When people ask me what I do for a living, I tell them that I am a mother of a two year old child and have my own e-business. Living in an enviornment where the home business concept is very uncommon, I generally get these reactions; “that’s great”, “it’s nice to be your own boss and have time for the family at the same time” and “you must lead a great life”.
For those people who never tried working at home this concept is really exciting, but in reality getting the hang of it is not as easy as it may seem. There were moments when I felt like tearing my hair out of my head. Here are some tips that really work for me inorder to have a smooth balance between home business and family commitments and, at the same time, avoid the head banging moments!
Rule 1: Make a realistic schedule
It is very important to know when to work and when to keep up with your family commitments. Believe me, it is really challanging and difficult for every human being to try to write an important e-mail while your sibling is pulling vigoursly at the cat’s tail! You will end up nervous, the child will start crying and the cat will get frustrated. This definitly is not an ideal situation to work with, so I highly recommend to make a realistic and effective schedule were you allow separate time for work and family commitments.
Rule 2: Be organised
Even though you are working at home and no one will see where you actually work, it is essential to be organised. I suggest that you choose a quite work place where you can leave your material way out of your children’s reach or any one that can cause any undesired damage. Imagine if a client phones for a quotation and you can’t give him the exact price because the dog felt like eating some paper! Not really professional at all.
Rule 3: Know your limits
It is indispensable to take on work which you are qualified and capable to do within your allowed time. Starting the never ending battle with the clock and with your children, is not going to get you any where. We all have got to put food on the table but over doing it is not the solution. Remember that a stressful person doesn’t give her best, but a relaxed one does!
Rule 4: Be flexible
Sometimes things don’t work out exactly as planned. Know that there will be time when your kids will get sick and they will need nursing. I am sure that even the most best behaved kid won’t understand his parent telling him that she has got a very important deadline coming up. It is very essential to avoid leaving things for the last minute and be flexible when such situations arise.
Rule 5: Make time for yourself
Work and family commitments are important but so are you! It is necessary to allow some time for ourselves inorder to have the enough energy to keep us on the go with our commitments. Remember you are the boss, but you are also entitled to breaks, lunch, vacation leave and even sick leave. Mind you… don’t over do with the relaxation period and get too distracted watching too much soap operas. Remember, after all, they always end up living happily ever after or something in the where about!
Rule 6: Everybody has bad days
You may think that you are the only one in the world who has got to face up with difficult clients. Well, you are very wrong and all those who have a business, have to face a difficult client sooner or later! Just because you own your business, does not mean that every day is going to be perfect. Learn to be assertive and avoid at all costs to write e-mails while you are angry, no matter how right you may be on a certain matter. In difficult moments, take decisions and stick with them. It also forms part of the boss concept formula!
Rule 7: Do your best
Having your own home business requires motivation, discipline and commitment. You may try to have your own home business, you may succeed or you may not. No matter what happens, do your best and have no regrets. Keep working hard, even though there will be tough moments when you cannot seem to see results. Know that the beginning is tough for everyone. Keep focus on your target, be patient and have faith!
Wish you all the best of luck on your new venture and remember you are the world’s best boss, try not to become your worst enemy by not finding effective solutions for your commitments, and then you can really can say nothing beats working from home!
Janet Mallia is a full-time English-Maltese freelance translator; one of the few in Malta. She used to work as a Quality Control Editor responsible for the Maltese translations for an international translation agency. Her articles and write-ups were published in Maltese newspapers and international sites.
Her website is www.themaltesetranslator.com
She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.