The shocking truth about work from home parents
I work from home and I love it. I wouldn't change it for anything. In fact I often tell people I'm unemployable now as I couldn't have a boss breathing
down my neck all day, let alone the task of clocking in and out or the office politics. I'm on a mission to change the perception of work from home parents. We work just as hard at home as people do who have to commute further than their home office (or living room/kitchen table). Our days are shaped differently yes, but it doesn't mean we've taken the easy option and far from it! I'm amazed how many people don't and won't take work from home businesses seriously. So what is the shocking truth about work from home parents?
I have a large team of people within my direct sales business and I coach them the benefits of working from home, in fact I actively recruit people by telling them the top reasons to work from home, the most popular reasons being:
- Flexible hours around current commitments
- Uncapped Income- it's up to you how many hours you work, how hard you work, therefore you control your income
- No childcare costs
- Be your own boss
These four reasons are the reasons I'm given most when asking people why they'd like to work from home.
Nobody tells me it's so they can:
- Sit at home all day, watch TV and relax
- So they don't have to get 'a proper job'
- So they can work twice as hard as conventional businesses to prove to people (especially friends and family) that their business is a success (success being whatever your own definition is)
- So that they can sit on social media all day and pretend it's a business
And yet these are just some of the comments I hear from people regularly about people who work from home, and it doesn't stop there. A couple of months ago I was at a networking meeting and heard a local business woman tell the group a potential client had decided not to use her because she was a mother and they didn't think she'd meet the deadlines. This woman has been self-employed for 10 years and never missed a deadline. Another told me she'd been told her business was a scam because it didn't trade in the conventional way where the product is sold through a shop. Instead this woman is passionate about her products and sells them by her own personal recommendation and word of mouth of her customers.
This blog isn't a rant. I just want people to hear more about working from home businesses. I love supporting small businesses of all types especially the ones who work from home. They don't have a marketing department, a social media guru, or a CEO to give advice on best practice. They are all of those things rolled into one. What they do have is passion, drive and determination and a very valuable why. What do I mean by a valuable Why? I mean the real reason Why they are running their business and working from home. Yes on the surface it's probably one of those top 4 reasons I first mentioned but everyone will have a reason that's dear to them, that's personal and the reason they get out of bed in the morning.
So when I say uncapped income, yes some people achieve a 6 figure income that they can use to create the lifestyle they want, others though see it as a way to buy their partner something without having to use the joint account, meaning they don;t know how much it cost them. I have a woman in my team who cried when she achieved this, that's all she wanted to feel successful. I never knew buying your husband a pair of trainers as a surprise could be such a powerful goal but to her it was.
Another woman in the team has a partner who works away a lot. She doesn't want to work whilst he's at home as that time is precious so she works from home to allow her to pick her hours. On the weeks he's away she works damn hard to make sure the week he's here she gets to enjoy it with him however they choose.
A guy in my team, decided to join the business because he was in the navy. His wife was at home with the 6 children and they wanted something flexible they could do together around those children, either from the house or what he describes as 'a rather big boat' (how cool is that??). I watched them pick up a business award for Best Independent Network Marketing Business earlier this year, what an achievement.
A day working from home will look very different to each person but that doesn't matter. If you look at a working day of those going to work they'd all be different too. So why is it that work from home businesses are not taken as seriously as those with premises? Is their time not as precious? do they not contribute to our economy? of course it is and of course they do!
I can't describe what everyone's day looks like I can only give you an example of mine but an average day for me consists of:
- Getting the children up and dressed. There's 5 of them so it's a very busy time of the day. On a school day my husband will do the school run whilst I make sure the youngest 2 are dressed, happy, fed and have an activity to be getting on with. If it's the holidays this routine goes completely out the window and it's a free for all if I'm honest. The house is loud and alive all day in the holidays so my time management skills are definitely put to the test!
- Morning- I log into my laptop and make sure my social media posts are set up for the day, I respond to any messages I've had over night and do the same with my emails. I log into my team groups and networking groups and add my daily post and respond to any queries from team members or members of my networking group. I then work down my to-do list or attend meetings depending on what's in my diary. Everything has to be organised with husband as he has the children when I'm with clients, team or in meetings. We've added juggling to our CV's, to the outside world it's known as diary management. At midday one of the younger children goes off to nursery which gives the youngest some one to one time with which ever parent isn't working.
- Afternoon- I contact my new contacts. In order to grow my business my aim is to contact at least 3 new contacts a day to see if and how I can help them. This could be a potential new client, people I'm looking to recruit or a school I'm looking to help get free books. I set myself goals like this so I see growth in my business every month. Working from home we may not have company set targets (that's a bonus believe me) but we do a lot of personal development and a lot of goal setting and goal driven tasks. I also use the afternoons to follow-up with people and make those follow-up calls I need to make. A very wise person once told me the fortunes in the follow-up and they was not wrong, the more follow ups I make (quickly) the better response I get. This often spills into the evening as some people can only answer in the evening due to daytime commitments and the fact that it's nearly school run time and dinner needs preparing. After school run it's homework time, dinner time and having family time with the children before bedtime.
- Evening- Once the children are in bed I often log back into work. Adding in events, working on my website, writing blogs, normally its tasks I enjoy doing but if my necessary tasks haven't been completed it's back to them to complete. The kids are up and down the stairs disturbing you all night thanks to the spider on the wall, fight over the TV or the fact they are 2 years old and they don't believe in sleep yet and let's not forget the partner telling you to put the laptop down because they want to spend 'quality time' with you in front of the TV...... anyone else relating to this??? Finally as your falling asleep on your laptop you close it up and go to bed only to find your wide awake with ideas and can't sleep as your brain is whizzing round.
Of course not everyday is like this and we are thankful for the days we have a networking coffee morning or an evening networking event where you can hold on to your wine glass a little too tight and get to talk to REAL grown ups about important stuff, not debating with your child whether Peppa pig really does have an attitude problem (am I the only one that thinks this?). Somedays we give ourselves the day off to attend an assembly or sports day, after all that's the reason we work from home- flexible hours to allow us to attend these important events.Sometimes we even get complete days off to enjoy (does that sound reasonable? I think so). I have been known to leave the children with their dad to go and celebrate a success within my business or a friends birthday etc. He's supportive so it's okay. He does get jealous when I get to spend 2 days in spa facilities with the leaders in our business and it's classed as work but yes that's another benefit of working from home, it is actually work from anywhere that suits you.
So I guess what I'm saying is next time someone says they work from home take interest, they might surprise you! Gone are the days when working from home meant stuffing envelopes or connecting wires, there are lots of interesting people running their businesses from home in this world. People often think of these businesses as not proper businesses but let me just say this, my 'little' work from home 'hobby business' (others words not mine) sold just under £19,000 of books last month alone (Learn and explore through books), I know book stores that would love these kind of monthly sales. Makes you think doesn't it?
Show your support, you're not supporting someone buy their third holiday home, chances are you're helping someone buy their partner a special gift,
fund their children's dance lessons, even help someone develop their skills and grow their confidence or maybe just get away from Peppa Pig for a few hours. Chances are they can help you too whether it's with one of their products, their knowledge, their service or maybe they need one of yours?
I've finished my blog now so I'm back to debating about Peppa Pig! Whether your at home, work or both have a great day!