Top Tips on managing a business and a baby
Running a business is hard work. Raising a baby is hard work. So how do you combine the two successfully? There are many women and men who have taken on this challenge and come out on top. Here we learn from their experience:
~ Always factor extra time into deadlines. Anita Brook, Managing Director of Accounts Assist, who started her business after the birth of her daughter, says: “No matter what you’re planning to do add an extra day to it to ensure you actually do it. I massively underestimated how long everything would take while dealing with Isabella and a new business and had to quickly adapt.”
~ Make use of the weekends. Brook explains: “Anything that I didn’t finished in the week on the business side was completed on the weekend. This meant that I didn’t fall behind schedule and important work was never forgotten about.”
~ When you are working always stay focussed and prioritise. Vivien de Tusch-Lec, founder of Bubele advises: “Ruthlessly prioritise: Some say that having a baby is a productivity hack. Strip the business back to the essentials and focus on those. How to prioritise? Only have 1-3 things on the ‘To Do’ list daily that will help you to achieve your short to medium term goal, preferably making money/growing user base/traffic.”
~ Have a dedicated workspace and turn off all distractions. “Have a designated area to work from, even if it a few metres away from baby, when you needed to concentrate,” suggests Saroj Sequeira, Founder & CEO of Little Kokoro. “During this time, turn off ALL your distractions (social media, phone calls etc.) even if it is 20 minutes. You can do a lot in 20 minutes if you are not scrolling through Instagram or Facebook feeds, or taking a call. Call the person back, and scroll through the feeds guilt free later.”
In general, the world of work and having babies and children around are not that compatible but a strong support network can make all the difference.
~ Use your family for childcare AND help with your business. Brook says: “Even though the decision to launch Accounts Assist was taken with spending more time with Isabella in mind I found it wasn’t possible without the support of my family, not just babysitting but also in terms of the business – with the initial launch I relied on my family for guidance and feedback on the business.”
~ Outsource wherever possible, both in your business and at home. David Sayce, Digital Marketing Consultant who launched his business after the birth of his daughter, advises: “Get help, whether is is systems or outsourcing some of the jobs don’t be afraid to invest elements of the business to help you concentrate on your key areas. This could be areas such as accounting, basic paperwork or more technical areas of the business such as marketing.”
Lianne Bertelli of Bertilli Communications adds: “Also draft in any help for household stuff that seems to fall by the wayside – cleaner, ironer, gardener… they will all become your most favourite people in the world and money well spent!”
Tools and Products
The Internet is changing the way we live and can be harnessed to make our working and home lives more streamlined. There are also other products that business owners can use to make life a bit easier.
~ Harness the Internet to help you manage your time. Anu and Mikko Petaja, founders of live online yoga company Yogaia.com and parents of three boys not only order their groceries online but use the internet for time management. They explain: “Keeping calendars up to date is not easy with three boys. We have a shared Google Calendar that helps us to keep track on hockey practices, football games, tennis classes, parental nights, scout’s meetings etc.”
~ Apps like Trello, Slack and Google Hangout can be used to help you get stuff done, organise your time and can keep lines of communication clear and uncluttered. “Using two to three hours to commute to London does not make sense,” add the Petajas. “At Yogaia we have a company culture and tools that allow people work anytime, anywhere.”
~ Read around the subject to try and find an insight into the situation that works for you. Heather Baker, founder and CEO of TopLine Comms discovered the book Essentialiam: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown. “This book is the main reason I went from being a stressed out workaholic to a productive and efficient CEO (and a much happier human being),” she says. “It taught me to identify what’s important and eliminate everything else.”
~ Never underestimate beauty quick fixes. Bertelli notes: “For client meetings I recommend investing in Batiste Dry Hair Spray and taking out shares in Touche Eclat! Oh and also have wet wipes in your work bag in case you notice milk/food/sick stains on your clothes before heading into a meeting! “
Running a business and being responsible for small people can be an emotional rollercoaster at times. But it is important to take care of yourself in order to take care of your family and your business.
~ Listen to your intuition. Sarah Vrancken, PR director of SVPR, says: “If you’re not ready yet to let your nanny or mother’s help take the baby out for walks then ask her to wait for another week. It is hard to trust people with your newborn and it is understandable you may need some time.”
~ Do not let other people’s opinions matter. Vrancken adds: “Some people won’t understand your decision to keep working straight after having a baby. Don’t forget that people can only make you feel guilty if you already have doubts. If you know this is the best way for you to handle the situation, there is no need to feel guilty at all.”
~ Accept and make peace with the fact that you will not be able to do everything at the same pace as before having a baby. Sequeira says this really helped her mentally. “After a few weeks into a manic and overwhelming phase post baby, I stepped back, and really thought about the whole situation with a clear head,” she explained. “I accepted that I NEED to do lesser work, and more importantly, it is OK to do lesser work. The business will move steadily, but will not grow at the rapid pace I was used to. And that is OK.”