The longest school holidays of the year are just around the corner. Before you know, your kids will be home every day for five or so weeks!
If you run a small business like me, and are not planning on taking a month-long holiday trip, this period can be challenging to say the least, and you might be feeling a bit anxious about it.
As a mum to two kids and a small business owner, I understand the struggles of keeping up with the demands of a business while looking after children. I can’t say I have it all figured out, but somehow I manage and I’m sure you can too.
Here are my top 5 tips to help you get through this period.
1. Negotiate & manage your time.
How are your negotiation skills? You will need them! Negotiate with your kids, and agree that you can do something fun with them for half day, as long as they let you work the other half.
Decide which half of the day is best for you to work, or for your kids to play. I’m planning on taking my girls out in the morning to play at the beach, park or zoo, and working in the afternoons when I find too hot to be outside.
Make sure you are truly present. No checking emails on your phone while you are at the park with your kids.
Make sure you have a to-do list ready, and focus on getting things done. I like to prepare my to-do list the night before when everything is still fresh in my mind, rather than spending half an hour trying to remember what the priorities are.
2. Activities not toys
If you find difficult to keep your kids entertained for a long period of time while you work, organise some engaging activities for them.
Instead of letting them play with their usual toys, set up activities that will keep their interest and attention for long periods of time.
Consider things like: board games, puzzles, Lego, craft and painting, puppet theatre etc.
3. Automate your communications
As a business owner, you can’t afford to disappear for over a month and expect your clients, followers and subscribers to be there waiting for you. As the popular saying goes… out of sight, out of mind.
To keep your marketing healthy, and take some of the pressure of your shoulders, automate as much as possible.
Newsletters: If you send regular emails to your subscribers, write and schedule them in advance. You can also automate your initial email sequence to welcome and nurture new subscribers. Set it up once, and it’s done.
Social Media: You can prepare your social media posts all at once and schedule them. There are several social media schedulers out there if you don’t yet use one. Some popular schedulers include Hootsuite, Buffer, Meet Edgar, and Smarter Queue.
E-mail auto-responders: You can prepare standard replies that are triggered when people email you. For example, you can have a standard reply to everyone contacting you informing them how often you read and reply emails. This helps manage the other person’s expectations. You can also use Gmail canned responses (if you use Gmail), which are automated responses to common questions, especially if you send the same type of information over and over. For example, you can refer people to your policies and procedures, or to FAQs etc.
4. Processes and Templates
If you have staff or a team working for you, it’s essential that you have processes in place. Your staff or virtual team needs to know exactly what to do, how and when. These can be things like answering inquiries, customer service, bookkeeping, website updates, and more.
Effective processes will give you peace of mind that everything will run smoothly without you. If you don’t have a team or staff, documented processes and templates will save you a lot of time on tasks that happen repeatedly.
It can be exhausting and counter-productive to run a business on your own. A great alternative to doing it all yourself is outsourcing.
Make a list of all tasks you dislike, take up a lot of your time, and are not your area of expertise.
These may include admin tasks, marketing, copy writing, bookkeeping, photography, social media management etc. Perhaps consider outsourcing some of these tasks to a professional. Often it will be cheaper to outsource than doing it yourself. You will also find running your business becomes more enjoyable, less stressful and more profitable.
I hope you find the tips above helpful, and find it easier to keep your business going while enjoying some well-deserved quality time with your kids.
Written by Fernanda Alberici, mum to two adorable girls, online marketing strategist, and founder of www.fabmarketing.com.au
Fernanda helps creative and lifestyle brands stand out, and grow a profitable business without stress and overwhelm.