There’s no doubt that starting a new independent consulting business can be hard on family life. Naturally you will need to put a lot of time, effort, and dedication into growing your business, and clients can be demanding. After all, they’re paying for your services and in the main, your work/life balance means little to them.
At the same time, your family must come first, unless you want a thriving business at the expense of a disintegrating home life. The good news is that you really don’t need to put yourself in an either/or situation.
With a little creative thinking, you can involve your family in the growth and success of your business. If they feel that they are a part of what you’re doing and that they can contribute meaningfully, they won’t be alienated and will be a powerful source of inspiration and motivation to help you through your business ups and downs.
Make it a Family Business
Of course it’s one thing to involve your spouse in your independent consulting business, but when it comes to the children, you’ll need to take their ages and interests into account. However, among the following ideas, you should be able to choose some which will work for the whole family, regardless of its composition.
Take the family to business events: Industry trade shows and similar events can hold something of interest for all members of the family. Why not try to choose events that include lots of booths, giveaways and a variety of activities, and take the family along with you?
Employ family members as personal assistants: Just think of all the tasks that you need to complete in the course of running your independent consulting business.
Proof-reading and editing of documents, cleaning, filing, mail shots, website creation and updating: there are just so many things which you could ask family members to take care of for you. Of course you should pay for those services and if you have older children, this can be a great way for them to make pocket money while contributing to the running of your business.
Visualize and Celebrate Success
As well as involving your family in the work of your independent consulting business, you should help them to see the benefits of business growth and success. Help them to realise that the hard times when you are really busy will lead to great times when the results of your work pay off.
Celebrate successes with rewards that the whole family can enjoy, like days out or a special meal in a restaurant, perhaps a trip to the movies or a show—whatever will ensure that everyone has a great time.
Try helping your family to visualise future success by making a dream board, on which everyone can pin images of the things they’d love to do when the business is really established and time and money allow. Imagine the joy that will be yours and theirs when the first item on the board is ticked off as achieved.
Family: The One Sacrifice You Don’t Want to Make
Starting and running your own independent consulting business will require sacrifices, but the mutual happiness and contentment of your family should not be one of them.
Instead of trying to divide your time between business and family, get your spouse and children involved in what you are doing, and let them share in the good times, the not-so-good-times, the successes and the challenges. As a result, both your business and home life will be all the more fulfilling.
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