There are a few major life events that most of us go through. Get married. Start a family. Maybe even move to a new city. But some of us — those crazy Type-A’ers, if you will — have another major life event that, more often than not, gets thrown on top of the rest.
While starting a business can be one of the most fulfilling things you can do, if you’re also working to raise kids and manage your young family, balancing the two can be more of a challenge. Here are some tips to balance business and family that will make you come out a success in both.
1. Make Sure the Timing is Right
If you’re welcoming a new baby in the next few months, it might not be the best time to also give birth to a new business. Both require an inordinate amount of energy to launch successfully, so you might be better off waiting until you’ve got the whole new-parenting thing down before you start a new endeavor.
2. Make Sure Your Spouse is On Board
You and your spouse are partners in raising your kids, so you also need to consider his opinion about you starting a business. Take his feelings — as well as how his role will change as a result — into consideration before pulling the trigger. If he’s not supportive of your plan to start a business, you’ll find it more difficult to do so.
3. Bring on Additional Resources
Assuming your partner is on board with your business idea, get a game plan for how you’ll manage family life. That might mean hiring a babysitter or a nanny part time, or asking your parents to step in and help with picking up the kids from school while you work on your business. The more help you can get, the less you’ll have to worry about home while at work.
4. Give 100 Percent … to One Thing at a Time
With two such large entities vying for your attention, it will understandably be difficult to give them both all you’ve got. The key here is to focus on one thing at a time, and fully. If you’re in the office, focus on the task at hand, not your kids. Likewise, when you leave for the day, mentally lock off the “work think” and put your attention on your family.
5. Go Slow if Necessary
There’s no rule about how fast you have to start a business for it to succeed. You might start slowly, continuing to work at your salaried job, or while you raise a baby. You can devote more attention to the business as you have it to give. This is a great option if you don’t have enough funds up front to launch your business all at once.
6. Look for Weak Spots
Pay careful attention to both your family and your business if you’re working on them simultaneously. You want to catch stressful situations before they escalate. For example: are your kids acting up because you never get home in time to put them to bed? Make an effort to leave work early so you can have that quality time that will put them back in balance. On the other side, is your business suffering because you’re putting too much family time in? Set aside more time to work on pulling your business back up.
You clearly like a good challenge, since you’re taking on two of the most important things you’ll ever do at the same time: raising a happy and healthy family, and starting and growing a thriving business. Keep your end goals in mind, and give both everything you’ve got.
Balancing business and family photo via Shutterstock