I find Richard Branson’s story irresistible.
How can one person be so damn successful?
It’s like he has the Midas Touch.
As is this recent post he wrote for LinkedIn about ‘running a business while raising a family’, that included some awesome family happy snaps, circa 1990-something
Branson’s kids, Holly and Sam are all grown up now and have children of their own. But his simple reflections on what it’s taken to build his juggernaut/empire/universe of success, while raising them, is worth the read.
Especially this line:
“Anything you can think that can possibly happen probably will – and many things you once thought was impossible will happen too. Embrace it all as a pleasure and privilege – even the nappies!”
Very few of us will amass Branson’s fortune and success. And most of us probably wouldn’t want it – well, not before the weekend anyway, right?
But what we do have in common is just how many of us are starting businesses so we can work around growing families. In fact, flexibility around family life is actually #2 on the list of reasons most of our Flying Solo community started a business in the first place.
And regardless of what type of business we’ve chosen to run, there are certain tips and tricks that help us steer the course.
1. Know when to ‘call it a day’
“I think it’s absolutely critical that you have structure in your day, so you really do know when it is “pens down”. This is really hard when you run a business as you are generally across every part of the business and it’s 24/7. However If you are constantly working it does not go unnoticed by your children and they can often feel they are not the priority… and let me tell you this does nothing for mothers guilt. So be strict on yourself, have a finish time, hide the laptop and phone from yourself and turn your attention to the family. And remember, you can always sneak in the office after everyone’s gone to bed or before they wake, if you must!
Lucy Bingle, Lucy Bingle.com
2. Understand your core values
“My desire to be with my kids and prioritise them (coupled with the guilt I felt when I got this wrong) while still ensuring that I could have a fulfilling and challenging work life, is what ultimately drove my decision to leave the corporate world and start my own business. Now I am the boss. I set the hours I work. I choose. I am in control—and this control has removed a vast amount of guilt. I get to completely, or almost completely, work around my kids. And this works for me. Starting my own business was 100 per cent driven by my core values.”
Kate Christie, founder of Time Stylers. Kate’s advice comes from her upcoming book ‘Me First’ (available in April 2020).
3. Set firm rules for yourself and your family
“Be the iron lady with your boundaries!”
Donne Restom, founder of Nobody’s Business
4. Prioritise communication
“Communicate with your partner and your kids at the beginning of each week. As they get older kids are really understanding when you talk to them about what is being priority. But always try to keep in mind your real values and purpose. It’s really easy to get caught being busy and not stay on track.”
Janine Robertson, author of Spenditude: The life-changing attitude to money
5. Understand that you can’t control everything
“See it less as a balance where both are equally balanced, and more as an organic, ever changing system that fluxes and changes. There will be times when more attention is needed in and on the business, and times when you want or need to give more to your family. Viewing it a system where there is movement rather than scales where things are equally balanced gives you more permission to embrace life and its unexpected changes. I have also found a significant reduction in guilt, and more enjoyment less panic in the quieter times ..
Tammy Tansley, founder of Tammy Tansley Consulting
6. Be realistic about how much you can manage in a day
“You are in control of your calendar so try to take some time off when they are on school holidays. Have a plan and know it may change. Ask for help when you know you have client deadlines you can not move. Depending on the age of your children, talk to them about your business and involve them in the highs and lows of your working week. It’s probably a big part of what you do and it’s a positive way to be a role model for them, beyond your role as their parent. You just never know how this may influence their career decisions one day!”
7. Throw away the idea of balance!
“You will have a day where you wake your child to the sound of flutes, and bake them organic muffins and pack them a perfect lunchbox. Then spend the day running your business like a marvellous mogul, hustling and being productive. Then pick up your children again, and play wooden board games with them on the rug you handmade together, while eating quinoa. You have good parenting days and good business days, but they are rarely the same days. Balance is a myth, let it go. Accept imperfection, love your kids hard and do your best.”
Kate Toon, founder of Kate Toon CopyWriter .