02 May Family and Business Under One Roof
Operating a home-based business is enormously rewarding; you do the work you want to do, when you want to do, how to do it and why your do it! But it can also be a challenge and an exercise of discipline and a mastery of dexterity. When family and business converge in a single living space, you need certain skills to balance and keep both sides happy.
Role confusion with your family members causes a lot of stress and anxiety. What might be expected of you as a spouse or a parent is not often the same as you being a business owner. Each role typically has a list of responsibilities that has to be maintained, but what do you do when you face a deadline for an important client and yet dinner has to be made, homework has to be supervised and there are 3 loads of laundry waiting for you? Is your family ready, willing and able to jump in and do what needs to be done for the household while you take care of business? If yes, then you are good to go! If not, then why not?
Have you taken the time to discuss with them how your home-based business affects them? By doing so, you give them a chance to voice their concerns and their overall impression of you wearing two hats that is clearly visible to them daily, as opposed to you being away for 9 – 10 hours a day.
Communicate often and openly. Share with them what your business is all about; what your specific functions are and how you do what you do. You might want to invite them to actually watch what you do and get some feedback from them. It would be a good idea for all of you to sit down together and make a list of what each person expects. You can start by defining what is needed in both home life and your business life. Ask them to contribute to this to make sure that everything is included. The art of comprise can be exhibited along with good listening skills and understanding. Setting up a specific time to do only fun, family things is important and more importantly is keeping that time sacred. Periodic review of how things are working out would allow for adjustments and “tweaking” as necessary.
Spouses/partners should have an agreement about authority and power and stick to this as home and business needs manifest themselves. A united front is vital, as kids catch on very quickly as to which parent is more lenient than the other. Exposing any kind of “push and pull” to children sends the wrong message about entrepreneurship and the importance of being self-reliant and independent in how a living can be earned. Siblings and parents can pose a problem as well. Behavioral patterns developed in childhood are hard to break; the need to “compete” with a sibling or for parental approval sometimes rules good decision making for your business. Learning how to separate yourself from this type of thinking is crucial if you are dedicated and focused on your own vision for your business for the right reasons.
Throughout all of this, keep in mind that issues simply just don’t “go away”. They sit and fester; they become larger than life; they are the root for bad behavior. Being direct and understandable is difficult; you don’t want to hurt or disappoint anyone so doing nothing seems to be the better option. In the long run, though, it makes things worse. Learning how to relay the message constructively will allow you to Love What You Do and Live The Life You Love!
The Home-Based Business Expert