has a higher return. Things to consider outsourcing include: accountancy and book-keeping, social media and even domestic tasks like cleaning and gardening.
3. Automate what you can
Could you use technology better to automate routine tasks and tighten up productivity? For example: online calendar, event management, project planning systems like Trello and hosted phone systems like Cloud Telephony By Gamma. Do an audit of all of the routine tasks in your business and consider what could be improved or replaced by better use of technology.
4. Have a strategy for mealtimes
Meals are the heart of any family. Ideally it’s a time where you come together to share, support and be nourished. Don’t laugh! If your experience is a fish fingers punctuated battle ground, our hacks can only help! First, do a meal plan for the week ahead. If this is a massive challenge then do 2 or 3 weeks and just keep repeating it. Do the weekly shop online – and again, if you are rotating set plans, this will take mere minutes after you’ve set up the first times.
Get ahead where you can. You could spend a few hours a week pre-preparing for the week ahead or cook double and freeze every time you make certain meals.
5. Wall planners work
Technology is great. But when it comes to family events and happenings, things can get lost online. Too many distractions maybe! There is still a lot to be said for the old-school family wall planner, hanging on the wall in plain sight. Complement it with online tools like Wunderlist for ‘to do’s’ or shopping lists and shared calendars.
6. Wellbeing is your foundation
Sustainability in your business and family, starts with personal sustainability. That means keeping fit and well in yourself. When time is already tight that may seem like an impossible indulgence, but it’s really an essential foundation. A hack approach can make it a reality too. Wellbeing should be a daily habit rather than an occasional afterthought. The trick is to anchor those good habits onto other daily routines. Start by deciding what you need to do for your wellbeing. Then build it into your routine, for example getting up half an hour early to do some morning exercises and meditation; walking to collect the kids from school, rather than driving.
You get the idea. What’s clear is that without a plan and a routine we all just muddle through. Taking a little time to prioritise, plan and refocus will transform your life and your business.