Top tips for running a business from home with kids in 2023

running a business from home with kids

So many parents are taking the leap and running a business from home with kids in tow. The problem is when parents are looking to expand their horizons in terms of starting and running a business. Running a business from home is something that many parents are working towards because they need control over their schedule. So many organisations do not provide that flexibility, so the one true way to have more control is to start a business.

But running a business from home when children can be overwhelming. Many people find it hard enough to run a business without children climbing and shouting. This is why we’ve got to make sure we parent-proof our startup. Let’s dive in and show you some practical approaches that can work for you when running a business from home with kids.

Schedule, Schedule, Schedule!

Having a structure is so important. You might think there is no point in having a structure because your children will not play ball. But you have to remember the schedule is for you, not for them. You can build a work schedule for your team that you can stick to as well, but the trick to creating an effective schedule is about making sure you know what has to be done on that day. 

You can create a schedule for the entire week, but you may find that things change from day to day, either because of your child or because of the business’s needs. This is particularly true during the initial stages of running a company when you are still finding your feet. When it comes to scheduling, you need to consider some of the following: 

  • Child nap times. 
  • When you are at your most productive
  • When you can do “deep work” and/or smaller tasks.

Every child is different, and therefore what will work for you will not work for the next mum, but if you can have a loose structure for your day, you have something to aim for and you will not feel as overwhelmed.

Set Up a Dedicated Workspace

It’s not always possible but if you have a spare room, turning this into an office will be invaluable to your productivity. Working at the kitchen table is difficult because there’s no sense of division between the business and family needs. It’s essential to keep these as separate as possible so you can get more done. It might not be so feasible with younger kids, but if you need to work at the kitchen table, make sure these tasks are ones that don’t require a high level of attention. 

Being able to stop in the middle of something and come back to it without losing too much of your flow will keep productivity relatively high. In an ideal world, you’d be able to sit down and do everything, but when you have children who may potentially disrupt your work every 40 to 50 seconds, you need to have a better grasp of when you can work more effectively. While having a dedicated workspace is beneficial, if you are looking after the kids by yourself, you need to get a sense of balance.

Working in Shifts

If you have a partner that works at home too, you have to get the balance right. This is not always possible, but you will soon understand what needs to be accomplished in the space of the day in order to keep everything going smoothly. When you structure your day, you will have a better understanding of how to work more effectively, but there will be days when you can’t get anything done, such as when your children are unwell. It’s those days when you have to be in “survival mode” and muddle through as best as you can. This is not always an easy thing to do, especially when trying to please customers, but we all have to remember that the vast majority of customers or clients are human and will appreciate there are things that crop up from time to time. 

We all make mistakes and this is why we have to be upfront if there’s going to be a delay in delivering a service. There will be those problem customers who will complain that the sky’s too blue and whatever hoops you have jumped through are not good enough. Instead of bending over backwards for those people, you may have to ask yourself if they are the type of person you want to work with. This doesn’t excuse you from delivering stellar customer service, and while it pays to be ultra-comparative by delivering your services quicker than others, you may find that when it all gets too much, a backup plan, where you and your partner work in shifts and knowing getting the bare minimum done is a success may be all that matters.

If They Are Old Enough, Explain It to Your Kids

If your children are old enough to understand, you need to keep them in the know. When we have these conversations with our kids, it’s important to communicate that we are there for them, but they will need to entertain themselves for a specific amount of time. You might not necessarily like the idea of using television as a babysitter, but if it means you will get a solid chunk of work done, this is worthwhile. 

When you know you need to complete a specific number of tasks and you have an idea how long it will take, having that conversation with your child about what you need to do and what you will do with them once everything is done will hopefully placate them for long enough. Lots of children notice a change in the household when you’re trying to work; we can feel more on edge and frustrated, especially when deadlines are in the mix, and this can mean that we can take it out on our children, which could cause more problems

Because our children just want our attention, if we can clearly define what we’re trying to do and what they can do to help us for a specific period of time, this can make for a less stressful environment. Giving your children some snacks and sitting them in front of their favourite movie means you know how long you’ve got to complete those tasks. Once your child is able to understand, they can look after themselves without needing your input all the time, and you should capitalise on this by incorporating it into your schedule.

Ensuring You Are Ready for the Unknown

There are so many parents that can feel like they are barely surviving when they’re trying to work at home. When you run a business at home, you can feel the pressure that everything needs to be greatly refined. The problem with this is that we end up aiming for perfection. We want to deliver great customer service and we want to be organised. We’ve got to be aware of those worst-case scenarios, but also the things that can catch us by surprise. 

You may find it tough to keep on top of everything which is why having a number of backup plans will not just keep your sanity but also keep the business ticking over. Whether this means doing the bare minimum or working when your children are asleep to having a word with your partner about you stepping out of the house for a few hours to get some solid work done, having an array of backup plans is not just going to benefit your home life, but being ready for the unknown is an amazing lesson that every business owner should learn, not just us parents!

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