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When you’re a mama, launching a business of your own doesn’t affect just you. Every single member of your family will realize something different is going on. And, they may not like it. Unless you take time to purposefully get your family on board with your new business.
Back in the summer of 2015, I launched my freelance writing business. The first few months were rough.
I went from being a full-time stay-at-home mom to being a part-time work-at-home mom. My availability went down, and my kids were like – hey, why is mom spending SO MUCH TIME on her computer?
They rebelled a bit, and whined a ton. One of my little ones even hit the power button for me to shut off my PC once.
After getting really frustrating and trying to figure out what was wrong with my kids – I was just trying to earn some extra money this was really going to benefit them – I realized my mistake.
I started a business that was affecting everyone. But, I never bothered to explain it to them.
I went from being totally accessible as a stay-at-home mom to working part-time as a work-at-home mom. And my kids didn’t understand what it all meant for them. They were kind of in the dark about it all.
So, we had some important conversations. And, I learned five important strategies when it comes to helping your family be on board with your new business.
1. Explain the Changes
When I started my business, I had seven kids ranging from 6 months to teen. They didn’t all need the same explanation, but I did need to talk to my kids about my business.
I wanted them to know that I:
- Would be spending more time throughout the day on my computer, writing for clients
- Might need to take an occasional phone call to discuss things
- Would still be available for them when they need me
The bottom one was important for my younger kids. That’s what they really cared about – spending time with me. And having me ready to put a bandaid on an owie or something.
You can’t accomplish this all in one conversation. We talked about my business and upcoming changes frequently.
2. Share Your Why
So why was I starting a business in the first place? Well, it was so I could help our family financially. But, not all of my kids understood what that meant. They needed to hear some tangible reasons I was spending more time on my computer.
In a family meeting one day, I shared some reasons I was starting a business. I talked to my kids about some of the things we hoped to do as more money came in. These included:
- Having Daddy take a closer (lower paying) job so he could be home more (Which he’s now had for two years! We love having him around.)
- Take a couple more day trips around our state
- Do some overnight travels (hotel pools are amazing when you’re a kid!)
- Having money to buy more _____ (I shared some specific examples I knew my kids would care about – art supplies, board games, fun cooking things, etc.)
By putting the why into kid friendly terms, and talking about what they cared about, the kids were more open to the idea of me working. When I sat down at the computer, I reminded them I was doing this so we could spend more time with Daddy, or pay for our next drive to the ferries. Or putting it on our student loan debt so we could continue on our journey to become missionaries.
3. Talk About Your Business
Your business has a vocabulary of its own.
If you’re a blogger, you might find yourself talking about pageviews or plugins or freebies.
Freelancers might talk a lot about pitches and gigs and rates.
All these new words will sound funny to your kids. They won’t have a clue what you’re talking about. Which is why it’s important to talk to your kids about your business.
When you sit down to work, share what you hope to accomplish.
When everyone is gathered around the dinner table, talk about a problem you had that you solved. Use the words naturally, and offer explanations when appropriate.
Your kids won’t always understand everything. But, they’ll feel more included when you talk to them about what you’re doing.
4. Integrate Your Family
Work life separation is a lie when you’re working from home. You really can’t completely separate the two. One way to spend more time with your family while still accomplishing your business tasks is to integrate your family.
Find ways they can help that utilize their strengths. Work together as a team.
You can find more information on this topic in the following posts:
If you’re spending time writing for your business, add Family Writing Time to your schedule. You’ll add 2.5 hours to write every single week, and your kids can learn to work quietly on tasks they love.
Not a writer? Could you have a quiet work time instead? The kids could tackle their homework, read a book, or do an art project while you work on something you need to accomplish.
Follow the same principles as Family Writing Time, including the share time.
5. Celebrate Together
Does your family know what your goals are?
Do they offer encouragement and support along the way?
Your family can be a huge motivating force to drive you closer to your goals. If you let them.
But, you must share with them.
Talk about your goals. Do you need to find three new clients this month?
Add three blank pieces of paper to the wall behind your desk and let your kids color in each one as you find a client. When the last paper is colored, celebrate!
Do you need to raise your monthly income to $1500?
Put a giant thermometer on the wall and let your kids color it in along the way. When you reach the top, celebrate!
No matter your goals, let your kids help you track them and encourage you. If you make the reward something they care about, they’ll be more likely to remind you to work.
Rewards don’t have to be elaborate or expensive to be special.
Here are some ideas:
- Eat dinner while you watch a favorite movie and enjoy some popcorn
- Take a picnic to the park and spend an afternoon unplugged and playing
- Go hiking
- Have a family game night
- Buy everyone a bottle of bubbles and have a bubble blowing party in the yard
- Turn on your favorite music and dance
- Take a day trip to check out a local attraction
- Make a fort in the living room and let the kids camp out
- Eat dessert first
- Make a celebration cake and decorate it together
The possibilities are endless. Think of things your kids would enjoy, and go for it. Let them know what goal you’re working on, how you’re tracking the progress, what they can do to help, and what you’ll do when you reach it.
Then step back and let your family be your loudest cheerleaders!
Get Your Family on Board with Your New Business
When everyone is supportive of your business, you won’t feel nearly as guilty taking time to work on it. And you’ll grow faster, because you’ll have support.
I’d love for you to share strategies you used to get everyone on the same page.
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