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Editor’s note from Monica: I am thrilled to welcome Emma Bates as our guest contributor today! Emma is a stay-at-home-mom who is growing a thriving online business. At Redefining Mom, we support all moms looking to build an online business or work outside the home. Whether you keep your kids home with you or you choose to send them to daycare or another daytime care arrangement, we support your choice. I personally aim to have 20 hours of child-free work time a week.

You only get one chance

Somedays it seems like your kids will never be self-sufficient. But, the non-stop need for snacks, band-aids, entertainment and hugs only last for a few years and then they are off on playdates, school days and sleepovers. You only get one chance to be with your kids while they are little and it’s worth focusing on them while you can.

Being a small business owner is a great way to afford to stay at home, but it can take over your life if you are not careful. Create a business growth plan that focuses on slow and steady while your children are young is a great way to help find that elusive balance between work and family.

Starting a business and working from home with kids is a tough hurdle to jump but it can be done.

Why success doesn’t have to mean fast growth

How do you define success?

There are so many ways to get sucked into the belief that you have to grow a business fast and make huge amounts of money to be successful. I don’t believe that is true, and neither should you!

Success is what works for you and your family. It is finding a middle ground between working on your business and reading to your toddler. There is no rule that says growing a business slowly is failing.

Growing in a slow, deliberate manner does take some planning though. It means being thoughtful about taking on a new client or wholesale order. It means being honest about how much time a project will take you.

It means saying NO more often

Do you find it hard to say no? Are you constantly being sucked into projects you don’t really need to be involved in?

Saying no is hard. Mom’s seem to be especially bad at this. I know that for me I feel guilty saying no. Even when it would be best for both my family and I. It takes practice to give yourself permission to say no. And you should start practicing now!

If you are going to grow a business while staying home with your kids, your time is very precious. Figure out how much time you have to devote to any outside project and then say no to anything that doesn’t fit. Stretching yourself too thin with only hurt your time with your kids.

Focus on one thing at a time

Multiple streams of income are great but don’t start too many things at once. Focus on one business and one stream in the beginning. If you find that you are able to expand once that is established then you can add to what you are already doing.

Focusing on one business will allow you to build a productive and profitable business instead of spreading yourself so thin that nothing works.

Not only should you focus on one business at a time, but one task at a time too. You need to be very dedicated to your time management plan as a work at home mom. Multi-tasking may seem like a good idea but will create too many distractions and nothing gets done well.

Especially if you have clients you are doing work for, find the time to focus on one task at a time so you are giving them your best work.

Plan for the long-term

Plan ahead as much as you can. When you know you have a big project or event coming up, clear your schedule as much as possible.

Don’t lose sight of the fact that you are staying home to be with your kids. Planning your time will allow you to be with them and be focused on them instead of a distracted mess.

Write your goals down and plan out each quarter in advance. This will help you to focus on what needs to get done each month and what you will do during your work time.

Create a business growth plan

Creating your growth plan needs to start with evaluating your time. How many hours of dedicated work time will you get each week? Will you work during naps and in the evenings? Will you have hours you can be kid free on the weekends?

Take stock of those hours and how many you have to work with. This will change as both your business and children grow and I like to evaluate my hours quarterly.

Your hours will dedicate how much work you can complete each week. You can’t magically make more hours (as much as we would all like to!) so don’t overbook yourself. Be honest with how much time tasks will take you!

Once you know how much time you have to work you can evaluate any projects or opportunities that come your way for how they would fit in your life. Only take on opportunities that fit OR let go of things that are no longer working so you can take on something new.

As your children grow older and start going to pre-school or kindergarten you can add much more to your schedule. When you know this change is coming it is helpful to take some time to look at your whole schedule and how much work you can truly add. Do you need to work all the hours that your child is away? Or do you need to schedule some time to connect with friends or clean the house?

Don’t forget to allow time for working in your business as you are scheduling yourself out. Plan time for marketing, budgeting, goal setting and the like. Not every hour can be an hour to work on product or client work!

Being deliberate in your work schedule with your children are little will allow you to focus on them during their formative years. You will have plenty of time to grow your empire as your children grow up. So take your time now while they are little to be home with them and create a slow business growth plan. You won’t be sorry.

If you would like to know more about how I schedule my life around my work and my children you can read about my schedule here.

Emma Bates is a blogger at Kids, Cash & Chaos and small business coach. She lives with her three kids and amazingly supportive husband in rural NH. When she’s not working her online business you can find her playing with her toddler and sneaking chocolates in the pantry. Emma is passionate about helping mom business owners and would love to connect with you on her website.

More Business Building Resources

Busy Moms Building: 12 Steps to Running Your Own Online Business for Busy Moms

The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide to Starting a Blog

How I Made $7,000 on Autopilot with Pinterest in 3 Months

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Starting a business and working from home with kids is a tough hurdle to jump but it can be done.

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