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Is your freelance business family friendly?
Creating a family friendly freelance business has been one huge factor in my being able to work from home.
I’m a busy homeschooling mom of nine. If my kids couldn’t participate in my business, I couldn’t run one.
This attitude has allowed me to go from trying to keep my work and kids completely separate to working WITH my kids. It’s been a game changer! I’ve lowered my stress, and been working on scaling my business.
Of course, I didn’t come up with all of these ideas all by myself.
Years ago, I read the book Family Friendly Farming by Joel Salatin. Though my business isn’t a farm, I discovered plenty of ways to put the same practices to use.
This is one of my favorite books of all times! I’ve reread it often because it’s full of common sense principles that really transcend any one industry.
Salatin’s words inspired this post – which I’m dubbing Family Friendly Freelancing.
If you’re looking for ways to get more work done as a freelancing mom, try implementing some of these principles.
Teach Your Kids About Your Business
Don’t let your kids wonder what you’re doing in front of your computer. Instead of hiding, trying to get work done while praying they don’t destroy the house, take time to teach them.
Have them sit down with you as you write a blog post. Show them the headings and why they’re important.
Talk about your business throughout the day. Your kids should know your goals, and know how they can help.
What vocabulary words are important in your industry? Teach those to your kids by having conversations that include them. Here are some of the words I’m teaching my kids as a freelance writer, VA, and blogger:
- Blog post
- Pinterest friendly image
- Cover image
- Flat-lay image
- Affiliate marketing
- Content creation
These words are all important to my business. They’re things I care about. And I don’t want to sound like I’m speaking a foreign language when I talk to my kids about these.
As a bonus, my kids will have a head start on these things when they grow up. I’m teaching them to have an entrepreneurial spirit and be able to speak intelligently about many digital topics.
Pick Family Friendly Clients
Not all clients are a good fit for a busy mom. You need to make sure you opt to work with the right clients.
Here are five things I look for when determining if a client will be a good fit or not:
- Has a clear understanding of what they want (this avoids a lot changing expectations)
- Doesn’t expect me to be available 24/7 or “on-call”
- Gives me reasonable deadlines (Sometimes a quick turnaround is needed, but I don’t want it on a regular basis)
- Doesn’t require constant video or phone meetings
- Pays a decent wage (it’s not worth my time away from my kids if I’m working for pennies a word.)
Once you find the right clients, hang onto them. Provide excellent customer service, and do you very best work. Keep your deadlines and be professional in your communication.
Also, if you agreed to do work for a client who ends up being less than stellar, make sure you uphold your end of the agreement. Your kids are watching you, so you want to model integrity and honesty.
Do Family Friendly Tasks
This one probably goes without saying…but I’ll say it just in case.
Pick tasks that you are okay with your kids seeing. They will be reading over your shoulder and peeking at what’s on your screen.
Stick to family friendly topics and family friendly sites for researching, okay?
Work With Your Kids
One important thing I learned while teaching is that kids rise and fall to meet our expectations. They are capable of so many things – if we’re willing to teach them patiently, and provide clear expectations.
I love working with my kids! We make a really good team.
They join me in the kitchen while I make meals and we work together to clean the kitchen.
We work outside together, feeding the cows and watering the chickens.
And, they help me with my business.
Here’s a post with 17 different tasks your kids can actually help you with. Here’s a quick recap:
- Taking photos
- Creating pins
- Double checking your books/basic data entry
- Inserting affiliate links
Of course you have to teach your children how to do these things. They are kids and don’t just know.
But, if you show them how it’s done, and write up some instructions for them, and then work with them a couple of times – they can do great things!
And really help you relieve the overwhelm from trying to do it all.
This post shares how five different mom bloggers integrate their kids into their business.
Have Family Meetings
My kids and I meet regularly to discuss my business and the things I’m working on. I talk to them before taking on new work, to see what they think of me having to spend more time on the computer.
When we have our daily Plan of the Day Meetings, I share with my kids what I need to accomplish that day. They make pretty good cheerleaders!
They often encourage me to go for it. My kids know our big picture goals. We are praying for my husband to be able to quit his job by June of 2019 so we can hit the road on full-time deputation.
They know that if I don’t work, the chances of this happening go way down. So, they understand why I’m doing it.
When your kids get the WHY, they are much more understanding about what you’re doing. They can see that this is for a purpose. That you aren’t just sitting in front of the computer because you hate spending time with them or something.
I’m very open with my kids about the financial side of my business. They are a part of my team, and I keep them in the loop.
Obviously the amount they need to know and can comprehend varies by age, but I think we do our kids a disservice when we try to keep important information from them.
Along the same lines, my kids and I celebrate together frequently. We rejoice when I land a new writing gig, and cheer when I make another affiliate sale.
Take time to celebrate the small wins and the huge ones. It’ll help draw your family into your business.
Here are some ideas for inexpensive celebrations:
- Eat dinner in front of the TV and watch a fun movie
- Have an ice cream sundae party
- Play a couple of board games
- Take a nice long walk
- Watch some “How to Draw” lessons and do art together
It doesn’t take much to be something special. And your kids will feel included and special.
Be sure to emphasize that you couldn’t have done this without their help. Because honestly, you couldn’t have!
If your kids hadn’t given you time to work, you wouldn’t be where you are today. You win is a family win, and it’s important to celebrate.
See Your Children as a Blessing, Not a Burden
Your kids are not a burden to you or your business. Yes, perhaps someday you’ll be able to grow more or put in more hours.
But, right now, you have the amazing task of raising awesome adults. That’s huge! And you only get one chance.
If your kids think that you resent them, or that you’re counting the days until you can go big when they’re gone, they will take that personally. They may even start to make your life miserable.
Love on your kids, and enjoy them. They are kids – still learning how to act appropriately and what not to do. Show them and include them.
It really is normal to work together as a family. It’s what was done for centuries until we decided as a society that we should age segregate.
You are preparing them for real life when you let them do work with you. Your business really is a good thing for them, and they can be a blessing for your business.
Take Time for Fun
Play really is how children learn best. And, you need time to decompress too. Time to just enjoy your kids without worrying about your deadlines or statistics.
Put your phone down and shut your computer off. Go outside together and enjoy the sunshine. Play some games. Run around.
Just enjoy life together.
Then get back to work, with a new sense of purpose.
Your kids will know that there’s a time for work, and a time for play. It’s a very important concept!
Ask Your Kids for Their Opinions
Since we’re a team, I don’t always assume that my ways are the best ways. I take time to regularly check in with my kids. They offer great insights into things I hadn’t thought of.
Recently, one of my kids suggested moving family play time to before lunch since some of the little guys were frequently getting in trouble during it. They weren’t trying to be naughty – they were just exhausted and ready for their naps.
By moving family play time, it became less of a struggle and more fun. Everyone could participate without nearly as much interruption.
And it was a change I don’t know that I would have thought of.
Give your kids a voice, and listen to them. You don’t have to turn the control of the house over to them, you are still in charge, but they really do have great ideas!
Your Attitude Matters
I am the biggest factor in making my business family friendly. I can dread working around my kids and complain about the noise.
Or I can choose to be thankful for my kids, and find ways for us to work together.
If you want to have a family friendly freelance business, your attitude must reflect that. Your kids will sense how you truly feel and will either work against you or with you.
Is Your Business Family Friendly?
Would you describe your business as a family friendly one? If not, what can you do to make it one?
If it is, do you have any more advice to share for other mamas looking to integrate their kids into their businesses?
Ready to launch a freelance writing business of your own? I highly recommend Gina Horkey’s 30 Days or Less to Freelance Writing Success. It’s written by a mompreneur who understands building a business while raising a family.
Lisa Tanner is a former teacher turned homeschooling mom with 11 kids. She's also a successful freelance writer. Lisa enjoys helping other busy moms find time to start and grow a side hustle of their own.