Starting your own business is hard, time-consuming, and at times emotionally draining. So how can you focus on your business baby, without it affecting your marriage or ability to care for your child?
Susannah Davda, the founder and director of The Shoe Consultant Ltd launched her footwear consultancy in April 2015, juggling being an entrepreneur, spouse, and mother throughout. Here are her five tips on getting the balance right.
1. Divide childcare and work time
In the early days of nursing my baby, I was able to blog with one hand whilst he rested on the other arm. Now he’s one, apart from the odd tweet, I don’t try to work when he’s awake and in my care. He is just too distracting, and needs to be watched like a hawk whilst he explores the wonders (and dangers) of the world.
I work during his naps, but what I call my golden days are when the one year old is at nursery and my husband is at work. During these days I can focus on more substantial projects rather than just keeping on top of admin.
2. Get organised
I love a list, and have lists of things to do per day scheduled months ahead in my digital calendar. This is my way of ensuring that the time I have to work is used wisely. I also use the Evernote app to write notes, so that they are easily searchable. I use the same methods for keeping track of personal admin, the one year old’s schedule, and things I need to remember from my husband’s diary. Being organised helps me to make efficient use of my time, and enables me to feel OK about taking time away from the business to spend with my husband and child.
3. Set aside time for your spouse
Without childcare easily available in the evenings, date nights are now few and far between. We really appreciate the occasional evening out as a couple, but most of the time, we have to think of other ways to spend time together. Often when my husband has time off, I use that time to work, so we try to schedule in family days several times a month. Once they’re in the diary, we try not to let anything clash with those precious days. Urgent business can be caught up with in the evening. We always sit down to eat as a couple when we’re both in. We do this once the one year old is in bed so we can have proper conversations (unless we’re too tired to speak).
4. Don’t get too upset when the schedule goes out of the window
This is one I’m still working on. Recently, the little one couldn’t go to nursery as he was unwell. I looked at my to-do list and panicked. I had to just accept that I had lost the majority of a day of work time, but appreciate that at least I didn’t have any meetings scheduled. I looked at my to-do list, prioritised the most important items, and got these done during the one year old’s nap times and in the evening. Everything else on the list had to be postponed. Whilst it’s frustrating when this sort of thing happens, at least running my own business gives me the power and flexibility to rearrange things.
5. Say goodnight
It’s nice to acknowledge each other and be acknowledged, but so easy to be distracted by work or by the child. I try to make sure I say “good morning”, “good night”, “hello”, “goodbye” and “I love you” to both my husband and my child.
Susannah Davda is the director of The Shoe Consultant Ltd. She launched her footwear consultancy in April 2015, and loves to help women and businesses make better decisions about shoes. She believes that footwear can be comfortable and beautiful, and is as much a corporate decision as it is a personal one.