Designing your Business Around Your Vision for Your FamilyBy Stacey Hylen | Category: Lead Story, Marketing, Strategic Planning, Time Management
Yahoo’s new CEO, Marissa Meyer, is stirring up a lot of debate with her maternity leave plan. She has said that she plans to take a few weeks of maternity leave but to keep working throughout her maternity leave. This stirs up a lot of feelings for me and other moms. I am excited that she is the first Fortune 500 CEO to be hired while pregnant which means that women have broken through a new glass ceiling. I am also happy that this has placed the parental/ maternity leave in the headlines since the US ranks 20th out of 21 high income countries for their parental leave policies according to a study in 2009 by the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CERP).
This whole debate of childcare and how to balance parenting with earning a living is one of the reasons I started my own business. I wanted to be in control of how much time I spent with my kids and have the freedom to design my own schedule. Not to say that this has been easy, instead of getting a paid maternity leave with my first daughter like most employees, I promptly lost almost all of my clients when she was born when many of my coaching clients choose that time to complete their coaching assuming I would be taking time off with my daughter.
So I was challenged to rebuild my business with a newborn! There were many weeks of getting up at 4am to nurse my daughter before heading off to an early morning BNI meeting and having my hubby and I meet at Tim Hortons for him to hand her over on his way to work. This was exhausting so I had to create a better way. I resolved that when my second daughter was born and would have a thriving business that was designed around the life I wanted for my family.
Here are some of the steps I took to design my business around my vision for my family:
- Get clear on what you want. Take some time to figure out what would make you happy both for the growth of your business and your family time. I figured out what I wanted to be done with my day when my daughter got off the bus, take all school vacations off with my kids, have at least 4 weeks off in the summer and only work half days the rest of the summer. This adds up to 8-10 weeks per year that I take off per year. I was also very clear that although I was family centered I didn’t want a business that was just some part time income and set my goal for six figures per year short term with a long term goal of reaching a million dollar business.
- Get clear on your boundaries, aka, what you don’t want. I realized that I was willing to travel some for business but I set clear limits on how often and how long I was willing to be away. This is necessary so you can say NO when it doesn’t fit your life.
- Be creative and persistent! When my second daughter was born I was insistent that she stays with me instead of going to daycare, so I kept looking and asking until I found someone to care for her in my home so I could nurse her and play with her in between clients. This worked out even better than I could have imagined since the woman was amazing. She loved my daughter and she COOKED too!
- Set your business up for leverage. In order to make my plan come true I had to set up passive revenue streams so I was making money even when I wasn’t coaching my clients. We are so lucky now to have multiple ways to do this using the internet. Some examples are: memberships sites or programs, affiliate marketing, and offering info products.
- Maximize every opportunity. Look for ways to get more out of less in your business. How can you increase your average sale? Keep clients longer? Get more referrals? What can you do with prospects that say no? How can you make the most of every time you travel? Stay focused on creating more results and more revenue out of every opportunity.
- Stay flexible. Things will change, clients will ask you to make exceptions, great opportunities will come up be willing to stay flexible and bend while keeping your vision for your life and your business in mind.
- Hang out with like minded people. This journey balancing a business with a family centered life is not for sissies, the stay at home moms will say you aren’t doing it right, the people who work in regular jobs may be jealous, other business owners might not think you are serious enough so it is important to get support from others who have chosen this path and stay true to the vision you have for your family and business.
Know that the time is short and before you know it your kids will be choosing to hang out with their friends instead of spending their time with you so enjoy every moment while you can.