International Women's Day 2014: The Secrets to Running a Business Around a Family

By Stefanie Neyland, Small Business Content Developer at

Women are launching new businesses at an explosive rate, and a majority of these businesses are run out of the home with many of them operating online. While this may sound like a great idea in theory, in practice, the reality is that separating your family life from work is easier said than done. Disciplining yourself to work is hard at the best of times and it’s made even more difficult when your desk is your dining room table, your ‘colleague’ is your labrador and the day’s water-cooler gossip consists of a conversation with your five-year-old about a schoolyard disagreement. So how do busy moms-come-entrepreneurs separate the two very distinct sides of their lives? Here are five suggestions.




1. Physically separate work from home

It’s tough for mompreneurs to mentally “leave the office” when it’s just down the hall, so consider building a wall, taking over a spare bedroom, or hanging a curtain—anything to distinguish your office from personal areas as much as possible. Having family around can be one of the many perks of running your business from home, but it can also be one of the biggest distractions. By separating your workspace in this way, you’ll be creating a barrier that’s both physical and mental, thus helping you make that all-important distinction between work and home life.


2. Make work time productive

Working from home requires many of the time management techniques that are used in any office. Planning, scheduling, and forecasting all help you get your work done on time— however because you're home, others may think you're available. Let everyone know that your workspace if your work space, and try to discourage unexpected visitors and establish some parameters with your family.


3. Set business hours

If you want to work from 10 to 5, make it your policy and stick to it. Otherwise, self-discipline will wane and you’ll be tempted to do that load of laundry, unload the dishwasher or help the kids with their homework.


4. Make time for you

Get out of the house! Many entrepreneurs often miss the social aspect of their old job—the general office chit-chat and water cooler gossip. Schedule frequent breaks from your home office and try to connect with other home-based business owners. Get out for daily coffee with another entrepreneur, join a fitness club, or just take a short walk. You’ll love your home office even more when you return.


5. Rally the troops

The trick to running a business around a busy family life is to know when to bring in reinforcements, whether that be in terms of your business or your home life. Every wife, mother and entrepreneur has her limits—there are an unlimited number of demands on working moms and only so many hours in a day. Not only are you having to manage the demands of a busy household, but you’re also trying to run a successful business venture too, and despite what you may think, one of the signs of being a good leader is to know when to ask for help. Call upon your spouse, family and friends, or hire someone to help around the house or with your business to lighten the load.

By Adam

March 08, 2014