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Wellbeing / Work & family

Balancing parenthood and running your own business

It isn't easy juggling the demands of parenthood with those of running your own business, but it can be done.

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If you are running your own business you know that there are many challenges to confront you on a daily basis.

But if you’re also a parent who is responsible for the daily needs of a family, running your own business as well as a home presents its own set of ordeals.

Often people assume that if you have a family, you’re not really serious about your business. You can avoid this misconception by sticking to a professional history when you first meet with a prospect.

Once you have worked with them and shown that you have what it takes, you can develop the relationship further and get to know your client a little better. You will often find that parenthood becomes a common ground for strengthening your business relationship.

When you are considering running your own business, you really need to think about how it will fit in with your family now and in the future.

The most important thing is to be realistic about what you can achieve and whether you are prepared to encroach on family time to achieve it. It’s a good idea to have working days and family days. An answering machine with a business message takes care of business phone calls on family days.

"The most important thing is to be realistic about what you can achieve and whether you are prepared to encroach on family time to achieve it."

Sometimes you can’t avoid doing work on family days. If you need to, make sure it doesn’t become a regular thing and try and arrange for some fun time for the children, either while you work, or when you have finished.

Want more articles like this? Check out the work and family section.

Meeting clients on a family day can be stressful. Try to keep all your appointments to days when the children are at their normal care. You don’t need to mention to your clients and prospects that your day is filled with playdough and the park. Just say that your calendar is full on that day and suggest an alternative.

Being a business parent means that there will be times when you just can’t avoid parental responsibilities, especially when children are sick. If you have a large network of family and friends to call upon, this may not affect you too often. But if, like me, changing your timetable or trying to find an alternative carer is like being a member of the Olympic Organising Committee, sometimes you will have no alternative but to rearrange meetings. For the most part, people will be understanding and will appreciate your honesty. If they do decide to take the work elsewhere as a result, the business relationship probably wouldn’t flourish anyway.

Balancing parenthood with running your own business can be overwhelming, and you have to be made of strong stuff to pull it off. Treat your business like one of your children by giving it some of your undivided attention and letting it grow at a pace to fit in with your family.

If you can meet the challenges head on and be realistic about your goals, when your children have moved on to bigger and better things (like Kindergarten for instance), you will still have something rewarding to nurture each day!

Karen Morris

, owner of Underground Communications, is a PR consultant and business copywriter with over 20 years’ experience in writing communications designed to grab an audience and deliver a clear message for her clients.

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