The Balancing Act Of An Entrepreneurial Parent
Some entrepreneurial parents have difficulty giving time to being a parent and entrepreneurs. If you can relate then our expert team has discovered some handy tips and tricks to help you out.
Every entrepreneurial parent has stories of difficult and often hilarious ways they tried to balance being a parent and an entrepreneur.
- Drafting emails while preparing dinner for the family.
- Giving a sales pitch while plying your kid with cookies to keep them quiet.
- And the scariest of all, realizing that your child had declined an important business call because it interfered with their Peppa Pig video.
Oh, the pain, the tears and the frustrations that we go through just to make both roles work! If that is you now, fear not, it will get better.
Through our years of struggling, we have unearthed some gems on how to be efficient entrepreneurial parents. Lucky for you, we are now going to share them and simplify being a parent and entrepreneur.
Parent And Entrepreneur- The Need For Balance
If balancing work and home life is difficult with a regular job, doing the same as an entrepreneurial parent can be brutal.
You will have double the people (plus little-persons) vying for your attention. Initially, you fill more roles and have more responsibilities. Let’s not forget the financial strains or the fear of failure that creates sleepless nights.
As a parent and entrepreneur, it’s easy to allow one role to overshadow the other. Or, stretch ourselves thin trying to meet goals on both fronts.
The absence of usual 9-5 working hours, means that you often work longer. This scenario can lead to you ignoring your health and family.
It’s important to remember that you are both a parent and entrepreneur. To enjoy the best of both your worlds, you must learn to successfully balance both your roles.
Top 7 Tips For A Parent And Entrepreneur
How can you become a tycoon without compromising your family life? The answer is to set rules and boundaries for yourself, and follow them diligently.
Here we have 7 tried and tested tips to help you successfully balance your roles as a parent and entrepreneur.
1. Organize Yourself
Do you find yourself searching everywhere for a file you only had an hour ago? Or wondering where you placed the sales receipt last night?
Don’t waste your precious time by having to search through and sort stuff. The first step to be a successful parent and entrepreneur is to organize yourself.
If you are working from home, set aside a designated workspace for yourself. Keep all papers and files in order, and most importantly, away from the reach of your little ones. The last thing you need is a business agreement that has been scribbled on.
Apply the one-minute rule in both your personal and professional life. If a task takes you a minute to complete, then finish it first. This way you’ll be constantly sorting out mini-messes before it becomes a big pile. In fact, adopting the one-minute rule will have you on top of your chores and out playing with the family.
2. Schedule Your Time
You’ve got 24 hours and umpteen tasks to complete so plan and manage your time effectively.
Invest in a good planner, or download one of the many applications if you are digitally inclined. Either way, it is necessary to create two separate schedules. This will allow you to outline the important things to get done as both parent and entrepreneur.
Ideally, your schedule should:
- Be made weekly in advance, noting all your commitments and deadlines.
- Use the same planner/application to ensure that you have not double-booked or overbooked yourself.
- Have an easy update feature as things may change quickly.
Secondly, when planning your time schedule tasks accordingly. For instance, a mompreneur can organise work around her child’s daily schedule. Time important calls during naptime or when kids are at school. Get routine administrative tasks sorted after children are in bed.
The advantages of planning your time are:
- It gives you a clear view of the tasks to be completed and your availability.
- Enables you to prioritize and direct efforts to the most urgent tasks.
- Schedule last-minute tasks or commitments around calendar events.
However, as an entrepreneurial parent it’s important to be flexible. There are days when nothing may go as planned, especially when a child is sick or you are snowed in.
3. Prioritise Self-Care
Let’s face it, health is often the last thing on your mind when you are struggling with your kids and a business. A study by Michael Freeman found that almost 49% of entrepreneurs reported suffering from at least one mental health disorder throughout their lifetime. These included ADHD, bipolar disorder and substance abuse as well as a high prevalence of other physiological health conditions.
Truth is, if you want to power ahead as an entrepreneurial parent, you must invest time and effort in yourself. It is essential to sleep for 7-8 hours, eat nutritious meals at the correct times, exercise and relax.
Also, learn to listen to your body and if you are sick, take a break. It’s better to be healthy and productive than sick and inefficient.
The quickest way to burn out as a parent and entrepreneur is to work yourself into the ground.
Have a good support system in place to help you cope with your stressors. Mentors will help you make positive choices, instill good behaviors and keep you accountable. They may also motivate and encourage you during times of trouble or doubt.
While your family will be your biggest support, you may find you need more specific help. Discover like-minded entrepreneurial parents on online forums or local business gatherings.
4. Set Boundaries
Although it is easy to blur the lines between being a parent and an entrepreneur, you must set proper boundaries.
- Setting aside specific time for both parenting and running your business. Inform others of your work hours and ensure they only contact you during those hours for anything related to the business.
- Respect and honor your family commitments. Avoid using work as an excuse to miss these opportunities for quality family bonding. However, life happens and sometimes this may be difficult. If there is a crisis in the business, make sure to re-schedule the family activity in a timely manner.
- Leave your work-related issues at the door. Your home is your castle and your family the priority. Remove any burdens or struggles from work on the way home, or as you shrug out of your coat. Walk in with a smile and give the attention they deserve.
Remember, you should always have family time in your schedule. However, it is important to treat it with the same respect as you would any other business meeting. By adhering to boundaries, entrepreneurial parents can enjoy quality family time as well as succeed in business.
5. One At A Time
We all tend to be fairly good at multi-tasking these days. While this is a good skill to have, when it comes to being a parent and entrepreneur, multi-tasking can get in the way.
How many times have we checked an email while ‘supposedly’ playing with the kids? Truth is, it’s not fair to either ourselves or our family. Indeed, it’s far more productive to give your attention to one task at a time.
Therefore, if you are working, give your full attention to the task at hand. Close the door and let your family members know that you are unavailable for the next hour.
Similarly, when you’re with the family put away all work distractions. Have your work phone on silent and the computer in sleep mode. You’ll soon find that you are more effective as both a parent and entrepreneur.
6. Set Boundaries For Kids
Your child will not differentiate the parent from the entrepreneur, especially if they are very young.
To avoid any confusion spell out a clear set of boundaries such as:
- Closed doors indicate a meeting in progress and should not be opened.
- Do not answer a work phone at any time.
- Keep noise to a minimum.
- Don’t interrupt a phone conversation.
Entrepreneurial parents will need to set boundaries with kids when you are working from home.
7. Don’t Fall Into The ‘Perfect’ Trap
It’s easy to want everything to go perfectly for both your kids and your business. We aim to be the best parents and to be exceptional at our jobs. In this race to be perfect, we often set unrealistic expectations for ourselves. This is not the most satisfying way to live life.
Remember, NOBODY IS PERFECT! Break away from this ‘perfect trap’ and give yourself the space to just be you. So, you didn’t win parent of the month at your child’s school or the best cake at the school bake-off. That’s okay!!! All that matters is that you try. Focus on the tasks best suited to your abilities and shine.
As a parent and entrepreneur we know to let go of our unrealistic expectations and focus on our priorities and strengths.
There may be days when you find it difficult to balance your role as a parent and entrepreneur. And that is Ok! Sometimes, that is the way of life of an entrepreneurial parent.
Our experts suggest setting your rules and boundaries and focus on the task at hand. Make time to spend with family and stop striving for perfection. The best way to learn is by making mistakes and re-adjusting.
Importantly, communicate well with your family and have good mentors and a support network. Being a parent and entrepreneur can be challenging, but if you take our advice your family and business will soar.
Read also: How to balance the role of being a student and a mom.