New book helps business-owning parents with the “juggling act”
A survey has revealed that nearly three-quarters of entrepreneurial parents feel guilty about not spending enough time with their kids.
The poll, conducted by business consultants Chandra Clarke and Terence Johnson, found that 74% of entrepreneurial parents said they often felt guilty about the amount of time they spent away from their children.
Clarke said the findings showed that “being a parent and running a business can be a real juggling act.” She continued: “It’s clear from our survey that entrepreneurial parents feel the pressure of trying to do two hard things well. This jives with our own experience and what we’ve heard anecdotally from other people in our position.”
Clarke and Johnson are the authors of The Entrepreneurial Parent: Run Your Business, Raise Your Family, Keep Your Sanity! The book discusses their own experience of founding a business and growing it to a successful exit while raising four children. That former business was Scribendi, which is an international proofreading business and their latest venture is Turns & Tales (turnsandtales.com) a destination board game and book store cafe in Canada.
“It can be incredibly challenging to get the right balance between your work life and your home life at the best of times,” said Johnson.
But running a business tends to be all-consuming, especially in the startup stage, and if you’ve combined that with starting a family, it’s hard to know if you’re doing enough for your kids. Especially in their formative years. I can see why parent entrepreneurs would struggle with that, as well as time for themselves and their spouses outside the business.Terence Johnson
Clarke notes there are very few support mechanisms for entrepreneurs, so they’re left to muddle through.
“We learned a lot of things the hard way because a lot of the networking groups are geared toward young entrepreneurs or older, mostly male executives who tend to rely on supportive spouses. With the rate of new business startups on the rise in this post-pandemic era, we want to make it easier for the next cohort to achieve their dreams.”
Financial and family juggling: it’s possible even with 5 kids
Parents are less likely to have enough cash left over at the end of the month than non-parents (54% of parental couples vs 66% of couples with no children), according to a study.
Figures from a 2022 HL Savings & Resilience Barometer showed just how much parents are struggling to make ends meet compared to those without funding dependents during the Cost of Living Crisis. They’re also less likely to have enough in savings (63% vs 78%) and are more worried about their debts (76% aren’t concerned vs 87%).
Freelancers with children with late paying clients, could be even worse off at the end of each month, which means they need to set up payment reminder systems a couple of days ahead of any payment due dates.
Bridget Daley, Founder of Parents in Biz, a magazine for parent small business owners, has five children, so knows a thing about “the juggle” of raising a family and a young business.
“I would say my top tip is when you’re going into business, especially within the first six months, is to factor in time and money- and good management of both- and above all patience. This is very much your family’s journey that you are about to embark on. I keep telling my audience, running a business is a marathon, not a sprint.”
“I use project management tools, such as Trello, which my personal assistant uses, too,” Daley told The Freelance Informer in a former interview.
She added, “I manage all my projects and my day-to-day tasks. I also time myself on each post, so I can set realistic time goals from start to finish for the next one and try to improve on it. I use time blocking, too.
“When I first launched the magazine, I felt overwhelmed. I didn’t know this was such a big thing I was taking on and maybe I could have published a better magazine, but sometimes you have to go in a bit naïve otherwise you would never get anywhere.”
How can you prepare your family for a startup?
Daley said it helps to “explain to your children what Mummy and Daddy do each day. You can also get them involved, so they have a larger understanding of what you do. I get my children and family involved by asking their opinions on things, such as logo design and in other ways.”
When Daley started her magazine she got her youngest to help pack the magazine – “it’s important to get them involved in some ways and show them what you do daily.”
“This makes them mindful when you need some quiet time to work, whether that’s putting up a sign on your home office to let them know you need quiet time, letting them know that they can slip a note under the door or be mindful when you have your headphones on, that you are in ‘focus mode’ so they do not interrupt you. Once you find these tricks things will work smoother,” said Daley.
“But there are times when you’re just going to want to cry. So, it’s always good to have a support network and that means finding people who are supportive of what you’re all about,” she said.