Running your own business is a dream for many people. With the prospect of being your own boss, creating a business you believe in and working in an industry you’re passionate about, it’s clear to see the appeal. However, running your own business can be a stressful and very challenging experience.
In 2020, for many people, one of these challenges became better understood. As the Covid-19 pandemic forced those who could work from home to do so, business owners worldwide had to adjust to running their business from home and the challenges that come with this. This wasn’t new for some business owners, but it represented a significant change from office life for others.
Along with setting up workspaces and online meetings, business owners who have children also had to factor in looking after them during this difficult time. With many businesses continuing to work from home as we start 2021, these challenges will likely continue for some time. Furthermore, as a result of the last year’s experiences, it is possible that more businesses will be set up and continued to be run from home in the years to come. With this in mind, we reached out to one business owner to get their thoughts on how they managed running a business while looking after a young child.
JOYTO is a business which produces high-quality baby products with an emphasis on natural products. The founders are husband and wife Steven and Samantha Mccarthy, who set up the business last year. There are clear pros and cons of running a business from home. As Samantha pointed out, “from a time point of view, working from home is more efficient than driving to work. I could get up from bed with pyjamas on and start my days’ work straight away. I can reply to emails quickly while my daughter is playing with her toys by herself even for only five minutes sometimes. That’s mean I can have more time to accompany my daughter’s growth.” However, it also comes with challenges. “If my daughter has a cold, does not feel well, or she couldn’t sleep at night or naptime, she needs her mother to be with her more, I have no choice as my daughter is the priority and that can be very difficult to balance work and family life” Samantha explained.
The key word mentioned above is balance. Finding the right balance between life and work is crucial for everyone, but even more so when you have a young child, and you’re running a business. Samantha explained that having a schedule to work with at home can be useful, but being flexible and adaptable is vital. “I did set a schedule for work and family life, but sometimes it has to be flexible and depends on my baby’s daytime schedule. This schedule works well most of the time” Samantha said. “Me and my husband decided not to send our 22-month-old daughter to nursery at the moment with the current Covid-19 situation. Obviously, that means I have less time to do work at home. Thankfully we have got a very good baby, she sleeps well in the night plus a two-hour nap in the day.” Making use of time when young children are sleeping at home during the day can be a great time to get some extra work done, but it’s important to remember that to function at your best for both your child and your business you need time to rest yourself.
Being as rested as possible allows you to think clearly, which with so many things going on when juggling work and a baby or young child is vital. “Too many things on the mind can be challenging” Samantha pointed out. “Especially when there are some urgent emails that need to be replied to, for example, the need to communicate with a supplier regarding product design or to confirm other details. I have to manage time to make sure she is eating and learning well, while at the same time making sure I don’t make any mistakes and deal with my work.”
Another point to remember which is closely linked to sleep is knowing when to stop work for the day. You will need time to relax after work so you can sleep as well as possible. It’s not just a case of closing your laptop screen and getting into bed at night. Allow yourself some time to relax and take time for yourself. This also links to a broader point about how to manage your work and family life at home. Starting or running a business from home when you have young children or are expecting a baby can be extremely challenging. Samantha rightly pointed out that people should “make sure they are prepared for a big challenge when you want to look after the baby very well, along with doing well with your own business. Especially from the psychological aspect, be ready to face different problems from work and don’t vent bad emotions from work on your children, keep them separate.” Overall, running your business from home can be extremely rewarding but understanding the challenge it poses is crucial. Thanks to Samantha from JOYTO for sharing her insights into this subject.