Jul 232013

Balancing business and family can be fun

For the past several years I’ve had the opportunity to work with lots of women in direct sales and I love it.  As part of a four-generation direct-selling family, the challenges in this type of work make sense to me.  And it doesn’t hurt that I admire people who achieve success in what can be a very difficult type of work.

Many people choose to work from home so they can earn money while creating a better work-life balance.  I’ve noticed  they sometimes struggle with creating the right boundaries: How do you figure out what’s flexible enough for “home” but professional enough for business?

Too many people apologize for their home-based business, talking to others in a way that lacks confidence.    Did you know that home-based business contribute more than $500 billion a year to the US economy?  Why anyone apologize for being part of that?  And, you started a business for reasons that were important to you, right?  To set your own schedule, to make more money, to have more freedom?  But when things don’t ‘work’ as quickly as we’d like solo-preneurs sometimes abandon about those reasons.

And when being near the kids is a high priority, setting limits about office hours can really push that “guilty parent button.”

As you can see from the picture (my friend Lisa Wilber and her daughter) growing up in a family business can be a great way for kids to learn about  confidence, creativity, keeping  positive attitude and problem-solving. Direct sellers who take what they do seriously enough to get the support they need — and run the business like a business — pass along those lessons every single day.

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Jul 072010

Did you ever have the urge to “strongly encourage” a colleague to “go to your room?” We talk a lot here about immature, irresponsible behavior…. childish (NOT childlike!) attitudes that somehow trail into adult life and the workplace, often making an employer feel more like a parent than a supervisor.

But is it ever appropriate to send a colleague to timeout? Or to hold back a paycheck until household chores are complete?

If you work in a retail or office setting you’ve probably decided I’m nuts… but if you’re one of the millions of entrepreneurs who work from home then you’re laughing along with me.

Many parents choose a home-based business so that making a living doesn’t keep them from having a life…. but are sometimes stressed by creating the boundaries that are flexible enough for home yet professional enough for business!

Many of the mompreneurs that I know opt for one of my favorite solutions: doing the work that requires extreme quiet either very early in the morning or after everyone else has gone to bed. Others choose to employ their kids for specific business-related duties such as housekeeping and maintenance, shipping or supply clerk. As long as the parent views this time more as “kid time” than “work time” it’s a strategy that can develop your child’s work ethic and interest in entrepreneurship. (Many of us have also found that when the kiddos understand and have a stake in the family business it can become easier for them to manage an hour or so of ‘quiet time’ when you really need it.)

I’m going to be talking about these things a little later today on Jeane’ Bennett’s BlogTalk radio show AtHome Business. Location: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/jeane

In addition, I’ve been working with the Direct Selling Women’s Alliance – the professional organization for independent direct sellers (party plan, network and other at-home business) and find that the resources they have available are outstanding.

Regardless of how they choose to make a living when they are older, teaching our kids about entrepreneurial thinking is a gift that will help them look for ways to serve others and solve problems…. not a bad trait to share????