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How to Handle a Home Business and Family

How to Handle a Home Business and Family

When you're a work-at-home Mom, you won't get far unless you keep a firm line between your business and what your family and kids demand from you. Kids tend to take up much of your personal and professional time. You could devote time to letting your kids know that blocks of time Mommy must devote to some work, even though she's home, and within whining reach. But then even that would take time. You could, of course, wait for them to mature a bit, so they'd need you less. That could take years. It's better if you knew some strategies that work for managing your home-run business and your kids.

Use a separate phone for your business. When you already have a phone in the house, why get another line for your business, right? This seemingly cost-saving tactic backfires: sometimes a family member takes a call from a client and discloses a somewhat different arrangement from what was agreed upon earlier. What's worse is that time when you resent your kids for taking up so much time on the phone when you clearly need it. Unless your kids become aware of your business motives and maturely accept them, you'd do better to get another phone line.

Hire someone to look after your kids. When your financial receivables are ok enough to get a babysitter, it's usually best to do so. With someone else managing the kids, the mental space and emotional energy freed up you can re-channel to your business. Better brief the sitter about your kids' particular needs and like, and scheduled activities and feedings.

Have a 'semi-isolated' place at home you can call your office. This could be a corner in your kitchen, or a separate small room you can lock yourself in. Having a place where you can post notes and plan and work keeps you focused; it tells your psyche that when you're there, the business is all there is. So it's best to train your kids to handle their chores on their own, so you get more time in your office den. Also, they'd have to get used to not disturbing you during your office 'hours.'

Take short naps. One good thing about working at home is exactly that. When you get tired or unfocused, you have sleep and get recharged. When you train your kids to take short naps, you can take a nap with them knowing that there's little else to worry about but getting to sleep. Resting like this increases your focus and you stock up on energy. You suffer less stress this way. One way to lose focus and get angry needlessly is to avoid sleeping. The backfire of that strategy includes making bad decisions and snapping at your kids.

Let your kids see you work. One way to teach them to give you 'room' for your business is to let them see you work. This could get irksome at first, especially when your kids are young and want your attention. Over time, they could get used to doing their homework in a corner in your office. The more they hear you talk to clients over the phone, the more clues they get about your having time to work. Soon they’ll learn to keep to themselves when you’re on the phone with clients and when you’re in your office den working.

Meet your clients outside the house. Unless you have a garage that you can convert into a clean meeting space, most people would simply hire a cabin or a desk in an office building and meet client there. The advantage of this is two-fold: you won't get disturbed by domestic worries, and your client sees you as a responsible worker (one who doesn't insist on juggling his concerns and your kids'). When your finances and ok or when your kids are mature enough to keep their respective distance, you can meet clients in your home. Just be sure to not meet clients in your slippers and pajamas.

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