Six Ways Mums can Create Balance Whilst Running a Business From Home
Guest post – Sandra Swan Coaching
I’ve enjoyed building a successful business from home whilst being a wife, and Mum to two boys aged six and seven. It’s meant that I’ve been able to offer flexibility to my clients, and be there for my family when they need me.
I wanted to share the things I’ve done to achieve a great work/life balance so that if you’re struggling, you might find these tips help:
1) Set clear boundaries for myself
Deciding what hours I work on my business is one of the benefits of being my own boss. If you’re an early morning person you might like to start at 7am and finish by 3pm for instance. Of course, you have the flexibility to change your hours if the need arises, and you will find that in the peaks you’ll work longer. That’s ok, as long as whenever possible you keep within your chosen parameters. I’ve found it takes a degree of discipline not to get into the habit of working all hours
2) Set clear boundaries for my family
I have two rooms at home that are dedicated to my work. One where I see clients and the other is my office. My family respects that the ‘coaching room’ is where I see clients and they don’t go in there. I know there will be a time when my boys are a little older and want to have their own space apart from their bedroom and I will need to be flexible about this space. When that time comes, I will ask that rules be abided by, and if they use the room to hang out with their friends etc, I will expect them to respect its purpose and leave it as they find it.
3) Set expectations right at the beginning of my working relationships
If you don’t want customers calling you at 10pm of an evening, either get a separate phone line for business calls and leave them to go to voicemail, or screen all numbers you don’t recognize, or answer and explain you don’t work past 7pm (or whatever time you’ve chosen). Offer to phone them back at a convenient time. If you take a call at 10pm from a potential customer, you will educate them from the outset that you are happy to take calls at that time of night throughout your relationship with them.
4) Dedicate a space /room
I’ve found that having a room in the house where my work happens means I can more easily switch off.
On a practical note, if my kids are anything to go by, if you leave your important paperwork lying about, it’s likely to turn into a paper airplane sooner than you can shout ‘stop, that’s an important document!’
5) Look after my wellbeing
Looking after my physical, mental and emotional wellbeing is my number one top priority. If you were a car, you would expect to break down if you put diesel in your unleaded engine; if you didn’t get a regular service, and if you continually ran on empty. Your all round health is important because you are your business. Things I have chosen to do to do take care of myself include:
- See a qualified nutritionist – find out what foods energise you, and which make you sluggish
- Seek out a personal trainer/ yoga/pilates teacher – design a sustainable exercise programme, that will fit in around your lifestyle.
- Book regular lunch breaks – as well as creating time to top up your tank, it’s a great way to create space for new ideas to emerge.
- Schedule time out – do whatever floats your boat and makes it all worthwhile.
- Ask for help!
Asking for help has been one of my biggest challenges, and one of my keys to success! There is no doubt that trying to do it all on your own is simply impossible. It’s taken me years to get comfortable asking for help, but when I have it has reaped significant rewards.
When we had our first child, my husband negotiated flexible hours with his employer so that he could help out at home, and be there for the boys if I wasn’t. His help has been invaluable. It has been just as important that I feel supported in my business decisions. This is not my husband’s forte, so I invest in regular business coaching. I have chosen group coaching, so I feel part of a community of like-minded people. We meet weekly for inspiration, motivation and a healthy dose of TLC. If I’m having a bad time, this gathering always helps me feel better, and if I’m having a good time, we celebrate what’s going well.
Sandra Swan coaches midlife professionals to enjoy more fulfilling work, helping them make career changes, or supporting them to successfully run a small business. In 2000 after being