Business Tips Part 41: When Babies Come Knocking!

When babies come along, everything changes and that's obvious. But, it can bring an independent business to a standstill or at least a slowdown. The way you work and function will have to alter in ways you may never have realised because even though combining raising a family and growing a business will be twice as rewarding, it will be twice the challenge as both areas of your world compete for attention. Creating new products can wait, a screaming baby cannot.

Unless you have a business partner it is unlikely that you will get a true maternity or paternity leave as there is no one to fill your shoes. Therefore it is advisable to slow things down whilst still expecting the arrival: design products that are quicker to porduce and take on fewer custom orders and such like. If you are the one carrying the baby, avoid working up until your due date as you will need to rest and prepare for your new arrival.

It would also be a good idea to skip any trade shows or craft fairs unless you can guarantee an assistant....or three. It is not wise to schedule too much in the following few months after the birth as you have no idea of knowing what you will be able to handle. If you find the delivery date approaching and you still have orders to fill then enlist help - FAST. But also talk to your customers, many will be understanding.

The biggest challenge you may face will actually be a mental one. First and foremost you are now a parent and the needs of your child will need to come first. However you cannot let business slip to the point you forget to file your tax return or deliver late on orders. The easiest way around this is to get both yourself and the baby into the best routine you can. Creating a schedule for your child so that they nap, eat and play at similar times each day will allow you some element of control. If you do find yourself struggling, or are suffering sleep deprivation, ask for help from family and friends, or hire an assistant.

Often many people believe the stay-at-home but working parent is the ideal situation - being with your children all day but the flexibility of running your own business. Mixing the demands of a family with the demands of a business can create stress you never knew was possible. Everything becomes a balancing act of craft studio vs. dining room vs. play room, taking a business call in fear of your baby starting screaming and trying not to laugh when they distract you on the phone.

It will get easier because as your child grows they can play with you and you can work at the same time. I have one friend who's daughter loves to help her pick out the fabric for her dolls clothes and likes to be involved. When your child arrives at the inquisitive stage, you can utilise them - get them to stick on your address labels and decorate your packaging. They will be proud to help and you not only get the job done but also spend some time together.

If all of this sounds too much, think of the alternative - sitting in commuter hell for the daily commute to a job you don't really like, that saps your creativity - just so you can pay for childcare and a work wardrobe.

I know which option I'd prefer!

Coming next time on the 7th May - It's time to hire.

Monday, 3 May 2010 | 0 Comments

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