The days when stay-at-home mums were the sole pinnacle of the household are long gone. Nowadays, more and more mums are looking for an alternative solution to be both a parent and a contributor to household income.
While some choose to go back to work – where they can benefit from advantages such as on-site nursery services, for instance –, most are stuck at home with young children. As a result, it’s no wonder that WAHM businesses are flourishing – Work At Home Mum. They provide the best solution to a difficult dilemma; to work or to be a mum.
However, launching your first business from home can be daunting. Mentally, you know that home is your family nest and a place of privacy. Inviting work in this environment can make it difficult to protect the privacy of your family. Ultimately, your home-based activities are designed for the public eye as you intend to bring them to the market. But your workplace, your home, is the heart of your family, the place where your children are growing up. How do you best combine private family life with a public-facing business entity when they share the same place?
Nobody needs to know where you are
First of all, your business needs to share contact details with customers. Your clients need to be able to get in touch without ringing your main landline or knocking at your front door. You can get a second landline installed to take work-related calls without disturbing your family – for safety; it’s best to keep the phone in your home office to avoid any confusion. You can also use a virtual landline number which you can redirect to your mobile phone – however, if you choose this option, you need to set up an automated voicemail message for out of hours calls, as you don’t want to receive urgent on your mobile when you’re relaxing with the kids. Finally, you need a business address for local home business privacy. It’s fair to say you can’t use your home address. A virtual office address can catch your post and redirects it to you – either physically or via a cloud system.
Don’t let it take over your Me Time
Working from home can make it difficult to manage work time, kids time and me time – especially when everything happens at the same place. When you can’t leave the house to go to work, it’s tricky to keep up with your professional and private needs. There’s, unfortunately, no way around it. If you want to make it work, you need to stick to a strict schedule. Give yourself working hours that suit your agenda – if you need to look after young children, a 9-to-5 working day may not be the best solution for you, for instance. But you need to figure out when to work, when to be a mum, and, more importantly, when to look after yourself. Schedule your me time outside of work to keep your sanity intact after a long day!
Make it clear you’re a professional
You know it: Your digital presence is vital to your business. But, digital presence doesn’t mean promoting your WAHM business directly from your private Facebook account! If you want to attract customers, you need to create a dedicated professional social media presence – and one that doesn’t share photos of your family. Your social media profile is designed to build a credible reputation, starting with a professional logo. Your audience needs to know at a glance whether they’re talking to a business or an individual. Connecting with like-minded professionals will also encourage the perception that your business is for real. While you can mention personal details from time to time, you need to make a clear choice from the start. Depending on your business activities, it might not be suitable for your audience to be confronted with family news and baby photo galleries!
Nope, your personal G Drive isn’t enough
Last, but not least, where do you store your business material? Too many home-based businesses rely on individual email addresses and storage solutions. The bottom line is that, ultimately, your clients may not be tempted to take email@example.com seriously. However, they’re more likely to listen to what firstname.lastname@example.org has to say. Do make sure to create a business mailbox. Additionally, you should also invest in a professional storage solution — to avoid the inconvenience of accidentally sending a photo of your child to a client, for instance. Besides, business solutions tend to have additional security features which keeps your work data confidential.
Keeping your family life to yourself when you work from home is a matter of preparation. From choosing solutions that keep your personal contact details hidden to ensuring that your audience doesn’t get to see family data, you can build a professional world under your family house roof.