5 Ways Entrepreneurs With Kids Can Remain Balanced & Productive
Yes, let’s begin by loudly proclaiming that we love our children. We would do anything for them. They are our heartbeart; our soul and our raison d’etre. Great, now that we have that out of the way, let’s talk about how we – entrepreneurs with kids – can remain balanced while having our little loved one’s home for the summer.
One of the things many parents, especially entrepreneurs with kids, find challenging is embracing new routines when the kids get out of school. After the excitement of anticipating the fun holidays and adventures, many parents approach the end of the summer with equal enthusiasm; eager for their children to return to school.
The question is this – can we have it both ways? Can we – entrepreneurs with kids – enjoy the summer holidays and also remain sane?
Many readers of this blog are entrepreneurs with kids. If you do not have children, perhaps your clients do, and this could be a great resource to pass on. If you do have kids, then this is just for you; inspired by questions posted by my Organize Your Life Students.
5 Tips for Entrepreneurs with Kids – Staying Sane During the Summer
- Trade Off Days
As a mom, and owner of three businesses, I know several moms who fall into the category of not having a business but still having a life to run. All moms, and dads too, need breaks. Find another parent, who has kids that are similar ages to your children and offer ‘trade off’ days. Figure out a schedule over the summer where you can do 3-4 days where you have all of the kids and the other parent, or parents, get a break and vice versa. These can be your most productive days where you can plan client meetings, or even just get to that exercise class you have been wanting to try.
- Reward Jars
This one works particularly well. Let’s face it – you have a business at home and suddenly, instead of being there by yourself, there is now a sink full of dishes, video games going on in the background and the non-stop trill of ‘Dad,’ or ‘Mom…I need something.’ Instead of wanting to pull your hair out, set up reward jars. Children as young as three can work well with these. Purchase poker chips, tickets or some form of token. Set up a structure by where children can earn tokens for the behaviors you want to reinforce such as reading, cleaning, etc. You can then decide in which way the tokens can be cashed in. If you have several children you could have them work together to accumulate a certain number of tokens. When they have that amount you can take them to a theme park or the movies.
- Get Them Involved
Work with your CPA to find out the tax code in your country. Children as young as twelve can be ‘hired’ by your business to do things such as shred, organize files, sort marketing materials and more. Many children love to get involved and instilling the entrepreneurial spirit early is a great thing to do.
4. Set A Family Goal
Chris and I are big believers in teaching our kids about money and we do not hold back. Additionally we will also share our business goals with the kids. In the past we have set family goals – for example hitting a milestone meant a family vacation to Bali. The kids were excited as we showed them photos and videos of where we would go. We let them know what it would take to achieve the goal and how they could help. If they argued, didn’t clean up or did anything that would create some form of mess, we let them know that it would take us further away from booking the trip. Happily everyone got on board and we hit the goal. Our trip to Bali is still a family highlight.
(Vow renewal in Bali)
- Say ‘No’
Several of my students have home based businesses and kids at home. They literally stop production in the summer and lose momentum because they refuse to say ‘no’ to their children. In our family our kids are certainly a priority however they understand that from the clothes they wear, the schools they attend and the trips we take – it all comes from income we generate. We let them know when our working hours are during the summer (we lessen the workday) and we also let them know when it will be exclusive family time. For example we do a great deal of business on the East Coast and in the summer will work from 8:00 a.m. to noon Pacific time and then pick up a late afternoon hour to hit the evening on the East Coast. The children are aware of our hours and if they are asking for things during that time, non-essential things like watching television – the answer is NO. Remember – you are the parent. You were told ‘no’ and chances are that you are just fine. It is okay to say ‘no’ when the situation calls for it.
Susan Sly is a Balanced Living Strategist. She has appeared in Rise of the Entrepreneur, on ABC Family Television, Lifetime Television and more. She is the author of The Have It All Woman and the upcoming book – Organize Your Life. Susan, and her husband, Chris, are the parents of five children. Susan is available for speaking and media appearances. Visit www.susansly.com