6 Reasons I Can Run a Business with 6 Kids at Home
By Linsey Knerl (1099 Mom)
It's time to get real for a moment. I have 6 kids and I work from home. I also homeschool. I also have a 3.8 acre " farm". So how do I get all my work done and keep the family running? It's hard, but I also do things a bit outside the box.
1. I dispel the notion that all work can be done around all kids. Most work-at-home moms I know with "professional" businesses work any chance they aren't taking care of kids. During naps. While the kids are in school or at a friends' house. Some even have a nanny or older sibling care for the kids during work hours. And then there is the spouse. My husband does a lot of the caregiving for our kids, and he has since we were married.
2. I schedule client "face time" when it can be done appropriately. No conference calls during family time. Anything that puts me on the phone with a customer has to be done in a separate, quiet room where I can give them my attention and respect. Kids cannot be in this "zone" where they could interrupt or make me out to be unprofessional. And someone must be watching them during this time.
3. I delegate; micromanaging isn't an option. If you are the type of mom who is scrambling to find lost shoes, has to help all the kids to brush their teeth, or are the only one available to sign for packages and answer phone calls, working from home will be very stressful for you. You need to learn to delegate all you can, so that you can do the highly-specialized tasks associated with your work. Parenting tasks that others can do should be handed to them some of the time. Tasks like nursing, cuddling, or other "mommy" tasks should not, obviously, be delegated. I also have an amazing virtual assistant, Melissa, who is also a mom, as well as a handful of freelancers assisting with everything from content to programming.
4. I automate tasks when possible. Despite the fact that my business is online, 24/7, I am not. I schedule processes and set up helps that can run things when I can't. Even with the best intentions, there will always be that trip to urgent care, case of the stomach flu, or opportunity to spend an afternoon at the park that can't be skipped in favor of work. I try to keep regular tasks done 1-2 days in advance, and I have multiple mobile apps and tools that I use to keep tabs on the business and do little tasks throughout the day as needed.
5. I am careful about the work I take on. Because of the nature of my business, I have the ability to work just enough to get tasks finished and keep clients happy. I can work more when I want, but I'm not tied to an 8-5 schedule, and I can work ahead of time to schedule time off later. Not all businesses can run this way (a phone agent, for example, couldn't just take the afternoon off.) I picked my career so that it can be somewhat flexible in light of life's events.
6. I lower expectations. I gave up hope of having a Better Homes and Gardens look in my 1400-square-foot ranch home with no attic, basement, or room for 8 people long ago. Somewhere in my living room/homeschool room/playroom/office you may find a place to sit and stretch out your legs. But then again, if it's laundry day, that place is likely covered in clean towels and sheets. So for now, I realize that I can't do it all. And trying to do so is just as stressful for my kids as it is for myself. Not fretting about what I can't change about my schedule and home has freed me up to focus on making my business a success and giving my kids the encouragement they need to do big things in their own lives!
There are many other tactics I use to get things done that are unique to my family, and may not work for everyone. It's very important to assess what's really going on in your business and with your kids, however, to get honest about what will work in your family. You don't have to do things like anyone else!