How to find time for your own business

Trying to squeeze in the time for your own business or freelance work is a problem most working mums can relate to. And the more mums we talk to, the more we realise that eventually women work out what works best for them. Zoe Moss of Ecommerce Mum shares some of her tips with us.    

Making time to start your own business

You love being a mum and you don’t want to sacrifice a single minute with your children. At the same time, you want a business – it’s something you need to do for an income, flexibility and for yourself.

One of the best times to set up your own business or freelance career is while you’re on maternity leave. It’s time you wouldn’t normally have away from your usual work. And during this time, the desire not to have to go back to your old job can really inspire and motivate you to build something for yourself.

But even if you’re not on maternity leave, you can still find and make more time than you think with the right tactics. How you use your time can impact on how successful you are. You have to be willing to make some sacrifices to find the time to do what you truly desire. Even catching 10 minutes here and there can add up to a lot of hours over weeks and months.

My tips for finding time to work

It can be incredibly difficult finding the time to work on your business if you have a day job and your dream is to work from home, but with a bit of juggling it can be done. Over the years I have found ways to work on my business when time is limited. They work for me, and hopefully may help you, or give you ideas of your own.

Be prepared at all times

Have key work items you need with you wherever you go. This could be your diary, a notepad, pen or your mobile phone (or laptop for longer journeys). You never know when the opportunity will arise to squeeze in a few minutes of work. Grabbed opportunities to work include:

  • In waiting areas
  • When your child is asleep in the car and you’ve just arrived somewhere
  • In bad traffic
  • On breaks at your day job
  • A quiet moment when you’re visiting family or friends
  • Waiting for the dinner to cook
  • Routine sleep times at home

You’ll soon find that once you start looking for opportunities, they’ll crop up when you least expect them.

Schedule some set times

Steal 30 minutes or an hour to get on with some work by asking your partner, friend or family member to take your children out for a walk or to the park. You could agree to a weekly timeslot when you get some free time to yourself. If you have a friend with children you may even agree to take theirs once a week in return, so you can both benefit from the arrangement and you can feel less bad about asking for help.

Use mobile phone apps on the go

Installing social media apps on your mobile phone makes connecting with customers, tweeting and updating your Facebook page while you’re away from your computer quick and easy. Some useful apps include:

  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Pinterest
  • Tumblr
  • Google+
  • Skype
  • WordPress

Ease up on housework

To find more time for business or freelance work, ease up on housework. Where possible, clean and tidy as you go (though I appreciate it’s not always that easy with children!) so you don’t end up faced with a mountain of housework at the end of the day.

Consider having your food shopping delivered, too. Delivery prices between supermarkets vary depending on the time slot you choose and typically range between £2.50 and £6.00. You could potentially save yourself an hour a week doing this. Travel time to and from the supermarket, plus browsing time can add up to an hour and a half. How much is your time worth?

Accept that you can’t do everything

It’s virtually impossible to be a good mum, have a day job, a sparkling house, a cooked meal every night, downtime in front of the television, pampering/relaxation time, and start and run a business.

That said, there are 168 hours in a week. That’s a lot of time to use. And if you sleep for 8 hours a night, that still leaves you with 112 hours left over. If you can’t currently spare any of these for your business or freelance work, it may be time to look for ways to grab some back.

One great place to look for extra time is in time stealers. Cut down on activities like watching junk TV and surfing the internet. Stay away from Facebook (unless you’re updating your business page) and all the other social media websites. I’m a sucker for Pinterest, and can easily spend half an hour browsing before I realise how much time I’ve wasted – avoid for personal use!

Start noticing where your time goes

Start to notice where your time goes and look for opportunities to utilise it. You have to ask yourself how badly you want your own business or freelance career to be a success. Are you willing to make some sacrifices? It’s not always easy to build up a business or freelance career, and requires a lot of hard work and effort to get results.

Make a plan and work towards success

If your heart is in your business or freelance work, it’s a passion and you think about a great deal, then you are already half way there. Make a plan and work on it whenever you find the opportunity, and you’ll soon find yourself working towards success.

Want more tips and inspiration? Follow Zoe’s Facebook page.