Managing the responsibilities of parenthood and entrepreneurship is often a balancing act. Raising healthy, happy, well-adjusted kids isn’t easy. When you add the responsibilities of starting and managing a successful business, it can be overwhelming.
So, we asked parentpreneurs (i.e. parents who are entrepreneurs) who have “been there, done that” to provide some practical advice and perspective on how to make parenting and entrepreneurship a winning combination:
1. Don’t expect perfection.
“It’s pretty impossible to get it all done the way you imagine it should be in your head, so better to get the most important things done thoroughly. Don’t worry too much about getting either one (being a parent or business owner) perfect; that way you will have a much better chance of remaining sane! And the kids will hopefully grow with a slightly more realistic view of how life really is!”
2. Never give up on your dream or your family.
“Things can be very hectic when trying to start a business and raise your children at the same time. Lots of people will try to derail you on your path to success, but if you just keep looking for the next way around the speed bump, you can get through. Separate yourself enough from your business to be able to see the bigger picture.”
3. Designate a “no work zone” in your home.
“In our family we have a ‘no work zone’ between the hours of 5:00pm and 7:30pm. This is when the 3 of us spend time together eating dinner and playing without any interruptions – no phones, TV, work, etc. Having that structure in place so that you know you are carving out time for your family and for yourself is very, very important.”
4. Spend quality time with your kids.
“I try to put in the additional work hours after my children have gone to bed so I do not miss out on any quality time with them. I do my best to make every school and extracurricular event that they have. As my children [have gotten] older, it has been most rewarding to take them to school in the morning. We stop to pick up breakfast and spend twenty minutes together without technology (phones included!). Without distraction, we are able to talk about school, friends, my work, or anything they want.”
5. Hire help.
“As a mama, we try to do it all. But after having twins in 2010, I quickly realized I couldn’t be the mama I wanted to be if I was in front of the computer or on the phone and watching kids at the same time. I found myself completely stressed and overwhelmed, feeling like a failure as a mom and an entrepreneur. Getting childcare, be it a babysitter or a supportive friend, allowed me to finally focus 100% of my energy on my biz when I was working and 100% on my family when I wasn’t.”
6. Create time boundaries.
“I recommend [to] not check your work email 10 minutes before your bedtime, nor 10 minutes before your child will wake up from a nap. You never know what will be in that inbox that may cause excessive excitement or worry regarding your business! Better to leave it for a time when you know you can calmly respond to any pressure from work.”
7. Don’t overlook the benefits of daycare.
“After I had my baby, I thought I could start up and run my virtual immigration law office during nap times and in the evenings. Boy, was I wrong. To truly make your business succeed, you need large blocks of time to market to potential clients and to help those clients when you get them. Once I put my son in part-time daycare, my business took a giant leap forward because I [had] solid time to be a full entrepreneur, not a scattered and distracted parentpreneur. ”
8. Be fully engaged.
“Don’t sweat the small stuff. [Whether] at work or at home, be fully engaged and present. If you’re with family, turn your cell phone off, stick to your boundaries, and create days off, like ‘mom day,’ and don’t feel guilty about needing that time to spend with your family.”