Starting a small business while juggling parenthood can be quite the adventure. As a mum who owns a small business with my husband, Carl, I understand the challenges and rewards. When my youngest was still a baby, I attend networking events with him strapped to my chest in a carrier, and I worked when he napped.
It can sometimes feel like you don’t have enough time or energy to do parenting and business as well. But it is possible. The key is to discover the strategies that help you balance the two.
I recently had the opportunity to sit down with Kate Toon, an award-winning entrepreneur, business mentor, and author of “Six Figures in School Hours – How to run a successful business and still be a good parent.” We discussed the elusive balance between business, family, and life.
Let go of guilt
Kate emphasises banishing parent guilt and accepting that there’s no one ‘right’ way to be a parent. “Remember, there’s no perfect way to be a parent but a million ways to be a good one. And remember that until around the 1680s, there was no real notion of either parenting or childhood! Working and earning money is just a part of life. Cut yourself some slack; if your kids are clean, fed, loved and relatively happy most of the time, that has to be enough.”
Instead of holding onto guilt in your business, prioritise progress and connection over perfection. Do the best you can with the resources and time you have right now. You’ve got to start somewhere, and your business will evolve. When we launched Violeta Finance, we didn’t have beautifully branded photography, a gorgeous website, and perfectly crafted vision and mission statements. Those came (slowly) with time.
Manage Time Effectively
Being realistic about available time is crucial. Kate suggests being honest about the hours you can devote to work after factoring in various commitments and productivity levels. Setting achievable goals and avoiding overcommitment will lead to a healthier work-life balance.
“For me, the biggest shift in creating balance between parenting and business was to be more honest with myself about time. I may like to think I have 30 hours a week between pick up and drop off to work, but when I factor in sick days, tradies, life admin and my productivity levels, I really only have 15 billable hours a week.”
Avoid comparing yourself to others
Comparing yourself to others can be detrimental. Everyone’s circumstances are unique, and focusing on others’ advantages won’t benefit you. Remember, your journey is your own, and it’s important to be patient, take time for yourself, and prioritise what you need.
“I think it’s important as a parent and a business owner not to compare yourself with others. You don’t know their circumstances, supportive partner, generational wealth, easy to manage kids, lots of help around the house or in the office. This is your adventure, your experience. Yes, you can have it all, but maybe not all today. Be patient, take the time YOU need and remember the world will wait,” Kate explains.
Find a support network
Establishing boundaries between work and family life is vital. Delegate tasks when necessary and foster a supportive work environment. Building a reliable support network and seeking help can improve a healthy work-life balance.
In the first few years of our business, Carl and I did everything ourselves, from marketing to bookkeeping, customer service and data entry. This is common in the start-up phase of a business. A business can take a while to generate a decent income, so outsourcing or hiring staff isn’t an option for many businesses initially.
The first task we outsourced was bookkeeping, followed by data entry. Later, we built an in-house team. We also joined business networking groups to find support from a community of like-minded people.
Parenthood and entrepreneurship can coexist with the right balance. Remember that there is no perfect way to be a parent or run a business, but there are countless ways to be successful at both.
By acknowledging your limitations, staying focused on your own journey, and building a support system, you can navigate the adventure of parenthood and small business ownership with confidence and fulfilment.
To learn more, you can purchase Kate Toon’s book, “Six Figures in School Hours – How to run a successful business and still be a good parent,” visit the website: www.sixfiguresinschoolhours.com.au
Jo and Carl Violeta are self-confessed numbers nerds, parents of an energetic toddler and a super switched-on teenager, and co-founders of the award-winning business, Violeta Finance. They are a husband and wife team who are passionate about empowering their community with financial education, love the odd glass of wine, and get a kick out of helping families achieve their homeownership and financial dreams.