Business and babies – the two go together like chalk and cheese … or do they? Sarah O’Bryan is mother of two little people and runs a successful graphic design and PR business from home. Sarah has successfully managed to combine the two, and so much so she has written a book on the subject for mums just like her, Business and Baby at Home.
With an increasing trend for mothers (and fathers) to work from home, Sarah has tapped into a an ever-increasing market and one that doesn’t come with a toolkit … until now. Through an open and honest approach based on her own learnings, Sarah guides the reader through all the stages of setting up a business at home – very much like the birth of a child!
Her ideas and advice are all based on real life experience and easy-to-implement practices. I have been experiencing my own business and baby at home experience since the beginning of the year and I gobbled up Sarah’s book like it was a dripping soft serve ice cream – it was easy to eat (I mean read) and was delightful! Sarah’s writing style is straight-forward, practical and very human. And more importantly packed with useful tips on juggling a business and a baby at home.
Meet Sarah …
Here Sarah gives us her 17 bright ideas for working from home with kids;
- Passion – Do something you’re passionate about because this is what will keep you motivated when you lack enthusiasm or are feeling tired.
- Mission Statements – Write business and mummy mission statements to keep you on track. When you need confirmation on a decision, reflect on your statements to see if it aligns.
- The Book – Business & Baby at Home – a set-up and survival guide for mums (Finch 2013). Visit www.businessandbabyathome.com.au for more info about Sarah and her fab book, which is available from bookstores and online retailers. It is packed full of clever business acumen and honest stories from other like-minded mums, who are on the same journey.
- Reduce, Reuse, Recycle – When you’re starting up, don’t rush out and buy the best of everything, reuse furniture you may already have and build up your office assets as the business can afford them.
- Equal Parenting – Adopt an equal parenting approach from the start. Empower your partner to be confident with all the responsibilities of running the house and caring for your children so you can successfully tag-team when required.
- Telephone – Put in a separate phone line for the business so you know when the phone rings, whether it’s a personal or business call. This means if you’re on a deadline, you won’t get stuck on a call to great-aunt Bev and, in the same way, you won’t pick up an important business call with the Wiggles blaring in the background.
- Invoicing – Stay on top of your bookwork, and invoice promptly once a job is complete. There’s no point in working hard if you don’t get paid!
- WIP – Keep a work-in-progress list at all times so you have a record of your jobs. Update this throughout the day so that nothing slips through the cracks. Finalise it at the end of your workday to help you switch off and relax, knowing that everything is in place.
- Marketing – Even though you’ve created a fabulous business people still need to be able to find you, so market, market, market. Network, be active on social media, send out a press release, create a media plan or start cold calling.
- Response Times – Set reasonable lead times for yourself so that when you’re particularly busy, you’re not overly stressed trying to deliver on time.
- Email – Encourage email as the primary communication with clients. That way in doesn’t matter if the kids are shrieking with delight, or running amuck. You can also respond when it’s convenient to you, and you have a record of the conversation, which can be helpful if there’s a disagreement, or when you’re quoting and invoicing.
- Failure – Everyone has bad days. Try not to let them get you down. Reward yourself with a nice coffee, a glass of wine or a long hot bath once the kids are in bed. Reminding yourself that tomorrow is a new day.
- Goals – Set short and long-term goals, including personal and professional achievements. These may be setting financial benchmarks, acquiring a number of new clients, or getting to Pilates once a week.
- Routine – Maintain a strong routine that enables you to get your work done. A lack of routine can result in shapeless and unproductive days with no progress.
- Food – Throw on the slow cooker at the beginning of the day or cut up your vegetables for dinner at lunchtime to take the pressure off the end of the day when you’re trying to meet deadlines, or help with homework.
- Time-Tricks – Use time-tricks to achieve more in each 24 hours. For example, read your report while you’re waiting in the school pick-up queue or combine a trip to the bank with buying the present you need for the party on the weekend and checking your post office box.
- Outsource – When you can afford it; outsource the jobs you don’t enjoy. This may be having your clothes ironed or your garden tended to. Similarly, a weekly cleaner is a great asset to the work-from-home parent.
Reproduced with permission from 17 Bright Ideas.
Click below to buy Business and Baby at Home or for more information.