Finding a perfect balance between career and family can prove difficult.

While there are ongoing discussions about the benefits of flexitime in business, women have proved time and time again we really can do it all.

The key is finding out what works for you, just as I did when I started my own bookkeeping franchise nine years ago with five and seven year old daughters.

Small businesses have for a long time experimented with work life balance and we are seeing more and more working mums starting home-based businesses each year.

In fact, recent research from my franchise First Class Accounts shows small business owners place a greater emphasis on non-financial motivators for owning their own business.

Half said the ability to create a better work life balance and work flexibility was the most satisfying aspect of running a business.

I know, I left the public service for the flexibility of self-employment and I’m sure many mums who also run their own business will agree.

Operating a home-based business has a number of attractions for a busy, working mum.

It means not missing out on those preciously stressful morning moments of seeing the kids off to school.

Through self-employment I was able to co-ordinate working hours around these key responsibilities during the day and it made picking the kids up from school much easier.

Financially, working from home can also reduce hefty overheads such as a commercial lease, and increase work productivity.

I found myself doing a lot of work at night (and my husband brought me cheese and crackers to keep me going!). During those quiet hours at night, I found myself to be incredibly productive.

However, working from home can also be isolating.

For some people, low interaction with co-workers is hard to manage.

Naturally, home based work can also bring distractions for mums with children who aren’t yet school aged.  Again, it’s about finding out what works for you.

My daughters are now 14 and 16 and we have a completely different schedule, but one that is still based on flexibility.

Another big challenge for business owners doubling as mums is keeping on track with running the business and monitoring and maintaining business health.  It’s a critical area that can quickly fall by the wayside with plenty of distractions around the house.

As a mum, the level of growth or income you want from your home based business or the number of hours you want to work will fluctuate based on realistic expecations determined by your lifestyle demands.

The important thing is to keep focused and monitor these goals regularly.

Having worked with many businesses in my time, here are my tips for mums and anyone trying to run a small business from home:

Maintain an element of divide

From keeping all personal documents and business documents separate through to avoiding (too many) domestic duties during business or allocated work hours, it’s important to maintain an element of divide between personal and work life by treating your business like a business.

Naturally, with small children, there will be times when this is compromised.

Set weekly goals

Mums are generally good organisers, so use those skills to set weekly goals and objectives for your business that will help you keep focused and stay on track.

If these goals are continually missed, you will need to reassess your distractions and expectations with both your business and lifestyle.

Monitor business health

Regardless of the size of your business, establishing a business plan and budget and monitoring performance regularly are key to ensuring you’re operating a healthy and viable business.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help

Running a business as a mum is a big task, so don’t be afraid to get extra ‘at home’ help with caring for the kids.

Likewise, outsourcing a little financial work each fortnight or month may make a big difference in the long run.

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  • very smart and fortunate people are working from home! i would love to do that

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  • I would love to be able to work from home

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  • Wouldn’t this be the perfect life balance? To work from home. You could stay in your pjs all day, cook while working etc awesome

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  • Great! Good knowledge to know! Thanks for sharing this!

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  • this is exellent great

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  • Would love to work from home but trying to find something that will work is hard.

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  • Recently just join Nutrimetics but can only do from home to family and friends and people that would love to buy the products. As I cant do party plan as have had a stem cell transplant and still on a lot of medication and got a low immune system so cant get sick. The down side is that I have to take heaps of medication which is why I join nutrimetics because people are able to look online at get it delivered to there postal address or PO Box which makes it easier for me and let me earn some money to pay for my treatment. Getting Cancer isn’t cheap. Staying Positive always. Anyone see this and would like to look at my website it is http://www.nutrimetics.com.au/tracybaker Life is good xxx

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  • I am writing these tips down and will keep them at my desk!

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  • I don’t think I could be disciplined enough to work from home! Too many distractions!!

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  • Would love to see an article about working from home options, reputable ones of course.


    • Hi , There are hundreds of options out there to work from home. What you need to do is write a list of what you want out of a business- eg- What’s your investment into the new business- for a good business structure that has an ongoing business support system, requires some money outlay.Financial return for all your CONSISTENT work into the business-Look at what the profits are and if they come to you direct or someone else first and you get paid later Do you want to keep stock, or have to get the stock and distribute it? Are you happy to work from home off your computer and phone or do you want to be in and out of the house doing the work? Do they have an on going training and support system of people that want to help you in the company to continually succeed? There’s so many opportunities. I’ve had 4 small home businesses all aligning to what i do now in some way.Finally found the absolute perfect one for me that ticks ALL the boxes. Good luck in your search.

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  • I have a business idea and are just in the early stages of looking into the costs of it all. Really hope it works out for my family and I as I am limited with mobility at the moment.

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  • Id love to work from home it would make life much easier

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  • Hi my name is Kelly and i have just found this sight. I am a mum of 2 boys aged 14 and 10. I live on the Central Coast. I am a dancer again after a 2oyr break and loving it, i play Soccer and i’m a Personal Trainer, Leadership Mentor in the Personal Development Empowerment & Wealth creation Industry -my website is future-u.com.au, I work my business from home around my family and fun life and help others do the same. Reach out to me and say hi. I’m here to help and would love to meet you.

    Reply


  • I would absolutely love to work from home :(


    • Hi Hopefully Heidi, I have just read your comment and thought i’d jump in and say hi. What would working from home mean to you?

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  • I would love to work from home and spend as much time as possible with my beautiful bub, but so far I’m yet to figure out what it is I want to and could do. Thanks for your tips. :)


    • When I decided to start my family I signed up with a party plan business called Partylite, its similar to Tupperware and Lorraine Lea etc – selling candles and homewares to people in their homes. I am now 4 and a half months and growing my own little business steadily by doing a couple of parties a month. I think it will be a great social outlet for me and a way to earn a few dollars once baby is here. I can set my own hours and do parties when my husband or even my mother can look after the bub. I would highly recommend looking at party plan businesses if you aren’t sure where to start with a home based business. It costs very little to start (in my case, cost absolutely nothing) so if you decide you don’t like it you can walk away at anytime. I don’t have any experience running a business (I am a primary school teacher) so the training and support I have received has also been really beneficial.



      • Thank you for the tip tam_watters, I’ll look it up.

    Reply

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