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Wellbeing / Work & family

Juggling motherhood and a solo business

When you’re a solo business operator who's starting a family, you'll find fitting in both a challenge. So how can you juggle parenthood and a solo business without becoming a quivering wreck?

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Whether you are expecting your first or subsequent baby, you can expect big changes to your business and life.

How you adjust will depend on the type of business that you run.

If you are restricted to working during business hours, consider hiring a temporary maternity-leave replacement. With careful planning you can still maintain some involvement in the business until you are ready to return, either in a full or part-time capacity.

For a service-based business that has no operating restrictions, you can still run your business and be there for your family as long as you reduce the amount of work you produce or the number of clients you service. You can recommend another service provider to clients that you can’t keep on. If you lose them there will always be
others later. Remember that you already know how to grow and build a business.

To combat the inevitable sleep deprivation try working after dinner until the first night feed of around 11pm or 12am. If you go back to bed after the early morning feed and start your day a little later you should find that you are getting a better quality sleep. Obviously every baby is different. You just have to work with them. Flexibility
is king. If you have other children try and fit this routine in when they have other care arrangements if possible.

"For a service-based business that has no operating restrictions, you can still run your business and be there for your family as long as you reduce the amount of work you produce or the number of clients you service."

As your baby gets older you will need to reconsider your options. If you’re not ready to consider formal child care, one possibility is to share with someone you trust. A mother’s group friend is an ideal person as you can take turns at having each other’s baby for a day or half a day a week, or more often if this fits in with your routines.

If you do decide to take advantage of the many child care options available remember that everything balances out, in that if you opt for full-time child care so that you can keep your income higher, this will be offset by often quite costly fees.

Whether you decide on a nanny at home, family day care, a child care centre or a willing relative if you’re lucky enough to have one around, remember the decision rests with you and your partner. Everybody has different needs and beliefs and what works for one won’t necessarily work for another.

Also, of course, there are many ways you can outsource tasks in your business and the home that will give you more time to spend raising your family. There are people who can take over tasks such as bookkeeping, sales, admin, cleaning and laundry. If you stick to being a parent and your core business activities and outsource everything else, your business and family life can easily fit in with each other. It all comes down to time management, what you can
afford, the amount of input your partner has and the ability to think on your feet and be flexible.

If you’re reading this with the prospect of holding that little bundle very soon, or you’ve just arrived home with it, I understand every apprehension you’re feeling about your ability to provide everything this little person needs.

As a business owner and the mother of three very energetic little boys, and with almost no family support beyond occasional babysitting, I know anything is possible if you stay calm and maintain the kind of self-belief that you obviously already have as a solo business owner.

Becoming a parent is just adding another skill to your already large arsenal. It’s hard work but just adds to the colour of every day life that we soloists enjoy.

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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