Starting up your own social enterprise while raising a young family can be extremely challenging, but amazingly rewarding when you get it right.
With so many talented and dedicated individuals looking to reach out and contribute to the world around them, more and more social enterprises are being created and run by parents who are able to successfully juggle their own work and home lives.
Starting up on your own when you have young children to look after is actually very achievable, and provided you put some basic ground rules in place, both you and your family can benefit from the flexibility of running your own enterprise.
If this is something you’re considering, it’s important you work out your plans before diving in, because this will help you find the perfect work-life balance.
Here’s our top tips for starting a social enterprise with a young family!
1. Organise your childcare in advance
All working parents know that this is often the most difficult element to organise, even if you’re planning on working from home.
You need to find dedicated space in you day for work, which can be hard with small children needing your attention at the same time.
Some social enterprise startups operate purely around school hours to ensure their children are cared for while they work, but even in this scenario you still have to consider how you’ll make school holidays work for you.
Investigate childminders, local nurseries, breakfast clubs and after school clubs to see how you can create a childfree environment while you work. This also means that when your children are at home with you, you can dedicate more time to them.
2. Stick to a routine
When you’re working for yourself it can be very difficult to switch off.
But, if you can set regular working hours you’ll find that you and your littles ones benefit from you not being available to your customers all hours of the day and night.
When your children know that mummy or daddy work certain hours, they’re less likely to feel like they’re missing out and will look forward to spending time with you when you stop.
Set out your hours and rules early in the game and stick to them as much as possible.
3. Find a work-life balance that works for you
There will always be times when your social enterprise demands more of your time than you home life does and vice versa.
Knowing how to find the right balance is important as it means that your all-important family time won’t suffer.
Set boundaries and find a fair but workable way to divide your time between your new enterprise, your family and some all-important ‘me time’ to help you recharge, too.
4. Embrace the flexibility
Unlike some other types of employment, starting up on your own does give you certain levels of flexibility that normal office working does not.
Provided you can justify the time away from your desk, you can take holidays or days off whenever you want to, be they for school sports days, nativity plays or other important occasions, and fit your working hours around your family commitments.
If during the school holidays you find yourself working early in the morning, or late into the evening – go with it. This way, you’ll still be able to spend quality time with your family during the day, without neglecting your social enterprise.
Starting an enterprise whilst raising a young family can be hard at times, but even when you feel exhausted remember that if you can make it work, you will ultimately get to spend more quality time with your children as well as providing a vital service for your community.