Our guest blogger is Sage Business Expert, Amanda Alexander PCC. Amanda is an award-winning professional coach who specialises in working with Mumpreneurs and working mothers in business. She founded Coaching Mums in 2003 and since then she has helped hundreds of female solopreneurs to build profitable businesses that enable them to strike the balance between work and family.
Looking for more information? We’ve got a free guide to getting the work life balance right.
The no. 1 problem shared by all mums in business
It’s a truth universally acknowledged that when a business owner is also a mum, she has to be flexible in the way that she runs her business, as she is likely to have a very short working week. With the high cost of childcare, most home-based business mums with very young children don’t have the luxury of spending full working days for 5 days per week on their business. Then, when kids start school, mums find that their working days are extremely short indeed – generally core hours are 9.30 am to 3 pm for most. This is why many “mumpreneurs” work the night shift from 9pm, when the children are finally in bed and they have an uninterrupted block of time.
When half term holidays loom
As for half term… well, if you thought it was difficult enough during term time, cop a load of the school holidays that land every other month. This is when mothers in business really have to get imaginative about how to juggle business, children and still have energy left over to “do some exercise and have some me time”. You know – all that stuff you know you SHOULD be “fitting in”? I think they call it Work-Life Balance?!
5 strategies for managing your business when the kids are on holiday
First of all, the disclaimer: No “expert” can wave a magic wand. And work-life balance is a very subjective concept – a perfect picture of work-life balance to me may be your idea of hell. You need to define what works for you. That aside, here are 5 strategies that have helped me over the years, specifically during half term:
- Set expectations with your clients/customers that you work reduced hours during half term. When any new potential client enquires about coaching with me, one of the things they will read in my brochure is that I am available for coaching on specific days and sometimes not at all during half term holidays. I reinforce this by blocking out time in my online calendar well in advance of each half term break.
- Become a demon at planning: As all mums reading this know, it’s all about preparation. You have to get into the habit of planning well in advance. If you don’t, you soon learn! The sooner you plan for the next half term, the more relaxed you can be as you won’t be rushing around wondering how you are going to fit everything in.
- Be imaginative in how you carve out working time during half term holidays. Who is in your local network of working mums who you could do a swap with? Could you have her kids one day and she has yours the next? This is a great win-win solution as, in my experience, there’s nothing my boys like better than to be with their friends!
- Have some fun during half term. There is always a flip side, and one of the most wonderful privileges we have as self-employed mums, is that we have the flexibility to take our foot off the gas during half term and have some fun with our kids. The cost of this might mean that you have frantically busy weeks before and after half terms. That’s fine – work-life balance doesn’t come in nicely proportioned chunks each day.
- Quality and focus beats quantity: Any task expands to fill the time allotted for it. Isn’t it amazing how you can finish things off before you head off on a holiday? Use this rule to your advantage as a mum in business: If you only have a 20 minute chunk of time, eek every ounce of goodness out of that 20 minute working time. You can be more productive in 20 minutes of focused time than you can be in 2 hours.
How do YOU manage to run your business over school holidays as a mum? What do you find difficult and works well for you? I’d love to hear your own strategies for success!
And if you want more of my tips for working mums and mumpreneurs, you can go and visit my blog at www.coachingmums.com/blog
Amanda Alexander PCC