Conventional wisdom states that parenthood and entrepreneurship don’t mix. The expectation is that successful startups are spearheaded by young 20-somethings with free time to devote to their only baby — their business. The good news is that both the experts and the data suggest that conventional thinking is wrong.
The average age of successful startup founders (many of whom are parents) is 45. Moreover, parenting equips individuals with the traits necessary for business success, including patience, perspective, responsibility, and the ability to adapt and overcome. That said, while you can and should use these traits to your advantage, there are other steps you can take to stay the course and succeed as your own boss while bringing a new baby home.
1. Invest in Your Workspace
If you have room in your house to do so, dedicate an entire room to your business activities. Ideally, this will be next to your baby’s nursery. However, if your home has limited square footage, consider creating a nursery/home-office combo. Find items that pull double-duty, think minimal, and, where possible, go vertical.
If building a nursery/home-office space is out of the question, make small tweaks to maximize the space you do have. Purchase a sturdy, fold-up desk or invest in a lap desk. Try to set up a workstation by the window, and swap out dull light bulbs with bright LEDs. Buy a good pair of noise-cancellation headphones (be sure to keep the baby-monitor within sight!), and dedicate a single power strip to all your work tech.
2. Set and Stick to a Routine
You may be tempted to take advantage of your new boss-life by sleeping in and working whenever you feel like it, but this isn’t a good idea. Maintaining a consistent schedule is crucial for your productivity and your baby’s growth and development. Schedules help you manage your time and filter distractions, and they encourage you to get things done. As for caring for your baby, routines promote social, emotional, and cognitive development; establish a sense of security and stability; and provide for learning opportunities.
3. Take Advantage of Time-Management Tools
If you’re like many work-from-home parents, you may struggle to maximize productivity while maintaining a healthy work-life balance in the beginning. Productivity and automation tools work to solve this problem, and help users stay focused, cut distractions, collaborate, and work quicker. There are dozens from which to choose; top tools include Slack, Calendar, Serene and Toggl.
4. Form the Right Business Structure
Before you can start to build your business, you need to form an entity first. As a work-from-home parent, a limited liability company offers the most advantages, including tax flexibility, personal liability protection, and less paperwork. You may assume you need a business lawyer who understands the ins and outs of state laws regarding LLCs, but formation services can help at a fraction of the cost. Click here to learn more about registering as a Florida LLC.
Parenthood and entrepreneurship are both achievable goals. Use your newly gained perspective and the above tips to turn your business dreams into a reality while welcoming home your precious new arrival!