For this special episode, I sent out a request to a number of my parent entrepreneur friends and asked them a few questions about owning your own business and working at home, and a bunch of them graciously agreed to help out. I asked them, “How do you run a business and raise kids at the same time?”
Then, the unprecedented health crisis of 2020 happened, and these parent entrepreneurs have found themselves in even closer quarters with their kids. And they still reached out to help me, and you, my SPI Podcast listeners, figure out ways to be good parents and good business owners, and even good partners.
It's a long show, but if you're a parent, this one's worth it. It's not easy to do this job you do. But you know what else?
You're not alone.
CFO/COO at SPI Media
Solutions Manager at SPI Media
- What a workday in the lives of these parent entrepreneurs looks like.
- Tips, plans, strategies, and tools employed by twenty-three work-at-home entrepreneurs.
- How to juggle family and business without dropping any balls.
- How to be a good partner as well as a good parent.
- How to ask for forgiveness—and give yourself some grace—when the inevitable ball does fall.
- Personal Kanban
- Self-Control App
- Google Calendar
- Amazon FBA
- Google Hangouts
SPI 419: Business Advice from Entrepreneurs Who Have Kids Now
If you're an entrepreneur and you hear this sound around your house, then it can be difficult to get some work done. As the kids grow, as they get out of the baby phase, it doesn't get that much easier. There's a lot of things that happen. However, you still need to get some work done. As a business owner, you have a certain level of expectation from your team, from your audience, from your family, and of course yourself. So how do we as entrepreneurs, those of us who are just having kids or have super young ones running around the house, or maybe you marry into a family that has some young ones, how do we work in that kind of situation? How do we make sure we can properly balance being a father or a mother or a parent or guardian of any kind with the business that we're trying to run too, which is likely so that we can help this child out in the future?
Well, today we're going to be talking about that, but it's not just going to be me. I've invited several of my friends and other entrepreneurs who are currently raising a young family, because my kids are actually a little bit older now. They're seven and ten. My first child with my wife, we had our son in 2009, and this was about a year after I started my business, so right as I was getting going. Just in the beginning phases of Smart Passive Income back in 2008, 2009, we were already dealing with it, and we were learning as we went. Then a couple of years later, we had our daughter and it just added to the mix. It definitely wasn't twice as hard, it was more like ten times as hard when you add a second child into the mix.
So today, you're going to hear a number of stories, not from me but from a lot of other people because I wanted to get a mix in here. My story is one thing and I'll save that for a later day. But for right now, I want you to sit back and listen in because if you are a parent or you're about to become a parent or guardian of some kind, I hope this just paints a picture of truth for you. Perhaps you might want to invite your spouse or partners with you to listen in on this, to hear exactly what it takes, but also realize that everybody's story is different, and you're going to have your own as well.
Before we get going, just a couple of housekeeping items for you. Number one, we're going to skip the intro. I just want to get right into it because really there's a lot of people who are featured here. This is a extra long episode because I think this is such an important time in people's lives that I want to make sure we cover as much ground as possible. We have as many stories featured here as we can. The second thing is please know that I asked people to do this, to offer a voicemail answer for this episode, during the 2020 COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak when people are at home and quarantined. So you're going to hear a few, actually quite a few people who are expressing how they're starting to manage life at home with the kids in that current situation. For many, you'll hear it's quite an eye opener because I had, at one point, a nanny or some day cares that just aren't available during this time.
So we definitely have a mix, so just know that some people are coming from that place and trying to figure it out and literally right in the middle of it still, which I think just shows how adaptable parents have to be. But at the same time, there's a lot of people who have some advice just in general as well. Everybody's great here, and thank you to all who have contributed. All the links in show notes will feature each one of these amazing entrepreneurs at smartpassiveincome.com/session419. Thank you again for listening in. Let's dive right in. Here's what it takes to become a parent entrepreneur.
Hello Pat and Team Flynn, this is Christina Nicholson from Media Maven at mediamavenandmore.com. I have been working from home for five years now. Currently, I have a seven-year-old, a five-year-old and a five-month-old. Usually, they are in school or daycare, but now they are home. To make it work, I need to accept the fact that my Google Calendar isn't going to look the way it used to because I cannot have every fifteen minutes accounted for anymore. So my tip to all of the working parents out there is to change your mindset. You have to accept the fact that your workload is going to be a little tweaked. You may want to still do all of the things, but you cannot do all of the things right now because you have your kids at home, which you're probably trying to homeschool as well.
So my tip on that side of things is to not try to homeschool them the way they would be schooled in the actual school that they go to. Something that I do that gives me a lot of time but also teaches them is if they want to watch a movie, I let them watch it, but I changed the language to Spanish so they can learn Spanish while they're watching the movie. If you have older kids who are learning to read or like reading, you can put the movie on mute and then put on closed captions so they are learning how to read while they watch the movie. That's something that I do to help them but also free up my time. Every once in a while, they can also learn from me depending on what I'm doing. As it relates to work, sometimes I'll bring my seven-year-old in on the action and she can learn from me.
So I just think it's really changing your mindset and understanding that things are going to be a little different now. When you are working, when you are focused, say you're doing the movie thing for them, you have a couple of hours, take that time to work smart. Don't just work hard, be very focused and very strategic about how you're spending your time, because you're not going to have a ton of it anymore. I wish all of you best of luck working from home in this new work-life balance, crazy situation that we are all in. But my biggest piece of advice, again, it's just to change your mindset. You have to be flexible with yourself as it relates to your personal life and your business. Try not to stress out about it, and I wish everybody, again, the best of luck.
Hey this is Sara Frandina, conversion copywriter over at sarafrandina.com. So what is my biggest challenge about working with littles around? Let me start by saying that my little is sixteen-months-old and she is a sassy, silly, and very smart sixteen-month-old and also very active and wants my attention. So my biggest challenge is honestly reining in my usual level of desired productivity and the lengthy to-do list when she's here. Because I cannot match that to do list and that productivity on the days that I don't have her here when she is here, and I shouldn't try to. The thing that's worked most for me honestly is matching my goals to my circumstances. Knowing that those circumstances change day by day, week by week, month by month.
It comes down to adjusting my expectations. Knowing that she's sixteen months active and wants my attention, I have to be realistic about what I can get done with that in mind, and what is best saved for nap time or bedtime or weekends because naps are not always guaranteed. Also knowing that right now is not forever, and it doesn't necessarily get easier, but the challenges will shift. One day, she'll be able to read a book or watch something quietly while I work, and my expectations can shift again. But for now, matching my goals to my circumstances and adjusting expectations to reality has been key to maintaining sanity and a reasonable level of productivity with her around.
Hey Pat, it's Rick Mulready here from the Art of Online Business Podcast and rickmulready.com. Thanks so much for allowing me the opportunity to talk about this because this is something that's super dear to me. My wife, Amy and I have a fifteen-month-old, Maya, and I would say the ... I work from home normally, so it's not a huge transition. However, the biggest thing for us right now is we normally have a nanny come over and help us for three days a week. As of right now, obviously that's not happening, and so Amy and I have really had to come up with a schedule. I think that's the biggest thing, is come up with a schedule that works for the both of us so that I'm able to do my work and the work that's needed for my business, but also allow Amy to do her work because she has an online coaching business as well.
So, not only to arrange a schedule for work stuff but also for self-care stuff. Just something as arranging times for going for a walk or working out here in the house or what have you, and that what we're really doing to accomplish that is ensure that we're constantly communicating about that. I know that that sounds so obvious, but we're having to over-communicate about it right now. So we will talk about the entire week and look at our calendars, and then figure out when is good for both of us for our self-care time, when I need to be doing work and calls and so on, recording and so forth. Then the same thing for her because we don't have the help during the week. As you might imagine, and for everybody listening right now, fifteen-months-old, she's got a lot of energy, and she's growing what seems like every single day.
Things are changing so quickly with her that we're constantly having to just really stay up on trying to keep as much of a schedule as we can, and really over communicating when we are going to be doing what; who's responsible for what, during what time. Like I said, self-care, when we're going to be working. We're literally pulling out our calendars and saying, "Okay, Tuesday at this time, all right, you're going to go for a workout, or you're going to go take a nap or chill out," or whatever it is that you're going to be doing. We're really over communicating on when we're going to be accomplishing things so that we both can get what we need. Both from a work side and also from a self-care side. Because especially during this time, it's super, super important.
That's what we're doing. That's what Amy and I are doing for me to keep my business moving forward, for her to keep her business moving forward, and then also to keep our health and sanity and everything during this time. So, love talking about this. This is something just so near and dear to me. Thank you so much for the opportunity to share this with your audience, Pat. I appreciate it, my man.
What's up Pat Flynn? This is Mike Pacchione, website is miketalks.co. As you know, I'm a speaking coach. I help people with presentations from stage. I help executives communicate to their staff. I help executives level-up their communication. I like to tell people that's what I'm always doing, leveling up their communication. When you're presenting from stage especially, I tell clients I will help you to deliver the best speech of your life. That's helping you with writing it, with delivering it, with putting the slides together, the whole deal. Of course, the challenge, the obvious challenge ... Not that many people are speaking from stage right now, so I'm trying to help people who are presenting online. I'm trying to help people who are taking this as a chance to level-up their speaking game, maybe create their signature talk for the first time.
The challenge personally is that I'm suddenly a stay-at-home dad. Now, I've been staying at home since May. I've been a dad since June, but those words coming together, that is fresh into the past three days. Finding time to take phone calls when my son ... My son is nine-months-old. Finding time to take phone calls when his nap schedule isn't predictable, man, it's a challenge. So some things I'm trying to do to work around that: My wife works Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday. She's a nurse. I can obviously take calls on Wednesday. That's the way I'm going to slot things. I'm also, for all my creative work, I'm planning on doing that early in the morning. I know the temptation is to do it at night figuring, well, your wife gets home at 5:30, you feed your son, he goes to bed at 6:30 or 7:00, you can work after that.
Frankly, after that, my whole life I've been saying, "Oh, I'll do work after that." I never have energy at that time. I mean I can literally email, but for creative work, I need to do that when I still have willpower. That's why I'm waking up early to do my creative work, making breakfast for my wife, getting her out the door, being on Luca duty—Luca is my son. Being on Luca duty for nine hours and then doing all my admin at night. So that's email, that's invoicing, those things. I'm also going to start an online speech club, like a happy-hour type speech club where we watch speeches. We do it over Zoom. We watch speeches, we analyze them. But man, it is going to be a challenge, challenge on my wife's schedule, challenge of being a stay at home dad, challenge of finding time to do work when I really have less time than I've ever had. The things that are going to help me there are waking up early, Zoom, and then Voxer for questions from clients. It's going to be a challenge. Wish me luck, my friends.
Hey, I'm Rachel Ngom. I'm a Pinterest and lead generation strategist and the host of the She's Making an Impact Podcast. It is an honor to be able to share with you today what works for me when it comes to building a business and raising a family. I have a six-year-old son, and I'm going to be induced with baby number two tomorrow, so we have a lot going on right now. Obviously everyone is different, so I'm just going to share what's worked for me in the past. I've had an online business for the past nine years and although there's ... So I'm going to share what works and just some of my tips. Pat asked me a couple of questions and the first one is, "Although there's no right answer and it's a different approach for everyone, how are you running your business and/or getting work done with little ones around?"
So for me, one of the biggest things is just having boundaries. Just so you know, I've learned a lot over the years of having this online business and raising my son and soon-to-be daughter. I struggled in the beginning and I've messed up a lot and I learned from mistakes. In my first business, when my son was little, I was working 24/7 round the clock and ended up really burning out and getting adrenal fatigue, leaky gut, gaining thirty pounds, getting sick all the time. So I learned really quickly, it's so important to have boundaries and to have scheduled work hours and stick to them. Know when it is that you're going to be working. If you give yourself all day to work on something and to get a task done, it's going to take you all day. If you give yourself a smaller block of time, you'll be able to get it done in that smaller block of time. So when baby number two is born, I plan on working Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday 10:00 a.m. To 3:00 p.m. After I take a little bit of a maternity leave. So I just know what my hours are, when I'm going to be working, and that's definitely key. Otherwise, you end up working 24/7 and that's definitely not the mom that I know I want to be.
The next tip I have for you is to outsource as much as you possibly can. In the beginning, you might think that you can't afford to outsource, but the truth is you can't afford not to. My first person that I hired on my team was a virtual assistant in the Philippines for $6.50 an hour, ten hours a week. Just add up what your hourly rate is and how much time you're spending on these little tasks that take you forever that you could just hand over to someone else and they'll get it done so much quicker, so much easier. That way, you can really focus on your zone of genius and grow your business faster.
Know your priorities in your business and for your family. So if you say your family is a priority, you should treat your family like a priority, right? Really guard those business hours in that time and not have your phone with you 24/7, that kind of thing. The next thing is work hard to set up a business where you don't have to trade time for money. This has been one of my biggest focuses over the past several years, is how can I create something that doesn't require me to be actually present all the time? So when this baby comes, I technically only have three or four hours of my time that's required every month. We have systems in place and a team in place and we're monetizing through online courses and affiliate sales and higher-level group coaching programs. So figure out how you could really set up a business where it's not requiring your trading time for money. In the beginning, you might have to, to get some money rolling, but eventually make that be the goal.
Next thing is to batch content. Obviously since I'm due with baby number two tomorrow, I have been working really hard to record as many podcast episodes as possible. We actually have four months of podcast content ready to rock and roll, so I can take some time off and I don't have to be stressed out and worried about that. So with whatever medium it is that you're doing, if you're doing YouTube or blogging or something like that, figure out how you could save yourself time by batching content all at once. Instead of just creating one video, can you create five videos or ten videos, and then it's just going to save you so much time and energy if you do that. Then get little things off of your plate. So, grocery shopping, do you have Instacart available in your area? It's proven ridiculously cheap and worth it. It's less than a hundred bucks for the entire year, and so far, we've saved over a hundred hours of shopping because I get groceries delivered. The next thing would be cleaning the house. You might not think this is related to your business, but when you have a cleaner house, it just makes you feel so much better. This is something that we actually didn't start investing in until recently, like the past six to nine months or something like that, and it has made such a big difference not having to actually worry about those things.
Then last thing for this one is to get a sitter or someone that can help you watch the baby even if it's just a few hours a week. I'm really lucky that I have my parents that live down the street for six months out of the year, so they're going to be able to help me out a little bit with baby. But as soon as they go back to Chicago and I'm here by myself, we'll have a nanny that can watch the baby during those working hours so I can make sure I'm focused and getting stuff done.
Then another question, Pat, that you asked is, "What's the biggest challenge that I'm facing and what's something that's working for you related to that?" So currently my biggest challenge, I guess, would be sleeping and just keeping my energy up. Being so pregnant, you don't sleep. You get cramps and you pee eighty-seven times a night, and you just can't get comfortable. I know that's going to be pretty typical for the next couple of months. So what I'm doing that's working related to that is just napping when I can, fueling my body properly. So, making sure I'm getting all of my vegetables in, getting some green juice, cutting out a bunch of the crap and soon to be working out again, which I'm really excited about.
I hope this was helpful and just know that you can have an amazing business and be a great mom and raise a family at the same time. So I hope to connect with you on our podcast, the She's Making an Impact Podcast. Thanks again Pat. You are a huge inspiration, and yeah, talk to you later.
Hi, my name is Amanda Mouttaki, and I own a food tour company in Marrakesh, Morocco. I also have three children that are two-years-old, thirteen-years-old and sixteen-years-old. We currently are struggling—I guess would be the best way to say—to get everything figured out, because we do operate a business in the tourism sector. Our day-to-day running of our business has basically stopped because we are not able to run any tours any longer. So we've basically moved everything into managing cancellations and handling rescheduling, and then looking forward at what happens next, which is pretty difficult when there's uncertainty.
One of the biggest challenges that we have is that we live in a two bedroom home with our kids. Our two oldest kids are going to school online now, so they need a space to work during the day and also they need internet, and having two to four of us on the internet at one time is proving to be a challenge. Then our youngest son needs childcare. Obviously he's only two, so one of us needs to look after him. I think that the biggest hurdle has been just figuring out a schedule and a routine. I can't say that we've mastered that yet. Giving ourselves a little bit of grace and also just accepting that we don't really know what's going to happen, so we've tried to work in chunks.
For me, I really like to have routine and it's really helpful for me to have a routine in things that I'm working on. It helps me stay in touch and to deal with the isolation and also just the stress of being basically quarantined in our home. My husband, who is my business partner, is a bit opposite and he's happy to just go with the flow. So I've been trying to just set aside time for me to work, focus because that helps my mental health and in this difficult situation. So I think that for other parents who are facing a similar situation, having a talk with your kids if they're old enough to figure out routines and responsibility and expectations is really important.
If they're not, having a conversation with your spouse about those things before it gets out of hand and you both get into a very difficult and angry situation could be very useful. For those parents who are doing it alone, I give you so much credit, so, so much credit. I think again, just some of those concepts of just finding a routine that works for you is what's going to be critical because I don't think that there is a one right way to do this. I think everyone's lifestyle is very different. Everyone's needs are very different. So find what works for you and then put it into practice, and just know that we're all out here struggling together.
Hey, what's up Pat? It's your brother, Chris Ducker. Hope you're doing good. Look, as yourself and as many of your audience members know already, I help people become the go-to leader in their industries by building future-proof businesses around their expertise and their personalities over at youpreneur.com. Yes, it's been a challenge over the last few weeks, working at home with two young ones in the house at all times. Now, we'll say I'm a little more fortunate to maybe some of your listeners in regards to the fact that we do have a full time nanny at the Ducker household to look after our littlest one, your god-daughter, Cassandra. Now she's two and a half and she's got ... I mean her social calendar is better than mine quite frankly. She's out every day. She's doing things but she's back for her nap in the early afternoon after lunch. Then she's doing things again.
Generally speaking with her on our own around, we don't have a big problem staying productive at home. But since everything went a little pear shaped, as we would say here in England, with everything that's been going on in the world recently, we now have Charlie, who's eleven, at home full time as well because obviously his school was closed along with everyone else's here in the UK. So that's been a little harder, and these are the things that we have done to make it a lot easier for us to stay productive, myself and Erz, my wife who runs the business with me.
First and foremost, we're both spending a little extra time with both kids in the morning. Whereas usually, we'd get to work at around 9:00 a.m. When Charlie's at school and Cassie is doing her thing, we're now getting to work at around 10:00 a.m. Each morning, spending extra time with both kids and the nanny as well, doing what we're doing and having some fun with them. Then we get to work. It's closed doors, nanny takes care of both kids for a little while. Then Erz comes out and does a school activity, probably math because I'm not the best at it. Math or maybe arts and crafts, and then she'll come in and I'll go out and spend some time with the kids. I'll do things like music, or PE, or we're building Legos and all this type of stuff, right?
I think ultimately what I'm getting at here, is we are just taking it in turns to spend that individual time with each of the kids during the day, as well as obviously being with them more at the beginning of the day as well. They know, however, that when we are in the home office, whether we're together or whether we are individually working in there, it is a work environment. We're very good at managing that perception with them and we're quite strict with it quite frankly. Otherwise, we'd never get anything done, and we have businesses to run, customers to serve, and projects to make sure continue getting built and launched.
It's all about that new routine of spending individual time as well as time with the kids and ultimately making sure that they know exactly what's going on; and, obviously so that we can remain productive at the same time is giving them a little extra attention and a little extra love, which is never a bad thing. I hope that helps some of your listeners.
Hey Pat, thanks for the opportunity to provide some perspective from the home front here as we are —or at least so many of us are—in fact, working from home and probably a good many of us have kids. My daughter just turned one-year-old last Friday, which is really weird, especially in the midst of just all that's happening in the world and how we're all trying to react to it. It's been a lot to adjust to. My wife is a teacher. She's actually home from school. We live in Ohio, and as a part of a state mandate all schools here are closed. We've had to adjust on all fronts at the same time. One is, not only the work front, second is the parenting front, and third is even just the spousal front. Our relationship, our marriage and being in such close proximity together even over just the last couple of days here, and you have to make adjustments.
We are doing well and are adapting, and I think our daughter Ella is responding pretty well to that. I think really there's five things I wanted to offer up that seem to be working well for us in terms of how we're getting by with our daughter as she's in the middle of a major even growth spurt right now. We want to continue to obviously prioritize time with her, nurture her development. First is to really dial in a daily schedule. My wife and I did that to the extent that your spouse or partner is also at home with you. I can't recommend that enough.
We have schedules for the weekend and things, but doing this on a daily basis across the normal work week is pretty critical. And more specifically what is working or what is already working well for us is in terms of parenting with Ella is trading meals with Ella. I'll give her breakfast. Emily will do lunch with her. We'll still do a joint dinner together. We also trade naps. Ella is still doing two naps, a morning nap and an afternoon nap. Emily would get her down for the morning nap. I will get her down now for the afternoon nap. We're load balancing in that way.
The third thing—that potentially encompasses a great many things—is trying to avoid, at least for me, trying to lead on a couple of different business fronts. Pat, obviously with you, across SPI and even Fusebox, trying to avoid wearing the business hat and the daddy hat at the same time. Trying to have a pretty isolated contained space to just be in business mode and do business stuff and not have that potentially compromise family time and then vice versa.
That's all number one. Number two is be very sensitive to physical space and to set up dedicated work rooms away from playrooms. I am grateful to have a home office, and I have been preserving the integrity of that workspace. And I think that that's really important only for my focus and sanity even in productivity. But then also—with Ella especially, who is as mobile as ever and wants to be everywhere— trying to focus her and her attention with toys and other forms of stimuli only in one, maybe two rooms really at any given time. The office remains clean and organized. The toys to the extent you can stay on top of them or at least to the extent that we can, remain organized in the play rooms and it cuts down on a mental load, I suppose, in some regard.
It also just helps at the end of the day before we go to bed, it kind of minimizes the amount of cleanup you have to do in the house too. Three, keep the kitchen particularly clean or as clean as you can at any given time. I don't always work from home anymore, at least under normal circumstances. We have a downtown office with the other staff that are here in Columbus, Ohio with me. But yeah, more than ever obviously we're in the house and dishes can pile up, and that can just be an obnoxious form of stress later, and that kind of bleeds into our time with Ella and everything else. We do try to clean up after every meal and that includes meals with Ella. We in fact also try to keep prepping her baby food meals as we go and we're way into solid foods and everything.
If you're a parent dealing with a one, two-year-old toddler or maybe that's coming up for you as soon, just trying to stay at least in a one meal, maybe two meals ahead of that. Because also a challenge for us right now is we're trying to introduce new foods. Now that she is a one-year-old and we have to transition some stuff. We're actually being asked to transition away from formula and bottles in the midst of all this. Just trying to stay one meal ahead is pretty critical for us and very helpful.
Number four, take family walks every day. This isn't only a benefit for Ella though it certainly is a benefit and she comes first. But for Emily and me as individuals and as just a married couple, getting outside, getting some fresh air, trying to do that at a consistent time every day is really important. Gives me a mental, emotional, and physical break, a rejuvenation reboot. I know it does for Emily as well. She's still working through the day as well as we off-cycle each other here, doing a lot of virtual learning, curriculum prep and whatnot for her students.
Yeah, having that kind of recharge is important every day, and it's also a nice thing to look forward to. As we're trying to be pretty disciplined with our time and our scheduling and we're carving out those pockets, there's always like, man, I see my away from my kid in the other room. I want to be there. It adds that I guess sense of comfort that like, hey, okay cool, the walk is coming up in just an hour or two so I'm going to stay focused, and I'll plow through and the walk will get here soon. I found that really great for us.
The third thing going back ... I'm sorry the fifth thing, goodness, going back to just some work stuff. Some pretty standard advice here. Cut back on as many non-essential meetings as you can. That's generally a good practice and you should always try to be doing that and not over-schedule yourself. I've been unscheduling myself more and that's helping to again accommodate bandwidth considerations everywhere. Wanting to support our team in multiple different time zones because we have a remote oriented team in many respects and continuing to respect boundaries with Emily and Ella and preserve very precious family time.
Those are the things that are working well for us so far. Would love to also learn from hopefully others that take the time to offer up some parenting tips in this crazy new world. Thanks again.
Hi, I'm Claire and I'm the owner of PeopleLoveProjects.com. I'm a freelance project consultant and run a community for quiet achievers who need to navigate business and life. I'm fairly new to the working parent scene. My son is ten-months-old, and I went back to work when he was about five-months-old. The way I'm currently running my business and getting work done with my little one around is I rely heavily on the systems I've created. For the last few years leading up to having him, I've adopted some incredibly effective strategies for self-management and those systems have been my savior; the main one being Personal Kanban. I call it my tactile to-do list. It's visual. It's hands-on. It's not hidden away in an app and it allows me to see my projects, how they're progressing and best of all, it showcases my wins.
There are a few other systems. I like taking Sundays off completely, using Mondays for personal projects only and scheduling the important stuff so I can't put it off. I would also mention that learning how to manage my psychology and developing a deep sense of self awareness has been a huge factor and has served me well for adapting to this new life challenge or any new challenge really. Speaking of challenges, my biggest one has been managing my own expectations around what I can and can't do as the primary caregiver.
It's been difficult navigating this new version of work, especially with all the guilt that comes with it. If I spend too much time with my baby, I worry I'm not doing enough for my business and not contributing enough to our family's finances. And if I spend too much time working, I worry that I'm not giving my little one the attention he deserves, especially during this incredibly hands-on period. But something that's working for me right now is being ultra focused. Single tasking during his nap times and using that time to work on the more significant items I have to do, so the ones that require a deeper level of thought and concentration. Then multitasking with less important but still necessary tasks while he's awake or in some cases, I'll stop work completely during that time; and being okay with that is important too.
I've had to learn to let myself off the hook and train myself to dial down my work guilt so I can treasure the moments I have with him while he's still young. Ultimately, I think a longterm outlook is key. In another six months it's going to be completely different so I can re-evaluate my work situation and environment then. For now, I just do my best and focus on incremental steps towards what I want to achieve. I would say my biggest takeaway has been learning to adapt and building in the systems that support my goals and allow me to execute even when I'm time poor, low on energy or lacking motivation.
This is Laura Petersen of copythatpops.com. You can find me on social media at LaptopLaura, and also you can go to laptoplaura.com. I now have a six-month-old baby. It's my first and only child. He is now just over six months, and we tried for about two years to get pregnant so it's something that I really wanted and planned for, but it's thrown some kinks into business. Here are six things that I'm doing to try to help run my business better. Number one is eliminating non-essentials and just really recognizing what's a priority and what is not. Number two is stopping taking on high-end private client work, which is more done for you services and focusing on getting my digital products and courses selling better so that I have ... free up a bit more time there.
Number three is delegating all that I can. Hiring, training, and letting go of perfectionism. Number four is reflecting on what I really want now. Do I need to be speaking around the globe like I was before I got pregnant? Not something that I want right now, which I am actually surprised, but I just am really loving spending time with him. It's a good time to reflect on priorities at the moment. Number five is being patient with myself and progress, and recognizing that this is just a season right now. The amount of time that he needs isn't forever.
Number six is trying to be as present as possible where I am, whether I'm with the baby or working on the business, just trying to be fully present and go all in on that during that timeframe. How do I get work done with the little guy? I often get more work done at night and when he goes to bed or 2:00 or 3:00 in the morning when I'm up to pump and he's still sleeping. I also tried a nanny for a couple of times a week, but I didn't love it and decided right now I don't want anyone else taking care of him other than me and family. And then the other thing is being okay with some baby noise in the background. You might actually hear him as I record this.
Now, let's see. The biggest challenge with having a six-month-old and trying to run a business is right now I feel like I never really have the chance to fully think clearly anymore. I feel like I don't have a chance to fully map out a plan and sit down and carry it out like I used to. I feel more scattered and mentally taxed than I ever have in my life. I'd say that's the biggest challenge and it's not to make that sound negative, but it definitely is the reality that I'm facing as a new mom.
"What is working in business right now navigating also having a six-month-old?" Well, I could talk about tools and tactics like using Asana.com/ for task delegation, upwork.com for hiring and useloom.com for video, and screen flow tutorials to train team members. But to be honest, I still feel behind. I still feel scattered, and I still don't feel like my old self. The only thing I can say and share with you that is truly working in those tough moments, tough days, and what I truly believe can work for anyone is less tactical and more psychological. They say that you can always make more money but you can never make more time, and that saying never resonated with me before like it does now having a six-month-old.
Whenever I feel stressed because a podcast episode didn't get out on time, whenever I feel annoyed at typos by team members where I would have made it perfect because I'm such a nerd for writing. Whenever I feel upset at myself for not hitting bigger milestones yet in business growth, I stop and ask myself would I pay big money to relive this moment again? You know, kind of like a future self. Would I go back and pay huge money or all the money I had? Of course when it comes to the minutia that we all get caught up with in business, the answer is no. But would I pay big money to feed my son at 3:00 a.m.? I can't get through this without crying. Come here, come here.
Would I pay big money to feed him at 3:00 a.m. After he's already woken up four times and I'm exhausted, and the answer is yes. Would I pay big money to re-record this with him, interrupting me and me crying? I'm not an emotional person, but it's crazy what kids can do. And so yes, I would. And would I pay big money to play on the floor with him without checking the clock or my messages for hours on end? Yes, I would. Would I pay big money to watch his face react to the first bite of food on a spoon? Yes, I would.
I'm a type-A driven over-achiever type. I was a big nerd in school, and maybe that side of me will have a space again in the coming months or years. But for right now, the best thing I can do is ask myself, would I give up everything to relive this exact moment again? And the answer's always yes when it comes to time with him. I'm giving myself the time and space to fully enjoy it. The business world isn't going anywhere. That's a crazy way to end that. Okay. I'm going to go play with this little guy. I just fed him while I recorded this. He's ready to play. Bye, everybody. Thank you, Pat.
Hey, it's Pat again. We're taking a little break here in the middle because I think we could all potentially use a breather. Laura and I have been friends for a while. She's one of the founding members with me at the San Diego Entrepreneurs Group, and she's incredible. Thank you, Laura, for being you and for being vulnerable, and I think that's going to be really helpful for a lot of people. I hope you're enjoying the episodes so far. If you have a moment, if you haven't done so already, make sure you hit subscribe to the show and when you get a chance, perhaps if you really love what you hear today, if you could leave a review for the show as well on Apple in particular. That'd be super helpful. But anyway. Okay, we're good. Let's get into a number of other amazing entrepreneurs who have experience with or are living it out right now, being a parent entrepreneur. Next up, this is Brian Moran from samcart.com
Hey Pat, what's going on? Yes. When it comes to raising kids and running a business all at once, it obviously definitely can get tricky. I'm blessed to have a wife who is a saint and who is an incredible mom and is home basically all day. She helps her mom run a dance studio. Most of the stuff that they're doing is during the evening when kids get out of school. They're there from 6:00 to 8:00 or 5:00 to 8:00, somewhere around there in the evening. And because they had been running a dance studio for thirty years, there is a unlimited supply of babysitters for us.
That's the other nice part is she can go off to work and I can get a lot done during the evening, the three nights, three or four nights a week that she's working over there, and we can have a babysitter that's watching the kids and getting them fed and ready for bed. Then I can get some stuff done. Yeah, my normal schedule. One of the nice things about being the CEO at SamCart is I can work in the pockets of time that I'm most productive. I take my time getting in the office. I don't get until 9:30, 10:00 so I have some time in the morning with the family, getting everybody ready for school. I drive my daughter to school. Head over to the office, work until 6:00 or 7:00 and then get home. Usually I'm not doing much, unless there's something to do later on in the evening, but I'm usually done work around then.
I want to make sure I get time with the kids and then we have dinner and un-distracted time. That's pretty much our schedule. It's a little bit unconventional with my wife working nights. A lot of times our dinners will be later and our kids stay up later than most of our friends. But in the end, I think you just make it work. Every family's got their different routine, their different schedule. I try not to do a whole lot on the weekends because I'm in the office now more than ever with ... We got dozens of employees now, so I can't always be remote. But every year has been different.
I mean we have three kids. Our oldest daughter is five. She's in a preschool now. Our middle is a boy. He's two and a half, almost three. And then we just had a little baby girl who's four-months-old. The baby stage and anyone that knows that has kids, that's the hardest. You can't take your eyes off them. They're eating every hour, changing diaper every hour. I mean it's all hands on deck, but you go through it once and then you're ready to do it another time, and then things get easier and easier. But no, it's fun. I wouldn't change anything, honestly. Yes, I'm sure back in the day I may be would be working a little bit more, but maybe not. I mean, I'm not the kind of guy who can work fourteen hours a day. I get into really creative modes and usually that comes in little hour spurts.
That works for being a dad where I can hunker down, get un-distracted time in for a couple of hours and I can go take a break and spend time with them or do whatever I have to do. But yeah, I mean our team at SamCart's phenomenal. All the businesses that run their business on us are phenomenal. We have a ton of support all around me, which is a good thing for anybody with a family. Yeah, in the end if I had to sum up how I make it through with having three kids and a business with a big team and thousands of customers depending on us, it's my wife at home, hands down there. I could not do this without somebody like her who loves being a mom, doesn't ever complain, puts me in front of her a lot. I should probably say thank you more often. But yeah, that's how I make it through.
Hey, this is Nathan Barry from ConvertKit, and we've got a few little kids running around at home. I've got an eight-year-old, a five-year-old, and then a ten-week-old. My wife and I were talking about the day and we realized ... We would just kind of ask yourself this one question, and that is, "How would we make this a really special time in our family that when we look back on fondly?" At first, it seemed like a weird question to ask because yes, there's lots of special things about this time, but none of them are in a good way, right? We're stuck at home. There's no swim lessons, soccer practice. The kids aren't at school. There's nothing positive about it. But then when I think back to a lot of time I spent as a kid, some of my favorite times were when the power would go out because it snowed so much, or any of these other things that made something unique and broke up the routine.
And so for my kids, we've definitely got something unique that has broken up the routine. We don't actually leave the house now. That's kind-of a big thing. And you know, so when we thought about that, okay, why won't we take this from something that's scary and difficult and turn it into something that's special? We really looked at, it's really just going to take a different mindset. And so we started planning out. Okay, we're going to play soccer outside just us every day. We're to still go on walks around the neighborhood or on our property. Any of those things that can make it really fun. We actually, every night we're together as a family because there's nothing else that we're doing. And so instead of that being a negative thing, we really turned it around and said, "Okay, this can really be a positive thing, and we just have it change our mindset."
Hey Pat, it's Barrett Brooks. I'm the COO at ConvertKit, and I wanted to share how I'm tackling having kids and running a business. We've got a fifty-person team at ConvertKit and so my day to day can look quite different. Some days like Wednesdays for example, I have all-day meetings back to back to back from start to finish and that can make it really challenging to be at home with the kid, with a couple of dogs and everything else. And then other days, I've got a lot more flexibility. It's more like my creative work days when I can get a lot of focused work time in and have a little bit more flexibility to be present.
The challenges that I have are mostly centered around just the chaos of having a delightful family life. The baby's crying in one room, the dogs are barking and another, a delivery shows up and everyone goes nuts. But I have to take a step back and just mentally remember that we chose this because it's what we value. In our house, we have multi-generational household. My in-laws live with us. My mother-in-law is the caretaker for our four-month-old son, and both my wife and I work from home. And so home is really where we are every day. That means that we get to experience both the highs and the lows of it along the way.
Let's see. What's working for me right now is having my wife's mom taking care of our son. He's just hit four months. He's right in that sleep progression period where he's waking up in the night again. We're really tired. And being able to hand him off to someone we know loves him, who understands how we want to parent and take care of him, and that we trust so much has been an absolute gift, and we're lucky to be able to do that. But it's a real cheat coat having your mother-in-law here to be ...
It's a real cheat code having your mother-in-law here to be the caregiver. And we really try and create clear boundaries. Our son Everett hangs out with his grandma from 9:00 a.m. Every day to 4:00 p.m. Every day. We take him down to their apartment in the basement in the morning and we pick him up at 4:00, and we try and maintain those boundaries and that's worked really well for us. My wife and I also have—I know this is not kids, but dogs are another factor here. We also have a schedule every day where I take them out in the morning, my wife takes them out at 11:00 a.m., I take them out at 3:00 and then she feeds them in the evening and takes them out in the evening. And knowing what our job is and when is really important for us because it allows us to divide the work, conquer it, and then get back to running our businesses once we're on the other side of it.
So that's how we handle things in our household. Always love being a part of anything you do, Pat. Thanks for inviting me.
This is Laura Roeder. I'm the founder of MeetEdgar and Paperbell and my kids at the time of this recording are one and a half and five, and a big challenge for me working with small children around is definitely finding focus time. So it's easy to do those quick replies to emails or those quick little tasks you can just check off, but when you really need to sit down and do some deeper thinking or some work on a more in depth project, I find that you really do need dedicated time to do that. I can't just get that done in ten minutes here, in twenty minutes here and five minutes there. I really need to block off the time to do that focused work. And what's worked for me is really working with my partner, my husband, in my case, to give us both dedicated time to work and both dedicated time to watch the kids.
So we both work part time and we both share parenting duties, and instead of being halfway working, halfway watching the kids, that allows us both to have time where we're totally off parenting duty, where we have those longer blocks, those hours of dedicated work time without worrying about the kids or being interrupted. So my suggestion would be, if possible, work with your partner to create a schedule that works for both of you and it may look really non traditional. It's not really normal to have both people working part time like we do in my family. But that's what works for us.
My name is Mindy Peters and I'm the solutions manager at SPI. I have a four-month-old baby named Fitzgerald. So I'm in a really privileged position in two different ways. The first is that my husband is a stay-at-home dad. When we got pregnant, we took a look at our careers and our financial obligations and he was just in a job that really was not fulfilling to him and it also had terrible hours. Sometimes he wouldn't get home until well after ten o'clock at night and it just wasn't going to work with a baby. So we decided that while our son is still at home before he starts school that my husband will be a stay-at-home dad, and that has been just a wonderful benefit for our family.
The other way is that I work from home and so I am able to be at home and spend time with my child throughout the day, which is just absolutely wonderful. We have worked really hard to fit our daily schedule around our family's natural rhythms as well as then to fit my work schedule into that as well. So I work from 10:00 a.m. To 6:00 p.m. and a big part of that is because I am a night owl. I like to stay up late and getting up early is really hard for me. A lot of advice you'll hear about working at home with a kid is like, "Get up really early and do all your work before the baby wakes up." That would never work for me. I cannot get up early; and so what we do is that when our baby goes to bed, my husband goes to sleep within about a half an hour of that.
He likes to go to bed early. I stay up late. I do some chores I'm pumping for the baby during that time and then, if there's any work that I didn't get to throughout the day because I got interrupted to do some baby stuff or just couldn't get to it during the day, I do some of that work late at night and that works really well for me and for my natural awakeness, my natural rhythms. Then I go to bed somewhere around 2:00 a.m. I'm basically on deck for any baby stuff through about 3:00 a.m. At 3:00 a.m. it switches over to my husband, and if the baby wakes up at 4:30, my husband gets up and he manages those early morning hours with the baby so that when I wake up, then I am rested and ready to work.
The other thing that we do as a family is that we go through my schedule in the morning and I say, "Okay, here's when all my meetings are. What do you need to accomplish?" If he wants to go to the gym or if there's a chore that he needs to get done that doesn't work well with a baby, then we make plans that when the baby goes down for a nap, I have a bassinet in my office so that when Fitzgerald is sleeping, he can come and sleep in my office if I'm not in a meeting and I can watch over him while I'm still working. And we've also planned his nap schedule. We try to get him to take a nap from four to six o'clock every afternoon, which is the end of my work day and so it works really well. I can watch over him while he's sleeping. I get some nice baby time and I'm able to sleep. And so we've just worked really hard to fit all of the family's natural rhythms, to fit my work into the family's natural rhythms.
I also just communicate with my managers. That would be Matt Gartland. I communicate with him a lot in terms of just if I need to flex my hours for the particular day due to baby obligations, things like that. The other thing I'd just like to mention, I obviously just came through pregnancy and so I'd like to just share a little bit about that experience. I was way more tired than I expected and so getting through a work day, getting through an eight-hour work day in one stretch, most days I couldn't make that happen. I would just be so exhausted when I was pregnant and so I gave myself the permission to take naps throughout the day and I would just work a longer day, but so that I could break it up with little naps throughout the day. Just little twenty minute naps helped me get through the day just because pregnancy really wiped me out.
The other thing that I learned that was not expected is that doctor's appointments take longer than you'd expect, and so you need to plan a good chunk of time for that and don't think that you'll run into the doctor's appointment and then go right back into a meeting. It just doesn't really work that well. The final thing that I would throw out there is, when you're coming to the end of your pregnancy, the end of your pregnancy might come sooner than you'd expect. Mine came three and a half weeks early and I had been planning for being ready to be out two weeks before my due date. Three and a half weeks before my due date—which was a half of a week before we launched our brand new website at SPI, for which I was responsible for a lot of the Q&A process—the baby showed up and I missed out on that.
So just don't plan any big projects for the last month of your pregnancy. So good luck. You can do this. Working from home, working on a business, and having a baby can happen. It just takes some extra planning. You can do it.
Hey Pat. My name is Rebecca, I am a mother of a two and a half year old boy. I've got a dog, a husband who works very long hours outside of the home and a baby on the way. I'm a full time stay-at-home mother, but also run two small businesses on the side. One is selling women's clothing on Amazon, which I manage the design and manufacture of and then I use Amazon FBA for the fulfillment and customer service, and we also have a vacation rental in Lake Tahoe that we bought together with my husband and I manage it 100 percent remotely. I'm actually in London right now on a work assignment for my husband's job and we are managing both businesses completely remotely and everything is going all right so far.
Both businesses are profitable and combined, they look to generate around $40,000 this year after taxes, which is not as much as I was making before I had my son. But, like I'll mention in a little bit, I feel like it's even more valuable because I have so much of my time back. I do this, not because I feel like I need to, or other people are telling me that I need to, but I have always been entrepreneurial and I'm actually a financial planner by profession. So it's almost like it was a challenge for me to find a way that I could contribute to our financial goals while still being around full time for my son. It was not easy, not in the slightest And it's never 100 percent easy, but it is much easier now. In those initial few months, and I'd say it probably took a year for some of these projects to get it all up and running.
I spent many, many weeks and many nights in frustration and in tears over how much harder it is to make money or run a business when you have children, and you want to be with them especially. But now that I figured it out and I have my systems in place, I have something that I can scale remotely, passively, and I have my time back, so I can still spend all of my time wiping bums and going to the park. So what I realized, and this was the tipping point, was that it is impossible for me without paying for childcare to have long stretches of focused computer time or conversations on the phone or in person with clients or customers where my son had to be quiet. That was too stressful. I just couldn't do it. I tried. So now any interactions with my clients or customers for these businesses, I have basically removed at least one step from being live and on the phone or live and in person.
For the rental property, mostly 99 percent of the time I message them on my phone through the Airbnb app. Only rarely do I have to get on the phone for an emergency call with a guest; and for the manufacturing business, Amazon FBA handles all of the customer service, which I am happy to pay for. So in short, for me it really came down to the realization that: I either had to pay for childcare, so I had uninterrupted stretches of time, or I had to set up the business and systems that once they were up and running—it always takes work in the beginning—once they were up and running, they gave me my time back and they were mostly passive and I could do them from my phone or from my laptop with no more than an hour or two per day. I really don't spend more than an hour or two per week on them now. So both took a few months to set up and some initial capital, but now I can run them 100 percent remotely from my phone.
We're actually currently in London on a work assignment for my husband's job, and because I took this time to set up everything right in the beginning—and there were lots of bumps along the way—but we ended up finding reliable manufacturers, best housekeepers. I basically only work with someone like a snow shoveler or a freight forwarder, if they passed my communication test, which is: Can I email them or text them as a main form of communication? Do they respond quickly with competence and flexibility? If the answer is yes, then we're in business together. So if you don't want to pay for childcare, like I don't want to pay for childcare mostly because I don't actually want these businesses to take more of my time. I want to have all my time free to be with my son and my other son who's going to be arriving shortly.
Also, I like to keep my profits. So childcare is an expense and we try to minimize all expenses. But if you want to do that, then you have to make sure your businesses are set up in a way that makes it possible for you to run them while your toddler is happy and also while your toddler is having a meltdown. And in most cases that means removing yourself from any live interactions with clients. So I really realized that trying to do both at the same time, give my kids attention and my business attention, in real time is a lose-lose situation. So it was either figure out some childcare or only build businesses that are mostly passive and require very little of my time.
Obviously I'm a fan of passive income, like anyone who's listening to this; and my income now, like I said, it's not at the scale of where it used to be before I had a baby, but I'm just getting started, and I'm making money while I sleep now, which feels like a huge success. Any advice I would give to mothers that are trying to figure out how to make money and also stay at home or work from home or be flexible is to give yourself plenty of grace and plenty of tries to figure out what schedule works for you. Also—and I know this is going to be hard to hear because it was hard for me to realize—but if you really want something, if you really want it and you know it's not going to go away, this desire that you have, maybe conflicting desires to contribute to your finances and to be home with your children, you have to stop complaining and you just got to start trying stuff.
Start testing out different solutions until you find one that works. Most of them won't work. You'll try another, you'll try another, you'll try another and you'll figure it out. And I know it's hard. Being a mother is a full time, full energy job already, and if you want to find another way to bring in income while you're at home, there aren't going to be any quick fixes or easy solutions. You will most likely have to build it yourself. But you can do it and once you've done it, you will be the owner of this income stream. And that feels so, so good. So good luck. You are brave, resilient, and you never even give up after the very, very hardest day when your toddler spends half of the time hitting you with his toy cars. So that's what will get you there. Just don't quit. Thanks Pat.
I'm Jessica Mehring of Horizon Peak Consulting; and yeah, I run my business from home most of the time now. It was all of the time for many years. I'm very lucky I'm able to work in a coworking space a couple of days a week now. Get a little home and office separation, but I do work from home a couple of days a week still as well. That's one of the benefits I think of being self-employed is we get to choose where we work, and I personally like to split my time. So I have an executive suite in downtown Colorado Springs that I go to a few days a week and I work from home for the rest of the time and there are two very different environments. At home, there's a lot more distraction and a lot more interruptions.
I'm very lucky that my husband is a stay-at-home dad. So I know I'm in a better position than a lot of mothers when it comes to childcare, and I certainly don't take that for granted. But still, my whole family is home when I'm working from home and when Mom's home, it's a free-for-all when it comes to walking into my office a lot of the time. So what I've found is that communication is really the best solution for my family. I do have an office where I can close the door, so that helps. But that doesn't always stop people from knocking or walking in. So I make sure my husband knows what my meeting schedule is every day so he doesn't knock on the door during a Zoom call or walk in during a Zoom call. And he can corral the kids too and stop them from coming in. I have a four-year-old and an 11-month-old. So luckily the 11-month-old can't walk into my office yet. But give her a couple months, she'll be joining the four-year-old I'm sure.
So yeah, just communicating with my husband, letting him know how my day is going to be and when I'm going to be in calls really, really helps with just limiting the walk-ins. The distractions, most of that is mental for me. Just I can hear my family even with the door closed. I can hear my family a lot of the time, and I want to join in the fun sometimes. So that can be challenging. I have a really great set of noise canceling headphones and that has been a lifesaver. So I have my noise canceling headphones and I usually am listening to some white noise, especially if I'm writing because I can't listen to music with lyrics, anything like that. I tend to, if I need to listen to something to drown out other noises, it's going to be white noise. A lot is nature sounds.
The content that I write for my clients can be very technical, so that focus is absolutely critical to not just being efficient but also doing a really good job for my clients and making sure that the content and really all of the assets, the reports and strategies and everything that I deliver to them is the best quality possible. So hopefully that helps a little bit. Communication and noise canceling headphones. Those are my solutions. Thanks for giving me the opportunity to share.
Hey there. My name is Melanie Duncan. I am the creative director of a great health and wellness brand called Truvani. I've been owning and operating multimillion dollar online businesses for over ten years now in industries spanning from apparel and home decor to information and coaching. Now, this might be a little bit controversial, but I really believe in running my family in a lot of the same ways that I run my businesses. To me, delegation is everything. But please listen when I say this loud and clear, I have a full time nanny. There is no chance I would be able to do what I do at the scale that I do it without help. With my kids and with my career, I try to make sure that I put my time towards the right things. I am not perfect by any means, but I work on this each and every day.
I ask myself, “What are the most important things that only I can do?” My daughter Olivia is four, and it's fun because she's really started to take an interest in what my husband and I do. She asks us every night at bedtime, “Mommy, daddy? How many probiotics did you sell today?” I talk with her a lot about my work and I try to involve her as much as possible. She loves to sit with me on the floor and rip out pages of magazines when I'm pulling together inspiration for a project. I think one of the mistakes that's easy to make is keeping your kids and your work in separate buckets. If you're like me, your work is a big part of your life and your kids are a big part of it too. I don't see the need to separate them so much.
Now, please don't misunderstand me. My kids, they're not in the office with me all day. But I do think that it's easy to miss the fact that our kids want to understand what we do and they want to feel like they're a part of it. It's very important to me my daughter understands that she can be more than one thing. She can be a mommy and a mogul. She does not have to choose. She loves to spend time in my office; and as a creative director, I do have a lot of really fun things to play with in there. But sometimes when I need to focus and I can't have her in there with me, so I bought her a cute little vanity and I set it up as a desk for her in her room. She wanted it to be just like mine, so we brought in some coloring books and colored pencils and post-its and when mommy needs to go into her office, she goes into her room and does her "work."
She loves it, and I think one of the most important skills we can teach our kids is how to entertain themselves independently. Currently, my biggest challenge is my son. He is twenty-months-old and a complete tornado. I don't even try to do anything work-wise if I'm with him. I know that I'm not going to be productive and I will just get frustrated, and that's not fair to him. He's not doing anything wrong, but the beautiful thing is he still naps for three hours a day. So when I'm with him, I focus on him, and then I do what I need to do when he's asleep. Although he will sit on my lap fascinated during Zoom calls for a few minutes because he likes to look at all of the screens.
I try and be really careful about the language that I use with my kids around my work. I tell them, “Mommy gets to go to work,” instead of, “Mommy has to go to work.” It's really important to me that they understand a career should be a source of joy, not an obligation. So truth be told during our current quarantined situation, I'm focused much more on all of our personal and our professional survival. So we're just taking it one day at a time. I'm a big believer in giving yourself grace. What's important to me is that my kids feel loved, and they feel safe, and if that means they get a little extra time on an iPad, I am not losing any sleep over it. My priority is to give my kids a happy mom versus a perfect mom and I would encourage all of you to do the same.
Before I had a kid, other parents warned me: Running a business from your home office with kids around is impossible. I never had a kid before, but I'm Derek Halpern and I'm always right. They must be lying. At first, I felt validated. My baby was born and I could work from home without a hitch. They were wrong. I was right. But then the baby started walking, and the baby started talking, and the baby starts to know how to call out for me. It got hard, especially when I would walk into my office in the morning and my daughter would start crying because she thought I was leaving forever, never coming back. Then I remembered that children like routines; so I tried a dad going to work routine. Before I go into my office and close the door, I spend time with my daughter and then tell her, “Bye bye, dad has to go to work,” and she says, “Bye bye,” and I go to work.
It wasn't smooth at first, but after a lot of repetition she learned to let me go to work. Now here's the problem, once you're at work and you're in your office, the real work starts, especially if you have two parents who stay at home full time, because I tried, “Bye bye,” on my wife and she just wasn't having it. So I had to put a lock on my door. Now she doesn't have a choice. All right, I'm kidding. I'm kidding. Establishing boundaries and routines with your children are important. However, it's just as important to establish them with other people in your house too because if you want to work from home with kids and other people in the house, here's the trick. If you're going to work, you need to go to work.
Hi there. My name is Samar and I'm an email conversion strategist for SaaS and eCommerce businesses. I'm also the founder of Emails Done Right. I've got two kids, aged ten and four, who've been home since March first. Working with them has been hard to say the least. I depended on the time they were in school to do deep focus work and suddenly the time's gone. Now I have trouble focusing because every three minutes I get to hear a, “Mom, she's touching my stuff. Stop it. Go away.” As you can tell, my four-year-old tends to drive my ten-year-old up the wall who in turn brings the fight to me. Standard sibling stuff, to be honest.
But since they're home from school and we're also under self quarantine, it now happens when I'm working: when I'm on group coaching calls, when I'm on client calls, when I'm presenting proposals, even when I'm doing customer interviews for clients. To be honest, the first few days were a total washout. I couldn't concentrate. I could barely respond to emails, and I was so frustrated. I tried working nights after the kids were in bed, but that messed up my entire routine and made me groggy during the day.
It got to a point where I felt frustrated and tired all the time and I was struggling as a mom, business owner and partner. It wasn't until a friend told me to stop trying to recreate my old schedule that things started falling into place. I realized that my old routine was a thing of the past. I needed to be kind to myself and my kids if I wanted to continue being a good parent and grow my business. So now I let my kids fight it out or figure it out on their own 50 percent of the time. I let them make a mess. I don't expect them to be quiet or turn off the TV when I'm on calls, and I let my kids into my home office and put on noise canceling headphones and listen to Brain.fm, but I need to concentrate.
But I think the thing that made the biggest difference is that I don't stress about my four-year-old climbing into my lap in the middle of a call and waving at the camera and saying, "Hi guys." It's turned into an interesting icebreaker, which has been surprising. So we're now a family that's big on snacks, Netflix, board games and artwork. The change didn't happen overnight. It was a lot of trial and error and I slipped back to my old patterns more than once, but we keep trying and having conversations of what each of us needs, and while it's not perfect, it is a lot better.
Hi Pat. My name is Michelle Edgemont and I own an event design and floral design company called Michelle Edgemont Design. I have two sons, one is five and a half in kindergarten and the other one is nine-months old. So I do have a studio that I normally work from, but now since everybody is home, I'm working at home with the two boys here, trying to homeschool the kindergartner and take care of the baby simultaneously.
So to get things done, I have to keep reminding myself that it's only possible for me to work in small increments. If that means I have to get up an hour before everybody else and get an hour of work in there. And then when the baby is taking a nap and the older one is watching TV or on his iPad, I can get another hour of work in there; and then, maybe sneak in another hour during the baby's afternoon nap. And then finally after everyone goes to bed, I can get a little bit of work done there too. I have learned in the past five and a half years of being a mom that it is mentally impossible for me to take care of them and be on my computer at the same exact time. I don't think it's fair for them to see me on my laptop all the time, although I do want them to see that I'm working hard at my business and trying to grow it.
I would say one of the biggest challenges that I have at the moment is just having the kindergartner home from school and homeschooling him. A lot of my peers who don't have kids or thinking about having kids have asked, "Well how do you do it? How do you run a business with these two kids around?" And the truth is you're never—or I shouldn't say never—but I try my hardest to not be doing my work when I'm taking care of them at the same time. So that means that something else or someone else is taking care of them. And when I say something else, I mean Sesame Street or the iPad; and honestly there's no shame in letting your kids watch a movie or play games on the iPad or anything that keeps them quiet and entertained so I would think for maybe a half an hour of answering emails.
Whether there's somebody else that can take care of them, like a nanny or take them to daycare, that's my best advice. But I know right now with the coronavirus and all the schools closed, we're all at home just trying to do our best and trying to get our best work done that we can and I know that for me, I just can't do my best work and be the best parent that I want to be at the same exact minute during the day simultaneously. So I always try to break things up in chunks to give either them my undivided attention or my work my undivided attention.
And it sounds like rainbows and unicorns, but it definitely is not, because I put on Black Panther for my five and a half year old to watch the other day, not sure if that's appropriate or not, but it kept him entertained for two hours, so I could do some work on my computer just in another room. So I think right now we're all trying to survive and just get through these weird times. But in general with kids around just whatever you can find that your individual child loves and will keep them occupied is my secret to being able to get work done and take care of them at the same time. For babies, that was always a carrier. I've always had a baby wrapped up in a carrier and once they got too big for my front, I figured out how to carry them around in a wrap on my back.
And when they got fussy, I would always put them up in the carrier and just stand on my computer like a standing desk. It's just when you're in that spot and you really have to get work done, but you also had to take care of your kids you just do what you got to do and you get it done. And solidarity, fist pumps to all the other moms and dads out there who are trying to make their money and make their mark on the world while taking care of your little ones. You guys got this. Thanks a lot Pat. Bye.
Hey, I'm Michelle Myers and if we've never met, so nice to meet you. I'm the founder of She Works His Way. We are a community for working women who aim to do what matters, not just get things done. And honestly looking back, I never intended or thought that this would be my profession. This was a community that I needed for myself as I was growing my business with a growing family. So I invited three friends to meet me on Google Hangouts at 5:00 a.m. once a week to hold one another accountable to loving God most, loving our families well and serving others through our work. And over the years we've invited more and more women into the conversation and I am still so grateful for this community each and every day. Now don't get me wrong, I love my family, that is not the question, but my personality is drawn towards productivity.
I love getting things done, but I also know that getting things done cannot love me back and that there's a lot more to life than simply succeeding at work. So having been doing this for almost a decade, these are some of the top tips that have helped me navigate simultaneously growing a business and a family. Tip number one, get the right people around you. It does not make you a bad parent or a bad entrepreneur if you need help. Probably means that you're smart. So whether that means getting some help with childcare if your kids aren't in school yet or if that means getting some help on the work front, silence the lie that you have to do it all. No one, I repeat, no one succeeds alone. Second of all, plan your day and factor your family into your schedule. Bottom line that I've set for myself is that I don't want my customers to get perks that my families don't.
So if I'm making plans to wow my clients, if I'm making plans to have focus time where work gets my best, then some of my schedule should be reserved for my family to have a wow moment with mom and I should have focus time where work can't interrupt. Again, knowing my personality bent, I've had to get really good at repeating to myself, "Work can wait," and most of the time it can. We've got to be better at understanding the difference between what's urgent and what's important. Second of all, have honest conversations with your family. So let them know what you need from them. So if you have an important phone call or you need to get something done, explain to them what you need to do. And no matter how young your kids are, you can probably have this conversation earlier than you think you can.
For example, when my oldest son was almost four, the company that I was working with at the time was offering an incentive trip to Disney World. So I wanted so badly to take my family and my little boy who Mickey Mouse was his hero to Disneyworld. But I knew that that was going to require me to push myself a little bit more than I had been. So I went to the store and I bought him a Mickey Mouse notebook and I told him, "Hey listen, mommy's going to have to have work a couple more hours. But the reason why is because I want to take you to meet Mickey. So sometimes when you're awake, if I have to make a phone call, I'm going to get out this notebook and I want you to draw in it. So if you interrupt me and I need to finish what I'm doing, then I'm just going to point at Mickey and that's your reminder that mommy needs to work so that we can go see Mickey Mouse," and he did really, really well with it.
So my next tip is kind of like that. As your kids get older, involve them in your work when you can. My kids have helped me mail packages. My kids have helped me set up for a conference. We've budgeted extra money to take our kids with us sometimes when we travel for work so that they can either see what we do or we can tack on an extra day and make a memory. We celebrate achievements together. We use "we" language, it's not "I" language. So make the effort to make them feel like they're not separate from your work. Make them feel like they're a part of it. They will respond so well to that. Next tip is get some accountability. First of all, personal accountability is huge. So one thing that I do is every night as I'm going to bed, I ask myself something that I've coined the Proverbs 31:28 Test.
So that verse says, "Her children rise up and call her blessed. Her husband also, and He praises her." So the question I ask myself is, "From the way I live my life today, would my highest praise come from my family?" And I wish that I could tell you that I love my answer to that question every single day, but I don't. But because I know I'm going to have to answer question, I like my answer more than I don't. And when I don't like my answer and I don't like what I have to admit to myself, then I know two things: I know I'm going to have to apologize the next day and I know that I'm going to have to make some different choices. And then I also go the next level and I directly ask my family often, "How do you feel about mommy's job?" I'll ask my kids, "How do you feel about mommy's job?"
Sometimes their answers are the perfect encouragement to my weary soul. I've made myself feel guilt that was unnecessary because guilt is a feeling that we can't always trust. Conviction is straight from the Lord and it's something that we should pay attention to. But there is a difference between guilt and conviction. I remember when my friend [Summer Phoebus] told me that, it opened my eyes to think of it in such a different way. So we need to not just let guilt echo in our mind, but directly go to our family for truth. So sometimes I've been holding myself in the guilt cycle unnecessarily and other times their answers are the correction that I need to get back on track. But you know this, we don't grow, we don't get better by avoiding tough conversations or hard questions. We get better by facing the facts and putting in the effort we need to improve.
So I already mentioned this, but: Apologize when you don't get it right. Kids do not resent parents who work. Kids will probably though resent hypocrisy. If I tell them that they're more important than work, but I constantly choose work over them, that's probably going to create some problems. And kids—in addition to probably more than likely resenting hypocrisy—are going to resent pride. When I'm unwilling to admit when I make a mistake and ask them for forgiveness, I'm going to lose ground at home. But the bonus perk is, your kids will do much better at owning their mistakes when they see you own yours. So figuring out how to navigate family and work will not require anything insanely innovative. You just have to be intentional. And if I can ever encourage you, I'm just a DM away.
Hey Pat, thanks for involving me in this, and hello SPI audience. This is Caleb Wojcik. I'm a cofounder on SwitchPod with Pat. If you've heard of SwitchPod or you've heard me on previous episodes of SPI, that's what I'm a part of. I've been doing videos with Pat for a while now and run my own production company. But I've been working from home since 2011, so nine or ten years now. But just recently, my wife and I welcomed to daughter into our family, so we have a five-month-old right now, and yeah, the first month or so I tried to take off as much time as I possibly could to spend time with my family. But now as she's getting older we're getting more into a routine where my wife is watching her at home while I'm working from home and there's definitely some learning curve there for us.
So if you're expecting a baby or you have an infant right now, some of the things that have really worked for us are, number one, just being flexible, being okay with not necessarily getting to start work at a certain time or maybe you have to work late one night, just being flexible, not being super rigid and like, "Oh, I only work from nine to five and I take a break for lunch for a half hour." It just isn't realistic for us to have that rigid structure with a baby that's colicky and sometimes my wife needs help with certain moments, and we've over time tried to tend to delineate roles better; and that would be my second thing of whose job is it to do certain things. Also the third thing would be just stepping in when the other person needs help, but also being okay to not step in unless they ask for help.
So that's something that my wife and I have communicated on where she can get by, she can do what she needs to do each day, but there might be moments or there might be moods or there might just be days where our daughter is more colicky or more frustrated, more fussy that she needs more help on. So me not being as rigid of being, "No, I need to be stuck at work," instead "Yeah, I can come up and help," and, "What do you need? Let me help out, you can take a break or you can do your workout or do what you need to do." So that's been really helpful for us. And another thing, I guess a fourth thing would be just having some grace with each other because it does get frustrating to work from home when the kids are home, especially if it's been forced upon you by a school closure or a major pandemic that's going around the world right now.
And it will take some time to adjust. So there might be discussions, or fights, or whatever you want to call them, between you and your spouse or you not being able to get done what you want to get done in a day and having some grace for yourself or for the other people that are at home. It's just going to be a temporary thing most likely. But if this is your new normal for a while, for weeks, for months, not knowing how long it's going to last, I think having boundaries around, maybe, where you work is really powerful. If you have a specific room you can work in or just a specific area or if I have my headphones on, "Kids, please don't come bug me unless it's urgent." So my friend's parents used to say, "Unless you're bleeding, do not come back inside. You are supposed to be outside playing right now. Unless someone's bleeding or in danger, don't come back inside."
So maybe not that strict, I don't know, we have a five-month-old, so if she's bleeding, that is an immediate emergency in this household obviously. But I think having grace with yourself, having some boundaries, having flexibility in your schedule and helping out when necessary and maybe you just have to go above and beyond to work some nights, work some weekends when the kids are doing other things. That's been really helpful for me to be like, "I don't need to work at this speed. I don't need to work as long as I used to work before I had kids." This is a new normal and the most important things that need to get done that are on the top of the list, still get done, but maybe I'm just more efficient and I waste less time at my desk checking websites.
So the final thing that I would say would be, if you are struggling with distractions during this time when you are sitting down and supposed to be working because of maybe all the news and stuff that's going on or you just need a little break once you are able to step away from your kids or from working from home, I would put in place a self-control mechanism either into your computer or your phone or whatever you're using to do your work. So I'm on Mac, I use a self-control app, it's selfcontrolapp.com/. It allows me to block websites that I would go to, to distract myself. News sites, sports news, social media, you just put in whatever URL you would type in when open that new Chrome tab and you just do it automatically now. Whatever that distraction is for you, you can list them out.
So you black it out for a certain period of time. I do an hour and then I'll let myself check stuff and see what's going on in the world or whatever. But blocking websites that distract you, blocking apps that distract you, but then allowing yourself to check those in the evening or later or once an hour or whatever you need has been really helpful for me. So hopefully those tips help you guys for working from home, especially with children or little ones and stay focused. Get some work done during this time, but also spend more time with your family and know that at least right now during COVID-19, in March 2020 when I'm recording this, it's a little crazy right now. Try to have some normalcy.
All right, so what'd you think? Did you enjoy the episode? Did it encourage you, make you laugh, maybe make you cry. Thanks again, Laura. Derek was a hoot. Wasn't he? Love that guy, miss him so much. Anyway, I hope you're doing well. You're feeling good, you're not feeling alone. And I hope you realize that there's a lot of support out there in this world for you and that you're not the first one to go through this. And I'm here for you too, as well as TeamSPI. This is fun. You heard a couple of my team members there, Matt and Mindy who had just recently had babies too. And I just feel so proud that they are on the team and being able to raise a family at the same time too. So, if you're listening to this and you're about to become a parent, congratulations, good luck, it's a wild ride ahead, but it's so worth it.
It's worth every single moment. I know for different people there's different levels of difficulties. There are different kinds of difficulties, but no matter what, it's always worth it, because these kids, they're our future and this is why we do what we do. So thank you so much for listening and I appreciate you. If you enjoyed this episode, please head on over to the show notes page. We have every single person listed there who had contributed to the show, and we also have their as far as we could find any sort of social media handles so you can reach out to them and thank them and please do, if you resonated with one or a few of these people, go to the show notes page, I'll give you the link in just a moment, and click on their links and say thanks.
I think that's the least we could do and hopefully this is enjoyable to you because I spent hours editing this and we don't have a system for shows like this and we're going to develop one now because this is really great. But anyway, the show notes page, smartpassiveincome.com/session419. Again, smartpassiveincome.com/session419. And a big thank you to everybody who contributed today. Big thank you to listening all the way through and I want to wish you all the best of luck. And if you could subscribe to the show, if you haven't already, that'd be fantastic. Please leave a review if possible. And one more time for you, best of luck, you're amazing, you got this. We'll see you in the next episode and as always, #TeamFlynn for the win. Peace.
Want more from SPI?
Enter your information below if you'd like to join our newsletter!