Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Running a Business From Home - The delicate balancing act

Most people see working from home as easy, a piece of cake and really they wish they could have it so easy! "Most People" have NO IDEA!

I can imagine that your home business started out of a desire or a need to earn some extra money for the household, while still being able to look after the children. It's a great accomplishment, running a small business from home and it's and even greater accomplishment (or practicably impossible depending your viewpoint) to run that small business while being the primary care giver to children under school age. Point of fact: In the time it took to write this one paragraph, I've had my pen (three of them) snatched away, my notebook drawn on and I fear I will find pen somewhere it shouldn't be as someone is being a little too quiet which never bodes well. I will pause for a moment to stall any destruction.

*I'm back* (nearly 24 hours later) and no, I did not find where the pen was used ... yet!

So, as I was saying, it's not easy and if you're not driven by a strong desire to continue, throwing in the towel is very appealing. Very, very appealing!

Now imagine with me for a moment running a business from home in these conditions with no plans, no direction and no goals for what you want to do. Does this sound like you?

Just breathe. 
I am not telling you that you need to have some grand big plan for your business to take over the handmade world, honest I'm not. I know why you want it micro, micro is all that works and can work for the time being. But please, you need to be just a little (a teeny tiny little) bit smarter about your business. Believe me it will put your mind at ease and life will be simpler everywhere.

I'm going to suggest a couple of things for you to make life easier on the running a business from home front. Remembering that all plans made with little children do get thrown out the door once in a while.

The first is to have some goals about what you want to achieve with your business. They can be as big or as small as you like, but if it is a big goal, it's a good idea to try and break it down into smaller steps so you gain a sense of accomplishment and get those wins along the way.

Setting goals isn't really that hard, you can take all the courses in the world to be taught complicated goal setting but I'm going to tell you a little secret shhhh: All you need to do is identify a WHAT you want to do and the WHEN.

I will wash the dishes by lunch time each day. 

Simple. Easy. It's got the what (wash the dishes) and it's got a when (lunch time each day).

The second is about looking at how you can do it. This is where your weekly planner comes into play. Please don't laugh out loud here, IT IS A GOOD IDEA TO SET YOURSELF A START AND FINISH TIME FOR YOUR WORK DAY. Think about it, most people get clear boundaries about their work time and their home time. 

When we work from home it is very easy for our home businesses to bleed into our home family time and it won't take long for resentment to build up in the family, you, your partner, your children. Now while others get some very clear start and finish times, yours might not be so .... you might be restricted to nap times, which again is dependent on the little angels to co operate and nap. Whatever your start and finish times are, and regardless of whether you have multiple "shifts" through the day, stick to them. What I really mean is STICK TO THE FINISH TIMES. If you try to "work" all day long while feeding babies and getting lunches, wiping bottoms and cooking dinner your frustration will start to build. Set your boundaries, as best you can and stick to them.

I work best in the morning, especially since I have had children. By the time lunch comes around (which is 11:30am I am ready for naps myself). My children are also happier to entertain themselves in the morning so on a "work day" I let the kids play and I do my work. I try to be as productive as possible and ignore other distractions like email, Facebook  twitter and the black hole that is Pinterest and I just type. Most of my articles get started with pen and paper when I'm watching my children play in the yard or even late at night when inspiration hits. So I transcribed my notes onto the PC and then hope that the words just keep coming quickly enough. My finish time is dependent again on my children and if they are happy I can keep going but today, even though they are happy and have strewn toys everywhere, it's past lunch time so I have to stop and make lunch, otherwise the rest of the day will be ... you know what it will be.

Knowing what your limitations are and that they are somewhat flexible too, gives you permission to take the pressure off. You can only work within your available time and setting yourself deadlines which are not attainable is a recipe for a not so happy mummy! We all know that a happy mummy equals a happy home!

I can hear some of you asking, so if any plan I make is not fixed, why bother making it at all? The answer is easy, your weekly plan, your schedule .. It's not about when you CAN work its about when you CAN'T. As much as you want or even need to work into the wee hours with your creations, set yourself a bedtime and stick to it. Schedule family time and plan around those big rocks in your life. Yes your business is important but so is the reason you are running your business. Please don't lose sight of that.

These two tools (goals and weekly planning) are going to help you gain some much needed boundaries for your business. Yes there is more, but we will "park" that for another day.

Did somebody say Free Download? Here they are...
Weekly Plan
Goals - what by when
Goal Planning Action Sheet

In the interest of full disclosure, this article has taken well over a week with all my interruptions and cuddles (can't forget the cuddles). So please, remember the reasons why you do what you do and enjoy the little moments.


  1. I SOOOOO need to print out those downloads and fill them out!!!! Thank you - Brilliant article as always.

    1. Thank you Nicole, I hope you find it useful and easy to apply.


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