How to Help Your Family Respect Your Business, Not Resent it

The following post is from Lisa of Working Naked:

source: plushoff

Starting a business can be exciting, terrifying and a dream come true, especially when you have a cheering squad — your family — behind you. When your family is on the opposing team, though, your new business venture can be a nightmare.

Before I left my last job, I designed my new business so that when I was ready to have kids, I would be able to work from home and raise a family. I wanted to be able to grow a business and see my kids grow up at the same time.

It hasn’t always been easy juggling my business and personal life and keeping my family from resenting my business. Ask anyone who works from home about being pulled in all directions and they’ll admit it’s challenging to give your business and family 100% of your attention, all of the time. When my kids were little, I tried to work when they were asleep and at school. I didn’t want them to have memories of growing up with a work-at-home-mom who sat in front of her computer all day.

It’s been hard work, but for the most part I’ve been able to schedule my business around my family. My motivation? I couldn’t imagine having to go back to the corporate world and work in an outside office. I’d miss too much of my sons’ lives.

When you work from home, it’s important for your family to support your business instead of fight your business efforts. Consider these four tips for including your family in your business and making them part of your team:

Ask for feedback

When you’ve had a tough day, share a few of the low points, but be ready to include a few high points too. It’s easy to get closely tied to your business and not be able to see problems or situations objectively. If you ask your family for suggestions for how you could handle problems differently, you may be surprised at the suggestions you get. Don’t discount any suggestions from your younger children. Sometimes clients can act like children and your kids may have a few ideas for dealing with them.

Brainstorm ideas

Your family doesn’t have to be involved in your business to the point of making phone calls for you or taking messages, but they can still be helpful. If you have ideas for expanding your business, share the ideas with your family and ask them to help you develop new ideas. Someone not involved with your business or your industry may provide you with ideas you hadn’t thought of before. Also, when your family buys into your business, which they’ll do when they see your ideas put into action, they may be more understanding during the times you need to work longer hours.

Put your family to work

When my third book was published, my sons helped me package and mail books to people who ordered them directly from me. They helped me save time packing books, and it was a good excuse for all of us to spend time together. A friend of mine runs a stable, and during the summer her college-age kids help clean out stalls and take care of the horses when their owners are out of town. Her kids have summer jobs close to their house, my friend gets to spend all day with her kids, and she gets the help she needs.

Celebrate successes together

Whether you get a new client, sell dozens of books in one day, or launch a new product, make a big deal about it. Treat your family to a special dinner, bring in pizza, wear party hats…it doesn’t matter. When you make your family part of the celebration, they’ll feel appreciated. Don’t forget to thank them several times for supporting your efforts.

Working from home has enough challenges between staying focused, meeting client needs and wearing several hats, that there’s no need to add handling resentment from your family to the list. Keep your family involved in your business and everyone will enjoy watching your business grow.

How do you include your family in your business?

Home office expert Lisa Kanarek is the founder of and the author of five books about working from home, including her latest book, Organize Your Home Office for Success. Lisa works with entrepreneurs and home-based employees through seminars and individual consultations, to create functional home offices that meet each individual’s working style.