Are you a woman business owner who started your business thinking it would give you more time to spend with your family? You’ve probably experienced a rude awakening as you discover it’s harder than you think to balance family time with business ownership. Fortunately, there are ways to make it work. Here are three common work and family conflicts and suggestions for how to resolve them.
Conflict 1: You’re working at home while trying to care for young children and they want your attention 24/7.
Solution: It’s unrealistic to expect to operate a business during the few moments you can snatch from the kids—as you’ll find out the first time a crying infant interrupts a conference call. While you can probably squeeze in some work during naptime, before the children wake up or after they go to bed, those hours are unreliable at best. Your best bet is to arrange some type of child care during work hours. Then maximize those precious hours by focusing on tasks that require concentration, leaving the house or interacting with clients.
Conflict 2: Your spouse expects you to handle the role of a stay-at-home wife while running a business.
Solution: It’s important to make your and your husband’s expectations clear from the beginning. Most likely you’ll need to re-divide up the household labor—but your spouse may not get that unless you spell it out. Make sure your husband is on board with your business and fully supportive, or you’ll run into trouble down the road. It’s a good idea to check in regularly (such as every month) to surface small problems before they fester into big ones.
Conflict 3: Your unreliable income is putting a strain on your family.
Solution: If you previously had a job, you’re in for adjustment during the business startup stage, when you may need to take little or no salary so you can put all your earnings back into the business. Sit down with your spouse and plan for that reality. Determine how you’ll bridge the gap between your budget and your income, and decide what expenses you can cut out in until your company becomes profitable. Developing detailed financial projections will help you be realistic about when you can expect to start making more money—and help your spouse see the light at the end of the tunnel.
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