Business and children: friends or foes?
I love chatting to my clients and find exchanging snippets strengthens our relationship. I often chat about children as it’s a fairly safe topic to discuss. Or so I thought.
Boy Lex is one of the reasons I’m flying solo. I love the usual suspects of having flexibility with my time and being there for his major milestones.
But he is not a part of my business. He is not playing in the background when I’m on the phone, and he is certainly not in attendance when I’m with a client, even if the client doesn’t mind.
I choose not to mix business and children because I cannot give my undivided attention to the client if I’m looking after a child. And since this is what the client is paying me for, this is how I must operate to deliver.
But I know that many soloists DO take their children along to meetings, with clients genuinely not minding. Perhaps this is the nature of being both a parent and an entrepreneur.
But what if it’s the client who is looking after a child when dealing with you? They’re the paying party, so do they wield the power to decide?
"I choose not to mix business and children because I cannot give my undivided attention to the client if I’m looking after a child."
I recently ran a private training session for my client. When she told me her three year old would be in tow, I gently reminded her that we had an hour’s worth of new material to cover which required her full attention, and I would be happy to reschedule to a more convenient time. She declined.
The result? We covered barely half the material in an hour and a half, followed by a barrage of calls starting with “I can’t remember how…” and “Did we go through…?” I was paid for an hour, yet I delivered over two.
What’s the best way to handle this situation? Should you charge by the hour to make sure you’re paid for all your time, or call it quits after the allocated period? Can you dare to blankly (yet politely) refuse to meet in the presence of children? Or do you just accept the fact that this is going to happen?
I don’t know the answer. But I do know this is not the most productive and time-efficient way to conduct my business.
And let’s not forget the kids. If they’re too big to be held, they’re most likely bored stiff, conjuring wicked ways of gaining your attention.
So am I just being an uptight, inflexible, children-are-nuisances so-and-so? Or do I have the right idea that business and children simply do not mix, no matter how much we try?
Let’s hear it. I’ve braced myself!