My tips for running a business as a mum

My tips for running a business as a mum

Running a business is hard enough, and also having kids is definitely the most difficult thing i have done in my life. Combine the two and its a recipe for disaster! I was thinking about what people reading this blog post might find interesting and it lead me to think about the not so unique situation that i'm in. We all cope in different ways and these are the things i've learnt along the way over the last 8 years of running Goodordering and having kids. 

On logic it seems to make sense to start a business at a point where you are potentially having a career change and this is what happened with me. I knew i was going on maternity leave and i had started Goodordering around the time i got pregnant with my first son. So by the time he was born, the business was also in its infancy. When i look back in know that having the business helped me stay sane in those wee hours of desperation where i felt like i was nothing but a milk bottle or bouncy knee, and in many ways having a young child helped me to focus my energies for Goodordering. 

These tips are from a perspective of having a business thats up and running and also having kids that are also up and running. I have two of them now and a very supportive partner with a full time job, so i'm lucky. But it was not always like this, when i first started Goodordering in 2012, my partner Mia was freelance so i definitely have had to make the business make money and pay its own bills right from the beginning. 

1. Involve the kids in what you do

From a young age otto understood that "mummy designs and sells bags" its a simplified but accurate description of what i do. He would come and help out at the market and demonstrate the products and when he was younger he also helped model some of the kids styles and given feedback. This has been a big help for the business. 

2. Try to have separate a work space

Before i had my own little Goodordering office in our house, i had a shelf. Either way, its good to have an area which is yours in the house that marks out when you are busy doing work. It then helps the kids to understand when it's ok to disturb you or when its better to leave you alone. I used to work on the sofa with my phone but the kids ended up thinking i was working all the time, rather than when sometimes i was just browsing or texting. I do also advocate sometimes working from bed, at least its a space i can close off and do work in private. 

Goodordering bags on a bed working from home
3. Work hard in less time

This is another way to say the cheesy business mantra "work smarter not harder" which is an overused phrase but makes complete sense to me. I normally work each day for 3-4 hours and then the rest of the day its family time, cooking, cleaning or just relaxing time. For me i have found that i work best in the morning. I have a list of things i need to get done which i create the night or day before and i just tackle those things in the morning. By the time its 12 my stomach is grumbling and by the time its 1-2pm i'm thinking about dinner or complaining about how messy the house is. Obviously there are times i work longer hours but this is a guide based on the average day.

4. Remember why you did it in the first place

It is easy to get caught up in thinking you need to make your business bigger and bigger and with that comes stress and pressure. I have to remind myself why i left the 'rat race' in the first place to start my own business, and its definitely more to do with family life, freedom and flexibility than becoming the next Alan Sugar. Yes i want my business to grow and allow me to have financial freedom, but i want to do it on my own terms. 

5. Remember that you are a role model to your kids

My kids will grow up with a parent who has their own business, so they will view entrepreneurship through the lens of their own experience. For me growing up with parents who also had their own business, i saw the flexibility my mum had to always have some food bubbling away in the kitchen during the day for dinner. They were always able to pick us up from school, do homework with us and generally be around most of the time. So the mental picture I have of being a business owner is mostly positive. I want my kids to view work as a fulfilling, positive activity and the only way i can do this is to be conscious that they are always watching and being sponges to how i view work.

6. Choose an area of business that you are proud of

It might not be rock and roll but having a business in an area that you truly believe in will make it worthwhile even in those difficult times. For Goodordering, i'm proud that my business encourages and inspires more people to ride bicycles as most of the bags are designed to make cycling more functional and fun. Having a business with a clear mission will help to keep the business on track as it evolves over the years.

Jacqui ma tips for a working mum
Summary

1. Involve the kids in what you do

2. Try to have separate a work space

3. Work hard in less time

4. Remember why you did it in the first place

5. Remember that you are a role model to your kids

6. Choose an area of business that you are proud of

Interested in the business side of Goodordering?

Here are some more related blog posts

5 Tips for product development

Rules for working from bed

10 things you should be doing to do work on your business whilst waiting for sales

Hacks and automations for small businesses

  

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