Five tips to help you grow an online business AND family!

For many ambitious mums, starting a home-based business is the ideal scenario. They get to earn money doing something they love AND be there for their growing family. Read five tips on how to start yours.

Starting an online, home-based business is an increasingly popular career option for lots people – especially mums. Felix Tarcomnicu explains why so many families are considering starting a business, and shares five simple tips to help you get yours off to the best possible start.

Most families need more than one income

It’s official. With childcare and living costs soaring, the number of modern mumpreneurs is on the rise. And you only need to look at the financial pressure on families today to see why:

  • According to a 2013 survey by Gallup, a family of four in America believes they need US$58,000 just to get by.
  • A similar 2012 study in the UK revealed that a family of four need £36,800 to have a ‘socially acceptable’ standard of living.
  • And to live well in Australia, you apparently need a household income of just over AUD$94,000.

Compare these figures with the average salaries (in 2013) in these three countries (US$44,888, £26,500 and AUD$72,800 respectively) and you can understand why so many families today need two incomes – and why an increasing number of them are starting online businesses.

As men traditionally earn more than women, it’s more common to find mums working, freelancing or starting their own businesses from home – given them the ability to continue their career and bring in an income for their family, while being around to raise their children.

Five tips to help you grow an online business and family

If you’re one of the growing numbers of home entrepreneurs, how can you grow your business while raising your family – and do both well? To help you, here are five tips.

1) Talk your idea through with your family

Once you’ve decided to start a home business, talk your idea through with your family. Explain why you started it, and the benefits to you all. Be clear about the times you’ll need to work, and what it means to everyone else. Ask if they have any suggestions as to how you can work around them, and look for ways they can get involved too.

If your children are older, you could even delegate some household tasks to them to free up some of your time. If everyone is on board from the outset, it will make it much easier for you all.

2) Write down your business and family goals

When you start a business from home you’ll need to integrate your responsibilities for work and your family. And to succeed at both, you need to now what that success ‘looks like’. For example, having certain hours a day free to spend with your children and partner, being able to attend sports days and other family dates, or achieving a certain income or number of clients from your business.

By stating clear goals you can create structures and practices that will enable you to meet them.

3) Create a schedule for work and family

With a business and family to juggle you’ll need to be highly organised! So make sure you have a schedule for your obligations and dates for both. As soon as school or family dates come up, book them in so you don’t forget them. Likewise any business meetings or deadlines.

Whether you like to use diaries, online calendars or any other system, keep it up-to-date and check it daily! By being organised you can also foresee times and tasks that you will struggle to get done, and either re-schedule them or outsource them to a virtual assistant.

4) Set up your home office

American novelist William Faulkner once said that if you will run a family business you must have a room dedicated to it. For many family homes, finding a dedicated room for an office is a luxury. But even if you can only squeeze a corner work space, you can still make it a stylish, workable work place.  

Most online businesses only need two main things – a computer and internet connection. So make sure you have a reliable computer and enough bandwidth to provide stable facilities when you have to make online audio or video calls. It’s also a good idea to make your home office off-limits to children, to allow you to work undisturbed.

5) Create ‘focus blocks’

According to personal development coach Steve Pavlina, the average office worker only does 90 minutes of ‘real work’ a day. So in order to maximise your productivity and get more done in one day, schedule 90 minutes per business task.

Pavlina refers to these as ‘focus blocks’, where your focus and concentration remains undivided and solely on the accomplishment of these tasks. Even if you were to complete just one focus block a day, you can enjoy spending guilt-free time with your family, confident you’ve been productive.

Consider yourself your family CEO!

With the right approach and organisation, managing time between your business and your family doesn’t have to be complicated. Just think of it as running a small business in which you’re the CEO – you’re responsible for the profitability of your company, while relying on the cooperation and support of your team to meet this objective!

Felix is an entrepreneur and online marketer. He currently works with a company that helps entrepreneurs hire virtual assistants from Philippines. Connect with him on Twitter.