I don’t know about you, but when I started my first business I just knew all things were going to be rosy and pretty dang perfect.
I was leaving my career of 12 years as a classroom teacher and diving into the world of entrepreneurship and was excited (and scared, but we will save that for another post).
One of the main reasons I started my own business was so I could be more in control of my schedule because I craved more time with my two boys. They were growing up quickly and I wanted so much to be 100% available to them when they needed me most. But I also had this passion inside me to create something of my own, a business doing something that I truly loved and that set my soul on fire each and every day.
So, I opened a women’s clothing boutique in my community. Yep, things were going to be rosy and perfect.
And then, my schedule got crazy and my boys ended up spending an awful lot of time in the back room of my store watching TV and eating Oreos out of a bag.
They began to complain about having to spend so much time cooped up in the back room and quickly began to spew comments of disdain for my new business.
What started out as a way for me to be available to my boys was turning into them seeing less and less of mom and resentment was setting in.
I decided that the best way to solve this problem was to include my boys in the business instead of leaving them hidden in the back room. I found creative ways to include them in many different areas of my business. They helped me organize the store, prepare orders to be shipped out and they especially loved helping me count the money at the end of each day.
My customers loved seeing the boys be active in the business and they each learned a little more about chasing a passion, the reward of a days hard work and focusing on serving others. Win win!
But the best part…my boys saw their mom thriving and filled with joy! They were able to walk along side me in my first journey as a small business owner. Not only were they able to spend more time with me, but also felt like they were a part of the business we were creating.
There are lots of ways you can include your kids in your business. It just takes a little creativity and willingness to go with the flow.
The ages of your kids will determine how much you can involve them in your business and in what areas.
If your kids are young and still require lots of supervision from you try a couple of these ways to include them.
1. GIVE THEM THEIR OWN WORK SPACE
Stock it with special supplies like sticky notes, markers, pens and paper and let them “work” right along side you. Maybe their job is to create drawings and art pieces to decorate your work space.
Giving them a place right beside you will keep them engaged and help them to feel included. Although their focus may be short, giving them this time will help them to feel a part of what you are doing and will most likely cut down on their distractions when you are trying to get focused work done a little later.
2. PUT THEM TO WORK
Let them help with simple tasks such as preparing orders, putting stamps and stickers on envelopes, and decorating packages.
Depending on their age and your product presentation, your kids can have a hands on experience with your business. They can be a part of the excitement of creating, selling and delivering products. This gives them ownership and a sense of purpose in your business.
3. ASSIGN THEM A SPECIAL TASK
Give them a special task only they can do.
Save this for them and make sure they only do it when it is work time. This is a great time to teach them that there is a time to work and a time to rest and play.
4. TALK WITH THEM ABOUT YOUR BUSINESS
Talk about what you do in your business and how it provides for your family.
Because you work from home or what you do isn’t based on a 9-5 schedule, your kids may be confused about what your “work” actually looks like. Help explain the model of your business and how it allows you to control your schedule and helps provide for your family.
As your kids get older, giving them more and more responsibility in your business serves a lot of great purposes. Here are a few ideas of how your older kids can be involved in your business.
5. ONLINE MARKETING
Give your older kids the responsibility of some of the online marketing strategies for your business.
My oldest son is taking a graphic design class in high school next year for the main purpose of learning the skill and being able to help me create graphic and design work for my business.
Not only will he be able to take on important roles in the marketing of the business, he will be learning a skill that he can take with him and use in various ways as an adult.
6. TEACH THEM PRODUCT CREATION
Now that your kids are older and gaining more skills and independence, it might be time to teach them some of the basics of creating the products or services that you provide your customers.
They can quickly learn basic skills that are a necessary part of your business. Over time, give them more and more responsibility and even begin to pay them a wage. This is a great time for them to learn how to grow a business and how to earn a wage.
7. ASK THEIR OPINIONS
I am always a little surprised when my boys give me great insight about my business. They usually know way more than I give them credit for. I have started sharing more and more with them about my business and asking their honest feedback and opinion.
They bring a point of view to the business that is unique and lacking fear and self doubt. Their insight is always a breath of fresh air.
Ask your older kids their opinion about products and services that you offer. They can help you name courses and workshops, determine who your ideal customer should be for that particular product and help you problem solve online obstacles that arise.
No matter the age of your kids, there are lots of fun ways to include them in your business. The more involved they are and the more they feel a part of what you do each day, the less resentment they will feel.
And you, the mom and business owner, will love your business that much more!